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There Once Was a Girl from Nantucket…

Nantucket Road, that is.

This is the story of the place where I grew up, and the people who lived there. It was the 1970s. The neighborhood had sprung to life in the late 1940s and early 50s. In fact, my grandparents had moved to this very street when they left Washington, DC in 1951, when my mother was about to turn six years old. My grandparents still lived there, too, when my family moved into the house across the street in February of 1973. This was the house I lived in:

My childhood house
My Childhood Home (photo by Bill Barnett)

I of course thought it was huge. It was bigger than most in the neighborhood, because it had an addition on the back with a larger kitchen (with brand new, state-of-the-art, avocado-colored appliances). There were three bedrooms (also a luxury in that neighborhood) and the typical single bathroom that is barely heard of in today’s American homes.

Nantucket Road was a really cool place. Lots of other families with kids our age lived there. It was the kind of street where there was always a kickball game going on when the weather was good, the ice cream man always came because he knew there’d be plenty of takers, and neighbors would sit out on their porches until well past bedtime on a sultry summer evening, because it was cooler than being inside.

Nantucket Road was not a quiet place. Many of us had squeaky chain link fences that announced a neighbor stopping by, the recently completed Washington Beltway was practically at the end of the block, and all in all, it was a pretty busy street when I lived there. But what I remember most is the sound of the children. The laughing, the playtime, the imaginations running wild.

I didn’t live there long… within a few years my parents had divorced and were remarrying, and I went away from Nantucket Road in April of 1977. Still, I consider this little house the place where I grew up, the place where the people who were my childhood friends lived, and the place where most of my memories of being a child still reside. Over time, each time I went back to visit my grandparents, we would hear that someone else had moved away. Most of the kids from Nantucket Road are now people I hadn’t seen in more than 30 years.

Until Tuesday of this week, that is.

Enter Facebook. Someone that I don’t even know started a group for people who grew up in my part of town, called “Hollywood”, though it’s not nearly as glamorous as the name conjures up in most people’s minds. Slowly but surely, I’ve been able to reconnect with lots of friends who I thought were Long Lost. Billy lived next door to my grandparents and since he would be in town for the holidays, decided to have a Nantucket Road Reunion. I jumped at the chance to go.

Some of the folks had kept in touch with each other all this time, while others had not, but you would never have known the difference. It was as if this group of people all came together and picked up where we left off, laughing and joking, and sharing stories that really couldn’t have been from 30 years ago, could they? No matter. It was a blast. I stayed longer than I thought I would, and truly, I wish I didn’t have to leave. Before we left each other for the evening, we posed for a group photo while our spouses kindly served as photographers:

Nantucket Road Reunion
Front Row: Kevin, Trish, Margarita; Middle: Bob, Bill; Back Row: Kathy, Kim, Mario, Pastor.

We took lots of photos, and there were hugs all around. As I made my way to the door of the restaurant where we met, a blast of cold air hit my face, but my heart was warm and full. We promised to meet again, to not let another 30 years go by. I hope it’s true. And I hope everyone in the world has the kind of memories I do with friends like these.

Below is a gallery of other photos from the evening. Click on the photos to see bigger images.

2 responses to “There Once Was a Girl from Nantucket…”

  1. mzundercover Avatar

    What a cool story!!! Glad to know that social apps like facebook can actually help people connect in real life.

  2. Jen Avatar

    I resisted Facebook for a very long time, but was so glad I joined when I started reconnecting with old high school classmates with whom I’d lost touch but never forgot.

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