It all started when...
We moved into our Tejon Street house when I was three years old, and lived there for nineteen years. My childhood was a good one, and I know that it would have been good no matter where I lived. But there is a special magic in the Old North End for a child. My formative years were centered on the happenings of the neighborhood. Each year was outlined by the 4th of July bike parade, trick-or-treating on Tejon Street each Halloween, running outside just after midnight in the New Year to watch the fireworks and hearing cheers from all over the neighborhood. These events (along with the start and end of each semester of school) were the milestones of every year.
When I think about my nineteen years living in the Old North End, hundreds of tiny memories flood my head. Most of them are not particularly novel or exciting – nothing worth making a movie about. They were small events. But they fill me with such joy and gratitude for my time living in the ONEN. I think of running down the street among the holiday lights and decorations with my brother and godmother on a snowy evening yelling out “Merry Christmas, emporium! Merry Christmas, you beautiful old Building and Loans!” (These are lines from It’s a Wonderful Life, one of my favorite Christmas movies). I think of the time I crashed a scooter in the neighborhood and cut my chin open on the sidewalk, and the neighbor who sacrificed her own kitchen towel to help stop my bleeding. I think of sitting out on the front porch and having impromptu conversations with neighbors as they passed by for a stroll. I think of spontaneous neighborhood games of Capture the Flag or Cops and Robbers during summers.
At the time, I didn’t realize how truly magical these things were. Now that I’m an adult, I can look back and recognize that communities like the Old North End in cities as big as Colorado Springs are rare. Growing up in such a joyful, community-minded place taught me the importance of being raised in a place of love. It taught me what I will look for when I one day have children of my own. The Old North End is a remarkable place, and I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else.
I couldn’t imagine growing up in a different neighborhood.