Dreams of the Suburbs
by Daniel Reed

When I was young I lived in an apartment just outside of Washington, DC, and my biggest dream was to live in the suburbs. To live in a big house with a two-car garage on a cul-de-sac and to play outside with the neighborhood kids. To walk to the neighborhood school and to have a membership at the neighborhood pool. Just like my classmates did and just like on TV. When I was ten we moved to the suburbs. There were big houses and neighborhood kids but both were foreign to me as I lived in a townhouse. I was looked down upon by the neighborhood kids because of that and they would make fun of me as I walked home every day from the bus stop. One year we had to walk home during an ice storm. I slipped in the middle of the road and could not get back up. The neighborhood kids walked right past me, not even giving me a passing glance.

Not long after we moved again. This time, however, it was to a big house with a two-car garage and a school and a pool nearby. There were plenty of kids, and every evening after their parents came home they would spill out onto the streets. We would play games in our postage-stamp-sized yards and went exploring in the forest and the creek behind our neighborhood. There were birthday parties and afternoons lying in the grass looking at clouds. Just like on TV. As time went on, the neighborhood started to change. Kids joined clubs and teams, and suddenly they weren't around anymore. One house was trashed and that family moved away. Another family moved away, and another, and another. They're building the new neighborhood right next to ours. Our bus stop is right next to the sign advertising it. "Marlow Farm--From the $270's," it said. Then "From the $300's." Now it's "From the $410's." I guess the forest will be next. It doesn't matter because the creek has dried up, and no one goes there anymore.

My dreams of living in the suburbs are no more. I got some of it but not all and what I got did not last long. In three years I will move away and go to college. After that I plan on getting married and starting a family. And even though my wife and I will have lived in suburbs and not want to move back, we'll still buy that big house with the two-car garage in hopes that our kids will run around and walk to school and so on. The suburbs were a big experiment aimed at fulfilling the hopes and dreams of millions of GI's and their families after World War II. And today, that's all it is. A dream.

Daniel Reed