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Some of my best memories are at: 714 S. 20th Street in Louisville, Kentucky.

My parents raised 3 daughters and 1 son. We lived in an old shot gun house with large painted pillars and a massive front porch. There was an alley behind our house, that backed up to other houses. We called it "dog alley". Our house should have been condemned, but it was all my parents could afford at that time.

Our street was the dead end to Phillip Morris Tobacco Company. Everyday at lunch time we would perform on the porch of old houses (we called it the "stage") that had been torn down and condemned, for the Phillip Morris employees. We would perform live hits for them Frankie and Johnnie, Brick House, Ring My Bell and Car Wash. The employees would give us a quarter or buy us something from their lunch wagon.

We were so poor, but we were always clean and happy. It was a situation where you didn't know that you were poor because everyone around you was poor too! I rember building a club house in the back yard and my sister bringing hot water in a bucket to use for heat in 10 degree weather in the winter time. I remember my mom would raise the window and make us a take a nap when it rained. Til this very day, I think of those naps everytime I smell rain.

I remember those old wooden floors that gave us splinters in our feet when we played in the house. I remember the home health nurse would stop by to prick our fingers and check for lead poisining. I remember getting a booster shot and being so afraid of needles. Today, I can pretty much determine someone's age when I see that awful round scar from the booster shot.

I remember being bussed from the black neighborhood where everyone was wearing bell bottoms, african shirts and platforms to the white neighborhood where the style was a drastically different straight leg jean. I was in 2nd grade, and I remember thinking to myself "how in the world did they get their legs in those pants".

I remember that we only had one floor model black and white tv that we turned the channels with wire pliers, and used aluminum foil for a clear picture. I remember my family sitting around the tv to watch Good Times, The Jeffersons, Hee Haw and Sandford & Son until the station signed off for the night. We'd listen to the national anthem and then go to bed.

I remember having birthday parties with moms homemade birthday cake, and a $5 bill as a gift. I remember the smell of fresh oranges, apples and nuts at Christmas with only a present for each. It was never anything fancy, but for us it was enough.

I remember my aunts and uncles coming to visit with my cousins, for some reason they thought that we were rich. Maybe it was becasue, my mom always kept the house immaculately clean. Despite how low maintenance it was.

I remember those kids that we grew up with, and at 41 years old, we still know them and laugh together about those memories.

As poor as we were, we were happy, well cared for and most of all - we never knew anything different or any better. 714 S 20th Street, were the best days of my life and I miss it dearly.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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