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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Carle

After Midnight

Growing up in Brooklyn was a unique experience. Our three-story tenement was located on Church Avenue. It was a broad treeless thoroughfares, minus flora and fauna, clogged with one of the cities last trolley car lines, that ran down the center, while trucks and cars were driving, up and down, each side.

The first time I saw grass was in Prospect Park and I was surprised to see numerous varieties of trees growing out of the well-trimmed green lawns. Thus began my fascination with these giant beauties. In my neighborhood, they only grew out of squares cut out of concrete in the sidewalks. And only on the side streets.

            When my sister and I got single beds, my dad moved mine by our bedroom window that faced the apartment’s backyard. I was now eye level with the largest tree I had ever seen that was growing in the property behind ours.

            A rather strange child, I loved to be awake when everyone else was sleeping. I learned that if I curled into a fetal position without a blanket, I could fall asleep. Sometime during the night, around two a.m., I’d wake up because I was cold. It’s amazing how quiet New York City is at that time of the night. I’d open my window and enjoy the relative silence broken only occasionally by the sirens of police or fire vehicles and the ringing of the trolley car bells.

            Awake, wrapped in my blanket, I’d put my pillow onto the window sill, and pretend I was sleeping outdoors. I could hear the rustle of the leaves, watch the heavy limbs sway and hear them creak. And oh, the joy when it rained. The sound of it, splashing against the leaves, branches, giant trunk, fire escape and concrete below was musical. And the feel of a light mist on my face and the cool air that accompanied those nighttime showers. Only a heavy, driving rain could force me back inside.

            I had to be very careful that I didn’t fall asleep. My mother didn’t know what I was doing. If she did, I would have been punished. I knew this wasn’t normal; that I was being bad. It wasn’t until years later that I found out there’s a name for people like me. We are called Night Owls.

            Fortunately, I married a fellow Night Owl. We watch every late-night TV show. Before we retired, we watched Johnny Carson, David Letterman and every day, still got to work on time. Even now, I’m often in my office, at my computer, writing, at two in the morning. So, I hope you understand my blog.

And welcome to After Midnight.


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