A is for Adolescence begins. First of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.
During #AtoZChallenge 2020, I blogged about Endwell: My Elementary Years — touring around my second childhood hometown near Binghamton, N.Y., and reminiscing about childhood experiences from ages 7-12 on my street, at school and during visits to relatives.
The hubbub of Baby Boom children on my suburban Endwell street contrasted to my earlier childhood at Whispering Chimneys, my family’s Altamont, N.Y., farm, which I wrote about in #AtoZChallenge 2017 — and more contrasts emerged as I entered my early teens.
Endwell through a teen lens
By 1963, when I turned 13, my Endwell address was the same — but my point of view began to gradually change as I inched toward young adulthood over the next couple of years.
For one thing, I began to draw a sharper distinction between my life in the neighborhood, my life at school and my life when visiting my maternal grandparents, who still lived on the farm.
On my block, I started to leave behind group activities like kickball games, pre- Halloween mayhem and summer camp at the elementary school in favor of hanging out one-on-one or in smaller groups with girls close to my age.
Because I was the block’s only public-school student in my grade (one other girl went to parochial school), I had a completely different set of friends when I arrived at the Junior High school. There, we Hooper School students merged with those who went to Homer Brink (the other elementary school across town) — and a whole new mix and match of friendships developed.
My early teen universe
At home, my brothers and sisters were younger and moved in their own circle of friends — so the “Molly, the boys, and the girls” demarcation became more pronounced. Meanwhile, my parents seemed stuck in the 1950s as the freer 1960s dawned.
Then there were visits to my maternal grandparents — known to us a Boom and Gramps — where I connected with my early childhood friends from Altamont, who were now teens like me. That became my “away” world — kept alive with letters between visits in those days of costly “toll calls” and no Internet.
In short, I learned to blend my various worlds into a sort of early teen universe as the 1960s unfolded — learning and growing from each environment I traveled in.
Up next: B is for Boys, Braces and Babysitting. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!
© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.