When you think back on your childhood or growing up is there a phrase that you remember as if you just heard your mom or dad saying it yesterday? I grew up in suburban New Jersey. It was a great neighborhood and growing up there was a blast. Our block was full of families with kids all around the same age. Our parents had gatherings and we, the neighborhood kids would gather to shoot hoops, swim or play man hunt. I know for a fact, that the one phrase every kid on the block heard as they ran out the door was “come home when the streetlights come on.” Little did they know that occasionally we would shoot BB guns at the lights and blame the lack of light on coming home late but for the most part that was the rule, come home when the street lights come on. We would be allowed back out on the weekends but on weekdays, that was our curfew- street lights. There was one in front of nearly every house so the rule made sense.

This year, if I told my 2 boys to “come home when the street lights come on”, I may never see them again. I grew up with a streetlight in front of almost every house, and now my journey as a teacher has landed me to place void of tall imposing lights lining the road. Once it gets dark, the only shining beacon is a small solar light that illuminates my neighbors American flag and on clear nights, stars as far as the eye can see.

I would never have the moxie to say that I am a Mainer ( you can only be a true Mainer, if you were born in Maine). I have lived in Maine since graduating college. I have guided whitewater trips, hunted and enjoyed Maine’s woods but for some reason seeing this lone light made me think about my teaching path but more importantly it made me thankful for my journey.

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