In the last week’s blog, Memoir/Essay Editor Susan Shafarzek’s question, “What do I mean by STREETLIGHT?” triggered in me a memory of growing up in Memphis and our neighborhood streetlight that drew us kids into its circumference of light after dark, after suppers and through the long damp summers.
The streetlight’s slender concrete pillar shot up into the humid night sky and illuminated the two-lane street and cracked sidewalk. Under this streetlight, we would gather and begin our games, swap tales, fictions and non-fictions of ourselves and others, mash-up songs, re-tell jokes, push and shove, be “it” or “not it.” I remember the thrill of anticipation, to be out there under the streetlight, to gobble up my supper and rush outside into the dark, join the others under the light, be with my pals, the crowd, my best friend, and my best friend’s cute older brother, the neighborhood boys, among them, Stevie and naughty Tex who one day shot a BB through somebody’s bedroom window. There was Doris who impersonated the neighborhood dogs with her different dog barks and Celeste much envied by us girls to be the first to prance around in a Peter Pan bra under her top.
The streetlight was our home free zone, our meeting place, our ad-hoc community, an escape from the stuffy rooms ruled by anxious boring parents. With our popsicle-stained mouths and mosquito bitten legs we were plying our imaginative selves under the streetlight.
Today we still live in neighborhoods, many of them cyber. Here at Streetlight, one of the streets where we live, we invite you to swap your stories and art—submit, join us—bring your space and place into Streetlight, the place that’s here and not here, “it” and “not it.” And no one will shoot a BB through your cyber window.
–Trudy Hale, Editor
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