I have a story to tell about an old man who lived in my neighbourhood.
But first I have to talk about what our neighbourhood looked like. It’s not 100% vital to the story, but it nagged at me a bit that when I say “neighbourhood”, people probably get a completely different mental image than the one I grew up in.
Here in America (at least in Minnesota) when you say “neighbourhood” I think a lot of people would think of a bunch of houses in the suburbs, maybe a cul-de-sac (also known as “those round things where you have to turn around and go back).
The neighbourhood I grew up in would be described by people here as a whole bunch of condominiums. We called them flats. Some people were renting, most people owned the place. There wasn’t a central management company or anything (though there was a Building Committee or something, made up of the residents).
The neighbourhood I grew up in had five or six buildings. They were 6 stories tall and fairly ugly, because they were built out of reinforced concrete in order to be bomb-proof. As a side-effect, if you wanted to hang up a picture you needed special drill-bits because you could not get a nail into those walls. Our buildings surrounded a nice lawn, sidewalks and a playground, which was a fairly large area. Lots of trees, too.
I’ve been looking for some pictures to show you. I don’t have any really good ones, but here are a couple.
This one is my sister and me when we were very, very young.
I’m the one not wearing a dress and looking grumpy. Yes I could restore this thing to look better but I’m not going to. You can see one of the buildings in the background as well as the lawn. We were sitting on the sidewalk right in front of the building we lived in at the time.
Here’s a more recent picture. Still fairly old but at least the colours are closer to reality.
Ugh. I remember when they planted those palm trees. The building dead-ahead is the same one as in the previous picture, but at a very different angle.
So that’s the picture. Bunch of flats/apartment buildings, with a big garden in the middle.
There are more pictures of my old neighbourhood (among other things) in this old gallery.