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I was born and raised in Seattle. Born in 1949, I spent my first years in a gray stucco house on a dead-end street in the Montlake neighborhood. In our little neighborhood, there were a bunch of kids my own age, and we went to preschool at the Montlake playfield, which was right on the “Montlake Cut”, a waterway connecting Lake Washington with Lake Union. I have fond memories of riding my tricycle around the playfield, attending fun classes in the community center, and getting dirty. At the end of our street was a vacant lot called “Dahlialand” where my friends and I played in the dirt, made forts, played hide-and-seek, and chased each other around. I was a bit of a tomboy, and loved playing with blocks and trains. We kicked our ball around in the street, and yelled at each other to avoid the home of the mean Mrs. Witt.
We all walked to Montlake Elementary School every day, which involved a long concrete staircase from our street up to the main arterial street. We walked in all weathers, and no one walked alone. We never worried about our safety, and no one ever threatened us. Our school was an older brick building, with about ten “portables” in the yard. The lunchroom was in a portable, and there was no hot lunch. Everyone brought their own lunch, and you could buy milk. There were no “free” lunches in those days, since everyone’s parents packed their lunch. The playground was concrete, and there was no padding under the swings or the monkey bars. One day, I fell off the monkey bars, right on my face. I broke a tooth, and to this day that tooth is dead, under its cap. No one sued the school for not having padding under the monkey bars, and we paid for my dental work.