I grew up in the Florida boondocks. A few feet from my side bedroom window grazed cows. Looking out the back windows of the house, we saw our backyard, more cows, and highway 27. A field of overgrown grass stood between us and our neighbor. Our property, divided in half by the road, extended down to the lake. We would on the dock to watch the sunset and the birds settle on the swampy island in the middle of the lake.
As a kid, I used to sit on the dock and eat tangerines picked from my neighbor’s tree until my lips burned.
Further down the road in one direction was an orange grove and in the other direction a few houses, more cows, more orange groves, canals, and a golf course. My dad had me convinced a witch lived in the woods, Indians lived on the other side of the lake, and Santa elves traveled over our house in hot air balloons.
Before my dad’s second marriage when I was nine, he and I used to walk up the road pass the orange grove and to the highway. On the other side of the highway was an old gas station that sold Nehi soda. Dad and I would wait for traffic to clear (it didn’t take that long back in those days), and we’d run like mad holding hands to that little ratty gas station where dad would buy me a soda. I wasn’t usually allowed to drink soda.
There were rarely other kids around. I spent a lot of time on my own.
What was your childhood home like?