The Old Neighborhood

St Louis

© Google – August 2012

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’d last seen the old neighborhood, the one my Grandpa lived in when I was a little boy. I took my grandson not realizing that everyone living there now was African-American. Seth and I stood out quite a bit. No one seemed mad, but they all stared at us, like we didn’t belong.

“Jimmy! It’s been a long time.”

I turned to the house across the street. I couldn’t believe it.

“Ronnie!” I ran up to the old man, the child I played with over fifty years ago. We hugged.

“I can’t believe you still live in the old ‘hood.”

“It’s always been my home, Jimmy. When we were kids, I was the one who stuck out. Now things have changed.

He looked down at my grandson and smiled. “Who have you brought to visit us?”

Today’s piece of flash fiction was inspired by the photo prompt at What Pegman Saw. Authors are supposed to use the photo at the top to create a short work of no more than 150 words. Mine comes in at 145.

The photo is of a neighborhood in St. Louis, but it’s not all that different from the one my Grandpa lived in back in Omaha in the early 1960s when I was a child. I’ve heard it’s changed a lot, probably like this place in St. Louis has changed over the long decades. Still, some parts of the world will always be home.

To read other stories inspired by this prompt, go to


16 thoughts on “The Old Neighborhood

  1. It’s always slightly reassuring when you find one part of the neighbourhood, even if it’s ever so small,hasn’t changed since you left. A feel-good story.


    • Thanks, Sandra. In real life, the neighborhood my Grandpa lived in went from blue collar to largely immigrant, so I might not recognize the place. Unfortunately, my cultural touchstone in Omaha, the Bohemian Café, closed last September. I’ve eaten there with my family ever since childhood.


  2. Dear James,

    The neighborhood where I grew up and raised my kids has significantly changed even in the ten years since we moved away. Nothing stays the same…except for our cherished memories. Touching story.




    • Thanks. Same for the neighborhood my Grandpa lived in back in the day, but I’ll always cherish those memories of him smoking his pipe while watching some boxing match on his old black and white TV while I played on the floor next to him.

      He bought me comic books, we had endless rubber band fights, and I can’t count the number of games of “Crazy Eights” we played together.

      What I do with my grandson is quite different, but I hope I’m building the same memories with him that my Grandpa built with me.


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