Between A Roc and A Hard Place: Summers On Reliance

I’ve lived in the city, I’ve lived in the suburbs and I’ve lived in the sticks. There has been so much to enjoy in all of them but nothing quite compares to my love of my hometown. I did most of my growing up on Reliance Street, a wonderful, truly urban neighborhood on the edge of the suburbs.

Most of my summers were spent playing across our backyards, going down the street to the schools’ playground and generally doing things kids everywhere do. We fought, we ran, we found adventure behind our garages and mostly stayed out of trouble. Trips to the German butcher across Clinton Avenue from us were a special treat, and at nine I thought it was cool to walk to Wilson Farms, just us kids, to buy Now and Laters.

We also got to do things, on a regular basis, that were special occasion stuff for other kids our age. Walks to Silver Stadium to watch our beloved Red Wings play were an almost weekly occurrence, especially the year Cal Ripken Jr. played for them to avoid the MLB strike. We often went to the Seneca Park Zoo, which was also walking distance. I can still smell the aviary and hear the constant whispering of other, awestruck children. Visits to the Rochester Museum and Science Center were also regular occurrences thanks to mom working in the gift shop. I think I still have a few of those field guides she bought for me.

Now that I find myself back in my city, I want to enjoy all that once more. I want to shop on Monroe Avenue even though it isn’t what it was when I was a teen. I want to hit our clubs, walk through our museums and enjoy living near the river again. For such a small city we have so much to offer, I know because I have a childhood well spent here.

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