This is Where I Grew Up

Until I was in first grade, I never really settled down in one place. Before I came to Arizona around 1992, I had lived everywhere from California, to Texas, to Georgia. My family was not in the military, they were just trying to situate themselves into a location that was most beneficial to their children’s growth and education. My grandparents had taken care of me before I had come down to the first city in Arizona I would live in, Phoenix. When I arrived, my parents knew this was the place for me, them, and my younger brother. I have had a lot of significant experiences in other neighborhoods I have lived in, but none other than my neighborhood in Glendale Arizona, which is called “Independence Heights” remains memorable to me. This neighborhood has supplied me with the bulk of my childhood memories, and stories that I have to tell.

 “Independence Heights” was a neighborhood that consisted of modern houses. In the southern part, I recall there being an empty field when I first moved there, where my family and I would ride bicycles. This is no longer true, as that space is now occupied with more houses and divisions that were built. While this was not an extremely wealthy neighborhood, (one of the first things I had noticed about it was that the letters I and D of the words independence had been taken), it was one where children could run and play outside without it being too terribly dangerous, so it could be categorized as a middle-class area. My house was surrounded by my friends, discovery elementary school, which is where I attended from second to seventh grade, and a high school called Independence High School.

One of the first friends I had in neighborhood was Jamie, she lived next door, to the left of me. When we first met, even though she was a year younger than me, we instantly became friends. Every weekend we would talk turns spending the night at each other’s houses. When her and her family would go places like to the movies, roller skating, or to a restaurant, she would invite me, and vice versa. I remember one time I was spending the night at her house, and her mom had won tickets to Castles and Coasters Amusement park from the radio, and I went with them, it was so much fun. Regretfully, when I moved to Peoria in the middle of seventh grade, I lost touch with her, so we are no longer friends.  

To the right of my house there was a man named Phil, who at first when we moved in, we had issues with. He was an older man, and was extremely particular about his yard, which he kept up very nicely. He despised the neighborhood children, and did not even want them walking past his grassy lawn. One time he scolded this one child for riding a bike on the sidewalk in the front of his house, telling him he better not step on his grass. My dad got a little irritated and told him that if he did not like children, he should consider moving to Sun City, a place with predominantly older people.  Fortunately after that, Phil mellowed out and had a better attitude.

Another memory that stands out in my mind was a guy that lived two or three houses to the right of us. His name was Bill, but for some reason or another, which I can’t remember, my friend Jamie and I had called him “Dollar Bill” There’s not much more to say about him, other than that he was nice, and would talk with my parents every once and a while. To the left of my house, next door to Jamie, was my friend Holly, who I did not start talking to until about sixth grade, when she and I were in class together. Holly went to private school until about fifth grade, and she was really shy, and not exactly fond of Jamie, which I guess is why we did not talk at first. She introduced me to the people she mostly talked with, Ashley and Katrina. All four of us would be at her house a lot, doing a lot of fun stuff, swimming on hot summer days, putting make-up on each other, singing and dancing (she used to have a karaoke machine that we used a lot), and playing truth or dare. Sadly I moved away around the time we were getting to become really good friends, and I have lost contact with her too.

The last item I will tell you about is my friend Alicia’s house. While she did not live in my exact area, she did not live too far from me, and once in a while, when my mom and dad were not in an overprotective mood, I would get to walk to her house. She was in my class and my friend during sixth and seventh grade. What I remember most is going to her house to jump on her trampoline, which by the way, I had asked my parents to buy one after the first day I went to her house. Looking back, she was a little bit of a wild child, and without saying more, she, her friends, and I would do stupid, silly stuff when we would hang out. I had a lot of fun times when I was at her house.

While I have more items on my memory map, these four hold the most significance to me. Independence Heights was not a fancy, gated community, but this is where I grew up, with plenty of laughs and fun people to talk to. The experiences I have had from these people and places have made me the person I am seeing today. I have not been back to my neighborhood, since about seventh grade, so I do not know how much has changed. Hopefully the neighborhood is still safe, with lots of children and good times, because that neighborhood will always be apart of me, and I still take pride in having grown up there.   


  Modified 4/21/2006