The other day before work I returned to Lower Hillsdale Heights.
It’s been a while since I’ve been there. Emma’s little bungalow still looks the same–modest, trim, a part of the local landscape. The fig tree in the front is leafing out. There are blooms on the strawberries I planted several years ago. The herbs look delicious, but even though they feel like they still are mine, I restrained myself from helping myself. It wouldn’t have been neighborly.
I parked the car and just sat for a while. Some of the same people were walking by on the sidewalk across the street–with the same dogs. The familiar people came and went. A vehicle backed up the bungalow’s driveway and drove away. The library opened and people began swarming in.
I lived there less than 10 years, but it was an entire era. Andy downstairs and our adventures together. The years my sister was my neighbor. Endless trips to the library. Walks with friends. Hiking up to Cheryl’s after the blizzard. Val and her magical pasta sauce, meatballs, and biscotti. The animals who shared my space. Three novels. Patrick.
Val made it to age 95. Patrick and Andy weren’t so fortunate. New people, younger people, have moved into Val’s place, plus into several houses within my view. There is a big new house across the street that was built over the past year and just sold for nearly $1 million! Change is constant.
After a while, it was time to go to work. I still work in the neighborhood. Sitting there, I felt a part of the familiar ebb and flow. I felt like I have always felt there. At home. Today I have a different home, a home for the next era. But Emma Golden is still there brooding, scheming, awaiting a new, brilliant, and mysterious adventure.