What was one of your favorite things to do as a kid?

As a kid in the ’80s I was living in a subdivision in Michigan. We had a big backyard with a giant crab apple tree right in the center. It shaded the entire yard and also dropped those gross little apples all over it to rot and turn into slippery slime if we didn’t pick up bags and bags of them every summer.

We spent hours wandering the neighborhood between the busy roads we weren’t allowed to cross, Merriman and Ford. We rode our bikes and built ramps to jump them, practiced skateboard tricks off the front stoop, hung out at the community center with friends and generally just journeyed from one friend’s house to another sometimes finding ourselves back home playing video games in our basement. I loved staying out “until the street lights came on” in the summer before walking home at dusk.

I think one of my favorite things to do as a kid back then was in the 7th grade. My best friend, also a Heather, and I generally rode the bus every day. School was about two miles from our neighborhood and across Ford Road, a busy multiple lane road we weren’t supposed to be crossing. It was a good 40 minute walk, according to my Google research.

On our walk we could pass this lot that was dug up as if something were being built there. I remember huge hills of mostly dirt and some puddles in the “valleys”. I don’t remember there ever actually being any work done there thought. No equipment, no workers … just an empty lot. Heather and I would stop there on our way home to sit. I always had my tape recorder in my backpack loaded with my Tiffany or maybe a NKOTB cassette tape. We would sit and write in our diaries and listen to “I think we’re alone now” and talk and then finish our walk home. I would usually take my shoes off if the pavement was warm and do the final length of the journey barefoot. I’m not sure whether it was because I love being barefoot, which I do, or because I knew it would make my mom crazy if she ever found out.

One day we decided to bury a time capsule there. I don’t remember what exactly we put in it. I am fairly certain our diaries went in there and probably some other weird not quite teenage girl paraphernalia.

We called this place Hillside. After almost an hour of Google research on maps and real estate sites I can’t figure out exactly where this place was. I used Google’s street view to walk some of the routes and I’m still not sure. There is a lot, though, on the corner of Beechwood and North Farmington Roads that might have been it. There’s a newer subdivision there now, just passed it. The lot itself looks like just some landscaped trees surrounding a swampy area. This would have been just a little bit out of our way, but we could have walked right passed it depending on our route.

But, who knows. All I know is that someone must have dug up that shoe box at some point after 1988 and had a good laugh. I wish I could see what those two little girls hid away thinking they would come back for one day.

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