What's the Password?
This past Sunday afternoon, neighbors from Wood Avenue knocked on our front door. The parents asked if they could use our house color on their stucco home. Their three year-old son, Conan, balanced on a new tricycle, hearing that my name is Siri, snapped to attention and said, “Hey, I talk to you all the time. I want to watch Winnie-the-Pooh videos. What’s the password?” The repertoire of neighborhood stories just got bigger.
I was the age of Conan’s mom when Ralph and I chose this place to raise our three children. We have lived in two houses, both on Nevada Avenue, and although we’ve been in our current home for a quarter of a century, every now and then someone will still say to me, “Oh, you live in Mrs. Francis’ home.”
Here, I am connected to memories of our family’s lives: tobogganing in Monument Valley Park; old-fashioned, backyard birthday parties; trampoline jumping; hedges of sweet pea; “teepeeing” after dark; raising money to adopt the Zoo’s puma; pushing our toddlers around the block in a friend’s antique pram while they ate popsicles; picking cherries for pie; sewing Halloween costumes; endless batches of cookies baked in our 1924 oven; my mom and dad intertwined with it all.
The writer Robert MacFarlane says, “…certain landscapes are capable of bestowing a grace upon those who pass through them or live within them.” In this neighborhood, we live within it and pass through it, and we have been shaped by others who want to be in close proximity to one another. I have fallen asleep to the porch light across the street for the entirety of my married life, have received food in times of grief, and sat around in our “jammies” on Christmas morning drinking coffee and eating Swedish cardamon bread with neighbors and friends-of-a-lifetime.
And now, we have a new kid a few blocks over. On his tricycle. Wondering if I, the original Siri, can provide him with the magic code for Pooh Bear.