A Walk to Remember

It's a sad moment when you hear yourself starting a rant about how things used to be so much better with the phrase "when I was your age...". I was talking about some of the things I did as a child and how few (if any) modern parents would dream of allowing their children the same level of freedom I enjoyed, and my parents were by no means lenient. The first place my family lived (not counting Turtle Street, which I don't remember) was an apartment on Ross Park on the North side of Syracuse. By the time I was four years old, I was trusted to go on short errands for my mom around the neighborhood. My favorite was when she'd give me a dollar bill and send me off to Byrne Dairy for a bottle of milk. The route was simple: Ross Park to Butternut Street, then straight down Butternut to the dairy. There were only three streets to cross but one was a doozy: Grant Boulevard at Butternut Circle. I was an unusual child. The combination of being the oldest and fairly precocious made me far more independent as a four year old than I am now as an adult. Still, whenever I'm back in Syracuse and driving around Butternut Circle, I marvel at the idea of a four year old me being allowed to navigate on his own. I used to walk up to the counter and ask for the bottle of milk. The cashier would ring it up and hand me the change, and I'd march over to the gumball machines - my reward for making the errand. Then I'd walk out the door without the milk. Every time. Fortunately I was usually still waiting for the light to change when the cashier came out the door calling "Little boy! You forgot your milk!"

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