Baylake Boys

It is four o’clock on a summer’s afternoon and I have just sat down in my front room with my compulsory afternoon cup of tea. The two boys who live across the street, ten and twelve years of age, are playing trampoline-basketball. Again. I watch as one dribbles the ball up to the trampoline, leaps upon it with the full power of all his weight, and as he soars up and past the basket, he reaches over to the net, sinks the ball, and lands about two feet past the steel rod that holds that hoop up. His brother gets the ball on the rebound and starts his dribble toward the trampoline. 

The first couple of times I witnessed this game from my front room, I was terrorized one of them would miscalculate, and go head-first into that steel bar which holds up the basket. I am very fond of these two boys and the thought of either being injured worried me, as it would any Mom watching this display of boyhood.  However, I soon came to understand that their athletic prowess enabled them to complete this undertaking injury-free. These two boys play trampoline-basketball regularly.

And I regularly watch from my front room, as I have steadily watched these two boys grow up from the ages of 4 and 6 when they first moved into the house across the street to now, six years later.  I was overjoyed when they arrived on our block in Baylake Pines. My husband and I had already raised our own two boys, three years apart, on Battery Road in the 80’s and ‘90’s, till they went off to college around 2000. There were a gaggle of boys on our block who grew up with our two sons and all sorts of similar undertakings occurred in the front of our houses, with Moms watching from their front stoops.

The following decade, in the 00’s, there was yet another gaggle of young boys on the block. One summer afternoon around 2005 I was sitting in our backyard with one of my sons who was home from NYC for a visit. We heard a young boy’s voice holler from two backyards away to the left of us “William, it’s me, what are you doing?” A voice, another young boy one backyard to the right of us, hollered back, and this volley of questions and answers went on till they decided to meet by the lake and go turtling together. My son and I quietly sat, listening, smiling. When this conversation between these two boys ended, my son said, as he so often does, I love this place, Mom.

Over the three decades I have lived in Baylake Pines, I have watched three generations of boys grow up on my block.  Robbie Cool tells me similar stories of her children growing up with a gang of children on Rampart Street, and I have listened to Michelle Vachris’ talking of her sons’ lasting friendships with the boys they grew up with around Lookout Road.  My husband and I plan to retire eventually to a condo on Shore Drive, but something inside me is telling me to wait till those two trampoline-basketball players across the road are off to college. From my front room with my cup of tea, I have the best seat in the house for one of the best shows in town. 

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