Lincoln Drive

There are twelve houses on my horseshoe street, each with a different character. They defy the cookie cutters of new neighborhoods, a collection of misfits boasting of eclectic detail and intrigue. The house on the corner, 1 Lincoln Drive, it was a general store, general brown color, general folks living there, general stereotypes of small-town families with kids, a dog and a fence. It still has the awnings that characterize it as such, but none of the soda or ice cream or providence. Too bad. 4 Lincoln Drive’s white picket fence and sky blue paint make it a darling of the American dream. It’s hopeful, and wonderful, and charming, and lined with lilac bushes and tulips in a handmade garden. Handprints in the concrete of a then 5-year-old-now-60, are integrated into the sidewalk, flecks of metal sparkling like a majestic realm or galaxy below, if only you could find the portal in the pavement. But instead we walk on it, heads down contemplating the uneven foundation that was before the days of permits and developers and regulation. We put our own handprints in paint on the mailbox. An imprint of my 6-year-old self. It is my favorite time capsule. Edison built my first house on 4 Lincoln Drive, where the miners came home after dark to kiss their wives good night before drifting off into a sleep that only served to divide the days. Otherwise it was always the same. The sink must have been covered in black smudges, a mirror reflecting the ashen face, hollow, sunken, that was tired, and hopeless, and hopeful, and still happy to have this American house with the fence and the kids, and the pavement. I wonder what coalminer’s wife slept in my same wall-papered bedroom, and if she ever slept soundly.