‘Family’ life on a dead end street

Getting off the bus after a long day at school, I head down my street. It isn’t very long, the houses aren’t extravagant, and some have similar structures; but each is infused with its own personality. My iPod’s in too loud, despite the warnings about going deaf later in life, but right now that doesn’t matter. The two-minute walk down my dead end is my time to soak in all its history. For every crack in the sidewalk there is laughter; under every lightpost there is a memory; and down every driveway there is a perfect hiding spot for Manhunt.

When you are growing up, you are lucky if you have a family that cares for you and a few good friends who always have your back. I have been blessed with all of these and more. My street wasn’t full of neighbors; it was full of extended family members, the family I made myself. I learned at a young age that life is what you make of it and that you should take advantage of what you are given. I was given friends and relationships that I know will last for the rest of my life.

Living on a dead end street has its advantages. We didn’t have to deal with traffic. We were able to roam the street as long as we didn’t pass the second lamppost. Our mothers watched us from the steps as we ran around playing childish games. We had our disagreements every now and then, but we were always there for one another when it mattered. Like family, we were the only ones who were allowed to mess with each other. If anybody else did, you knew there was always someone ready to make sure you were okay. My parents gave me one brother; and my street gave me more.

Life growing up on a dead end made me realize how lucky I truly am. I have always had more than one sibling, more than one set of parents, and I have always had someone looking out for me. I know that I can count on any of my neighbors for anything. Whether I need a key to get in, or some advice, or maybe just a famous neighborhood cookie, there’s always a door I can knock on.

There is no single event in my life that I can point to to prove how close my street is, no incident I can talk about to show what made us so tightly knit. It is the environment I was exposed to from the day I was born; it’s all we know. This is how every one of us acts toward one another – as if we are their child or their sibling. I am so blessed to have all these people in my life. We are not simply residents of Auriga Street; we are a family.

As we grow older, the kids of the street have started to hang out with different crowds, but when we are together we are still the best friends we were when we were five. Nothing changes. We know we always have each other, and we will always have the dead end.

Shayla Fullam, a graduate of Boston Latin School, will be attending Southern New Hampshire University this fall.