We have celebrated people and things that have helped mold us. Now, where were the places you went to get away from or hang out with your friends.


Part 14: Hanging Out – Tell us about a place where you spent a lot of your free time growing up (or as a grown-up). Even if it was in your own room, what did you do? Where did you socialize (pre-facebook, of course!). Where was your ultimate sanctuary?


Anywhere with Cousins

Whoever’s house,
Whichever park,
Whoever’s porch,
Whichever street,
Whoever’s room,
Whoever’s yard
Whatever rink
Whichever pool
Whatever field
Whatever pond
Whatever creek
Whichever place
Where we could be
All together – family.

(To Patti, Punk, Susie, Carrie, Connie, Shan, Dick, Bobbie, Mary, Jimmy, Barbara, Ray, Jim, Judi, Tom, Lisa, and Chris – with more love and gratefulness than my heart can contain.)

Copyright © – Marie Elena Good – 2012



A happy little hamlet hidden,
on the Lake Erie shore.
A cottage fully furnished
and burnished by the misted surf.
My friend’s turf, (his name was “Murph”).
It was Murph’s Turf! Summers were spent
rent free, the only “fee” was the upkeep.
We used to sleep until nine
and unwind on the sand until
time demanded we get busy.
Whirlwind waves made you dizzy
if you watched them for long.
The best song was their crash against
the break wall. But best of all,
it was a haven for the unshaven.
Because, when things move that slow,
you’re apt to let yourself go!

Copyright © – Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

248 thoughts on “HANGING OUT – PROMPT #79

  1. Walt and Marie, I enjoyed both your poems immensely. Having so many cousins myself, your poem, Marie, definitely spoke to me. And yours, Walt, did in a different way. Your “happy, hidden hamlet” is just the kind of place I’ve wished that I could have. My poem is about the place I go when I just have to be by myself, if only for one minute.

    My Place To Be Alone

    Being alone was not for me,
    No sir, not at all.
    Surrounded by brothers,
    Sisters and cousins,
    Aunts, uncles, and friends.
    I never needed a place to be alone,
    Never even wanted one.
    That is, until four years ago
    When I went to bed and he was there,
    And I woke up and he was gone.
    Not until I lost my greatest treasure,
    My wonderful big brother;
    I didn’t need a place to be alone.
    Since that night, so long
    And yet so short a time ago,
    My room has been my hideout,
    My refuge when I need to cry,
    My haven when I just can’t
    Hold back the floods of tears anymore.
    My room, the place I flee to
    When I want to cry,
    When I want to be alone.


    Austerity North London in 1952,
    tacky Enfield High Street
    upstairs in the ABC café,
    third table in from the entrance
    every Saturday morning
    coffee spills on formica
    and rickety plastic chairs.

    Our gang of teenagers arrives,
    one by one when freed
    from the queues in Sainsbury’s,
    burdened with shopping for Mum,
    amid clatter of cups, fog of smoke,
    and chatter of gossip

    of who’s going out with whom
    or who’s broken up this week?
    Grumbles about homework
    vie with assignations for dancing,
    cinema or Sunday walks
    hand in hand beside the grimy New River.
    Saturday morning in Enfield,
    the highlight of our week.

  3. Loved both… Meg, you are soo friendly! And Walt, that special haven would have been my choice too!

    • Marie – delightful recollection of a busy band of young people. 🙂

      “A happy little hamlet hidden,..” That presents (as does the rest of your poem) an inviting place to be.

  4. Christner Homestead

    Pastures, creek, and hayloft were our playground.
    During the summers my sister and I shared our domain.
    Cousins would take turns staying a week at a time.
    We fed the hogs, gathered eggs, and worked in garden
    In mornings, but then we explored the farm.
    My favorite was the two story barn with its huge hayloft.
    We would move the bales to make hay igloos and play cowboys and Indians
    Until we were called for lunch or supper.
    A race was on to the windmill to wash our hands and face under the pump,
    Then hurry to sit at table where Mother always led us in prayer.

  5. Marie, this is one of my all-time favorites of yours. Maybe because my cousins were such a part of my memories of carefree days. What a blessing to grow up with an extended family!!


    Reality is shabby
    compared to how it seems
    when I close my eyes at night
    and drift into my dreams.
    No movie set or painting
    has beauty, joy, or strife,
    like what my sleeping mind creates
    when it turns off my life.

    The landscapes are fantastic!
    No artwork can compare.
    Although my body lies in bed,
    my mind goes everywhere.
    Where does this fiction come from,
    My worries, hopes, and fears?
    Is this some life I’ve lived before?
    I’ve wondered that for years.

    If my imagination
    was this great while awake,
    I’d be so rich and famous
    from the movies I could make.
    I’d write the perfect novel,
    perform to claps and cheers.
    But, sadly, when I am conscious,
    it all just disappears.

    I so look forward to my dreams,
    though all are not ideal.
    I have adventures every night,
    although they aren’t real.
    The good ones stay inside my head,
    with feelings I will keep,
    the bad ones I leave in my bed
    and put them back to sleep.


  7. The Path to the Pond

    We know it by heart
    By night, in the deepest part of winter
    We can recall the smell of clay
    Sliding on our bare wet feet
    Remember where to avoid the roots
    That trip, the sharp stones as once again
    We travel through that green tunnel
    Stooping to avoid blackberry briars and
    Loops of poison ivy, hurrying to dive
    Into that incredible clear water waiting
    Just for us.

    Whole days we spent in that land where
    Water sprung to fill the quarried pits.
    Fish appeared as if by magic, frogs and
    Crawdads, turtle, snakes, clumps of algae,
    Water moss, cat-tails, reeds every water
    Loving thing and all the neighborhood,
    Daylight swimmers to evening fishermen
    Campfires lit the midnight sky and music
    Floated through the fields to home.

    Boys and girls in cut off jeans, tanned bodies
    Sun bleached hair. We learned to swim by
    Jumping from the rocks. We dove, Tarzan-style
    Swinging on vines to reach the deepest spots
    Then letting go – tremendous splash! Water
    Spraying upward like a fountain and in the
    Middle – us! Schools of minnows hurried
    Past, if we were quiet they’d nibble our
    Toes, mosquitoes hummed about our heads
    The snakes came out at night. When all
    The wild things had their fun and all of us
    In bed, dreaming of tomorrow and all the
    Days of all the summers we believed would
    Last forever,



  8. Golden Sand

    Bumper to bumper,
    we cruised the beach
    beer in hand, out of reach.
    Music blaring- country and rock
    amid silly giggles and scanty tops.
    Heads bobbing, out in the tide
    body surfing- oh, what a ride!
    Sand in my mouth, in my ears, between toes
    a small sacrifice, these memories of gold.

  9. Shannon Creek Park

    Hidden in a wooded valley, Shannon Creek Park.
    A hand-drawn swimsuit-clad woman welcomed you
    and on occasions, a country band played.
    Pappap owned the park, but my parents ran the place—
    Pavilions (one red and one blue shingled, on each side of the creek),
    rough-log coke stand, two outhouses, softball field, horseshoe pit,
    fishing pond, swing set, and swimming hole where my sis fell in.
    “Dad got her out before she got wet,” they exaggerated a bit.

    The coke stand housed a cooler for pop: cola, rootbeer,
    orange, cherry, grape and a freezer for ice cream treats:
    Captain Crunch, Nutty Buddies and five-cent Popcicles.
    I’d play with ridged bottle caps as Mum waited on customers
    and follow her along as she cleaned the outhouses.
    The boys’ rest room was a rough one-seater, and across the way
    the girls’ was a solid two-seater with a dressing room partitioned off.
    In the creek, I splashed around with new playmates each day.

    I was about six when the park closed, the swim hole drained,
    leaving the little creek to run through unrestrained.
    A stranger bought the land with the dam and built a house.
    We girls claimed the large outhouse, poured lime down the holes,
    turned the two-seater into a couch and tore out the partition.
    We did odd-jobs around the neighborhood to fund our band,
    The Sunflowers. We put on plays, crocheted crafts,
    and played pretend games on the abandoned land.

    When we got older, we still hung out at the park.
    We’d push each other in the creek and discovered who liked who.
    We took long walks with our boyfriends
    or found cozy corners in the pavilions or the coke stand.
    During moody times, I’d go up to the park
    sit on the bridge and watch the water rush past.
    At the park, we worked, played, celebrated, discovered,
    making many memories that would last.


    Hanging by the seaside,
    where the boats were tied.
    Playing hid and seek mid rocks,
    dodging cargo on the docks.
    Gather shells we see,
    treasures from the sea.
    secret words filling our talks.

    Build tall sand castles
    festooned with sea shells.
    Make forts of rocks and drift wood
    to stem the tide, if we could.
    Skip rocks ‘or the waves,
    spring and summer days
    holding us in fun filled mood.

    Sand made a warm bed
    where we lay our head
    to dream of far unknown land.
    Then dance mid rocks, waves and sand.
    Pick who will be king,
    overhead seagulls sing.
    Carefree, noisy, fun kids band.

    – – – * * *

    Hanging place today
    is down by the bay
    where I go to watch the waves
    as seagulls sit, fly or laze
    on rocks or sand beach
    where clams they can reach,
    and soft quiet fills the days.


  12. “Hide-Away”

    Buy an apple in 1974,
    walk away
    out the side doors,
    through the cloud of
    Camels in the OK Corral,
    duck a whiff of weed in the air,
    in 1975
    know their eyes are on your back,
    walk down Euclid Ave,
    bite apple
    away from fray, kick
    through maple leaves fluffed
    in Fall, iced in winter, singing
    in Spring, walk through 1976,
    walk passed the Victorian
    houses with rolled roofs,
    cross Dunton Ave, open doors
    to community
    library, sit in comfy chairs.


    Read Life, read Seventeen, read Royko,
    Steele, Christie, Salinger, Oates, Vietnam
    War poetry,
    until five minutes before sixth hour,
    walk through 1977,
    hurry through the burn-outs who are still
    eating fries in the OK Corral, hold breath
    and ignore the stares, the questions—
    “what you are up to all these years?”

  13. As I wrote about where I had hung out at various times in my life I was bored with what I wrote. Then Marie and Keith’s limerick played in my mind. Scanning verse is not my greatest talent, but here is my verse, rugged though it is. I took some poetic license in the last stanza. I danced some, but there was no cute, dreamy guy in my life.

    Teens Hanging Out

    The pool was four houses away.
    We must have stayed there all day.
    We’d spread our legs out so wide.
    Under each other we’d glide.
    Why we did this I cannot say.

    The custard stand was close by.
    The hoagies were delicious— my, my.
    The line there was long.
    Teenagers did throng
    considering what they would buy.

    Park dances were on Saturday night.
    Feet and fantasies both took flight.
    See that cute, dreamy boy;
    he sees me, oh joy.
    He’s coming—my heart is so light.

  14. Wheels

    As a kid my favorite moments were spent on wheels.
    My bike; white banana seat then later a 10-speed
    and roller skates; metal ones for the sidewalk,
    white boots with blue wheels for the indoor rink.

    I could ride or skate for hours.
    With a group or all alone,
    it didn’t matter.
    Wheels made me feel free.

    Once married, wheels still worked.
    We would drive all over; talking, laughing, observing.
    Plenty of late night rides (kids in pajamas),
    made for family adventures.

    Wheels have always cleared my mind,
    got me thinking, helped me process.
    Wheels have been my sanctuary.
    Not A place but any place they take me.

    © KED – October 2012

  15. Walt and Marie, you guys rule!

    Hanging Out

    With play areas surrounded
    by eight-story buildings,
    our social studies, secrets,
    bravery, cowardice, and street
    games–Red Light, Green Light,
    Statues, Skelly, and Iron Tag–all
    happened within these concrete
    squares, each one unique.
    One had ramps for racing bikes
    or skating, another boasted
    logs to balance your way
    across, and all contained
    green park benches, perfect
    for gobbling down treats
    from the ice cream truck.

  16. Imaginable Friends

    With our nearest neighbor woods away
    and my school chums, siblings, and pets
    at best unpredictable fun,
    I found some perfect friends to hang with
    that even my mother recommended,
    friends who had escaped parents
    on rafts or were ship-wrecked on islands,
    friends who wrote great stories or stood
    and quoted long poems, budding teachers.

    I rode dark horses and solved crimes,
    survived wars, diseases, failures,
    suffered but became a fully realized self
    worried about girls intent on marriage
    to wealthy men and the ones damned
    if they’d sell themselves for a country estate.

    My buddies were often poor but smart,
    abused but kind-hearted, loving, brave,
    amusing with basically good morals,
    and darned good company, as we climbed
    Into the big maple with the outstretched arm
    or stretched atop sunny rocks by the creek.

    Since I was shy, I let them do all the talking,
    all the time traveling, all the seeking and finding
    after long travail, exercising both our imaginations.
    Every night was a pajama party, tucked in
    with Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre, the March girls—
    Huck, Jim, Oliver, Robinson,
    and the boys camped out by the pond.

    Growing up on a farm myself, I worked that red clay
    and imagined stowing away, changing my identity,
    seeing the world and becoming…something fine,
    weeping for my friends’ losses
    and triumphing In their small victories,
    both of us giving the other life,
    clear that happy is
    for endings.

  17. You guys have begun something you may not be able to slow down, you know. Loved both of your poems, Marie and Walt.

    Everyone’s done such wonders here. I’ll be back tomorrow to comment. Until then, here’s my contribution for now.


    Twelve hour work day,
    Six hours late dancing,
    Begin again.

    Friends said, “Come here,”
    And we went to see,
    Only to stay.

    Better food than most,
    Twenty-four hour breakfasts,

    Soon, all regulars
    Squeezed into booths
    To laugh, learn, chill.

    We became known to all,
    Musketeers, booth hopping,
    Breakfast swapping.

    Their faces flash unasked
    Onto mind’s theater screen,
    Waiting review.

    All young, all playing with life
    Until adulthood required more,
    Always with me.

  18. It’s Monday morning… outdoor chores, rainy weather… I will return to take my time reading through all of these wonderful memories ❤ 🙂 !!

  19. Kenwood House

    The woman playing the guitar would smile
    softly at the dark-dressed man who held brushes like keys.
    There in the sunroom, I would come to stand quietly while
    the woman playing the guitar would smile
    luminous, radiant, knowing she was being watched, to beguile
    the painter opposite – keeping her innocence across the centuries
    the woman playing the guitar would smile
    softly at the dark-dressed man who held brushes like keys.

  20. Took me a while. I kept getting swings and gliders and sofas (a solitary youth) Wound up with a bar or so.

    It’s not about winning, really:
    Pinball, bar pinball, in a no-gambling state only pays in more play.
    “For Amusement Only” signs and stamps and stickers
    clutter the corner. Success is not an avalanche of coin.
    The wins just click, adding each won game. Big wins click on,
    and on, and on and the room gets quiet, waiting.

    But it’s not about winning, despite the under-the-counter
    payoff. It’s the Body English, the lean, the jazz, the gentle
    isometric influence of influencing the game without
    shoving the machine through the wall. Tilt.

    There is a subtle elegance to the old machines.
    Plunger pulled and released, a steel ball shoots
    up the arching chute then follows the slanting
    gravity down bouncing from pin to pin to winning

    or losing. I could say my hangout then was Red’s,
    or the Wooden Nickle, Burger Boy, Villager,
    Springwater, Amy’s; but the door was unimportant.
    The surround, decor, the ambiance a background
    peripheral blur. Smoke; juke box or live guitars;
    long “O”s, flat “A”s, “R”s hard or ignored altogether;

    miscues, scratches, hang on the cup; bets; fights;
    stumbles and broken bottles are all behind me.
    A barstool, an ashtray, a cold one (two, three, four)
    and the old Bally are my universe. And it’s not, really,
    about winning.

  21. She Retreats

    She lets her feet carry her,
    crackled tar travailed
    she follows the broken white line
    to the road where there’re no lines
    and from there to where there isn’t any pavement;
    simply seaweed, washed-up reeds,
    sand and soft-round pebbles.
    Solitary steps bring her burdens far,
    dark skies and shining alike
    she’ll allow her concerns to carry her
    to bring her to this peaceful place,
    this place that puts no pressure on her.
    This strip of land between sea and marsh,
    it makes nary a request upon her weary soul,
    it asks not that she hide the sadness
    that she held inside silently all day,
    it doesn’t insist that she mask emotions
    or respect unspoken pacts of familial confidentiality.
    And the loyal boats of the bay nod in unison,
    bobbing an impassioned response to her wind-wept tears,
    they grace her with a longed for validity
    and the consistency of the clear-liquidity of waves,
    the predictable pattern of pull and push here…
    Yes, she welcomes this redeeming of water
    despite its likeness to the anxious-echo, erratic ebb and flow,
    the rising of poison-amber tides on her own home shore…
    Pure and quiet she seeks this space for connecting,
    she looks to something bigger than herself for healing here.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2012

  22. Pingback: She Retreats | Metaphors and Smiles

  23. Dashing in to plant and flee—back soon 🙂

    Stable Bound

    Somewhere between
    Eight and nine
    It hit
    My heart swelled
    With it
    And anything
    Had to, HaD To,
    HAD TO
    Be mine
    Six years later
    Heard that nicker
    Just for me
    And was never able
    To stray from
    The stable
    In overalls
    Cleaned stalls
    Cleaned leather
    Learned how to tie a
    Brushed our horses
    Raced in the pasture
    Or just laid like sacks
    Across those broad
    Sun-warmed backs
    And became one
    With our obsession
    Years (many)
    Later, my heart
    Still stirs at a soft
    For me, heaven will be
    Filled with hay and a whinny

  24. Marie!! I just love that you have so many great cousin-friends…such love and memory making!! ♥

    I love the song of the wave in your poem especially, Walt…this sounds like just the haven!! :)’s

  25. There Are Places I Remember …

    Hear a few notes from an old song and I’m right back
    There – wherever there is – our cottage in the Kawartha Lakes
    If the music’s from the 60’s, or maybe just down the street
    Playing with friends and my brother at the Scarborough Bluffs
    The scent of wild flowers, golden-rod, poplars, birch
    All bring Ontario back to me, as do the richest colours of Autumn
    We get mostly golds here in the west, nothing but the yellow palette
    So come September I often find myself yearning for the blaze of red
    That maples serve up and gorgeous carnelians, burnt sienna, true orange
    The varieties of coral that only oaks can give us …
    But casting back I find myself more and more hanging around cottages
    Or tree-houses, the shooting range behind my cousin’s cabin
    Where we went to become sharp-shooters and smoke cigarettes
    The Slop-Shop across from my high-school where the Hell’s Angels
    faced off
    With the Vagabonds and where I was strictly forbidden from entering …
    of course, it
    Was particularly enticing – it had a great juke-box – but even
    I stopped going
    Once there was an actual shoot-out there …
    then the dump down Brimley Road,
    A place of untold treasures and rats the size of jack-rabbits,
    and another no-no
    So of course, we snuck there every chance we got …
    and stayed long hours
    So many places tumble through my mind – but it’s the ones
    Especially taboo that stick with me, the ones that bothered
    my parents most
    That make me smile, fill my memory bank with enchanted thoughts …
    Perhaps it’s not surprising my mother went prematurely grey,
    my dad bald …

    • Oh, Sharon… your courage… I was always too much of a worrier…
      I Loved those beautiful leaves from your trees ❤ !!

    • Sharon, what a delightful poem! You tied it up perfectly with that ending– and the forbidden are always tempting, right? Your descriptions of the leaves were fabulous, too–almost edible 🙂

  26. November, 2012 ~~ My Place

    NaNoWriMo and
    PAD challenge…
    Will the two
    fit nicely
    together… ? ❤

    {Good Luck to those spending our month with these Challenges ~ both Informally (me) and Formally} 🙂 !

  27. Bedroom, Red Shag Carpet
    At fourteen, I pretended it was my apartment—
    red shag carpet, studio couch, a pine hutch
    bought when my parents set up housekeeping
    alongside a marble-top mahogany dresser,
    My record player, stacks of Seventeen magazines,
    posters made it my own, with my books, my phone,
    my 45’s, shoeboxes of love letters, notes folded
    into tight origami footballs passed surreptitiously
    during math class hidden on the top closet shelf.

    I ignored Engelbert Humperdinck pumped like Muzak
    from the living room, played on Mama’s stereo
    housed in a coffin-sized cabinet, the only music
    capable of lulling my baby sister to sleep.
    When the needle stuck—as it always did—
    on California—California—California—California,
    I’d yell up the stairs or leave my lair, tap the tone arm
    so Engelbert could sing on to his California lover.

    With my own half bath and the kitchen nearby,
    I imagined I lived alone once the rest of the family
    headed up the steps toward bed each night.
    Even though the front door stood just few
    from my bedroom door, I chose instead
    to stand on my toilet, leaning out, occasionally
    climbing through, the window, temporary,
    innocent escapes, talking, flirting
    with skinny boys on bicycles.

    My posters declared my commitment to peace–
    Who, after all, is pro-war in junior high?–
    and my lifelong allegiance to John, Paul, George,
    and Ringo, though Sweet Baby James presided
    from over the door, approving of my play list,
    giving silent blessing to the algebra homework
    as I rushed through, eager to read myself to sleep
    in that room scented lightly of Yardley and Noxema,
    Three Dog Night singing me to sleep, wondering
    over and over if I’d ever been to Spain.

  28. The Hill

    Behind the house,
    pass bittersweet
    and sandy mounds,
    milkweed pods
    and trampled grounds.

    Up to the crest
    and a little beyond
    where the birch groves stand
    and sumac rest –
    I could be found.

    I’d bring a book
    or just sit and think
    caressed by the sun
    which made my eyelids blink –
    I would snuggle down.

    Late in the day
    the deer would come
    or the fox would play
    and I would watch –
    now I wish for that day.

    In the trees
    letters were carved
    tears were shed
    but time moved on
    the years have fled.

    The hill remains
    and in my memory glows
    the warmth and love
    of time shared with the land
    on the hill above.

  29. Pingback: Refuge « Misky

  30. Refuge

    There was nowhere to hide,
    no quiet hidie-hole
    of her own,
    no closed doors,
    nowhere to go away
    from questioning eyes,
    and accusatory stares,
    so she just hid away
    a harbour,
    a bolt-hole,
    deep in her own head.

  31. Chinaberry Tree.
    Children, you and me;
    climbed upon her graceful limb
    viewed imagined foes
    pummeled them with blows
    stripped her berries from the stem.

    Chinaberry Tree
    playground, higher see
    all the world from way up there
    fantasy, she floats
    where one may emote
    echoes roll upon the air.

    Chinaberry Tree
    waving, windy, free
    how we loved your branch’s Fall
    from our playhouse, tall
    dangling legs do scrawl
    hanging, happy giggles call.

    Chinaberry Tree
    stark your winter be
    icy cycles freeze your skin
    anxious, you found rest
    from our summer test
    God will clothe you from within.

    Chinaberry Tree;
    Spring is here, you see.
    Green your shiny, glossy leaf;
    vibrant is your joy.
    We’ve become your toy.
    Play with us for life is brief.

    Chinaberry Tree;
    mother, once, to me.
    Pleasure buried in my soul
    I will remember
    with all thoughts tender
    once upon a time to hold.

  32. This is my (small and belated) contribution:


    Imagine, if you will, my haven,
    a cloister I have been given,
    snaking ’round like a lucid
    blanket wrapped around my
    body as I glimpse
    the charms of this
    wasteland of
    smoke and

    © Andra-Teodora Negroiu, 2012

  33. Pingback: PART 14 – Hanging Out | Two Voices, One Song

  34. Pingback: My Own Little World | echoes from the silence

  35. Buzzin’ on the Buzz Bike

    It was so cool
    Silver and blue
    Twenty inch tires
    With red sports stripe
    A twenty-six inch crank
    With metal off-road pedals
    Transferred from my brother’s bike
    A black banana seat
    And a sissy bar

    The sissy bar was just right
    For holding my baseball glove
    A football fit perfectly
    Under the seat
    A basketball fit perfectly
    In the front of the frame
    And my baseball bat slid
    Just right in the handlebars

    I would jump on in the morning
    Ride off into adventure land
    Rain or shine
    And return for supper

    My Buzzbike Eliminator
    From Western Auto
    My escape from the humdrum
    Transportation to my hangouts
    Vehicle that linked me to friends
    And my rolling flight to fantasy

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

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