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HEAVEN: An excerpt from 57th Street

On 57th Street we were jammin’! Some of us had more than others, but we all played together and knew better than to step on Mr. Anderson’s newly manicured grass.  We were village-raised children who played by seasons – a season for tops; yo yos; bolo bats; hopscotch; marbles; wall ball; step games; hand games; Red Rover; Double-Dutch; sledding, snowball fights, rock school, Eenie, Meenie, Gypsaleenie, and the infamous Fast-as-Two.  Kids from all over the neighborhood would assemble on 57th Street to play Fast-as-Two, the treacherous rope game, which required vigorous jumping in and out of the turning rope. The object was to stay in the game. The games were also creative.



One summer, there was construction in our area, and the buses were rerouted to pass down our street.  Hula Hoops were the rage.  We decided the passengers on the buses needed some entertainment.  So we would have someone at the corner on the lookout for the buses, and we would wait with hula-hoops in position… and just as the bus would pass, we would hula-hoop, as if we were on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour.  There we were in our array of colorful hoops, making them do things the advertising world never envisioned – dancing the cha cha in a hoop; singing while hooping, doing the twist while hooping – all to the delight of the bus passengers.  We couldn’t wait for each day to begin.

Every now and then, there would be a fight, and the whole neighborhood would gather to watch the two kids duke it out. Kids yelled and screamed, but usually either somebody’s mama, daddy or big brother would break up the ruckus.  Other than scrapes and maybe a black eye, a kid survived to tell the tale.

The pinnacle of our daily summer sessions of play on 57th Street was in the evening, when we played Hide‘n Seek.  As the crescent of the moon found its way to us, parents sat on porches to clear the heat inside, and we gathered for our final surge of play before the symphony started.  From every porch, we would hear our names, “Berrrrnie!”  “Viiiiicki!” and we knew it was time to come out from hiding and retreat to our homes.  Home found us eating meals like Porcupines, (Mama’s wonderful concoction of ground beef and rice with tomato sauce.) After settling down for The Mickey Mouse Club on TV and our role-play of Spin and Marty, (Bernie was always Spin,) we met the place where we had fervent discussions about our day — our bunk beds.

57th and Normal as it exist now in anticipation of gantrification

57th and Normal as it exists now, spirit gone, in anticipation of urban renewal.


Vicki Goldston Founder, Editor-in-Chief


Originally from Chicago, Vicki Goldston, (Victorine), now calls the Shoals area home.  She has three children, (including a son-in-love), and 3 grand children, all who add texture to the fabric of her life.

Teaching Conscious Living through God Within You, Vicki is the Pastor Emeritus of Living Spirit Church, an Independent,  New Thought ministry, in Florence, AL. Minister Vicki is an Inspirational Speaker;  a Contributing Author of a Chicken Soup book, The Miracle of Tithing, by Mark Victor Hansen; and the author of her own book, Be S.A.F.E. (Still, Aware, Faithful, and Excellent).  She is CEO of Camp Goldston Publishing, LLC. and the founder of Garden Spices Magazine and her blog, Spicy…She is also a member of the CORE Drummers and of the former African dance troupe, POZA. 

Her slogan is: “It’s all good/God” and Minister Vicki believes “love has the final word.” (slogan from Rickie Byars Beckwith)

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