The kids in my neighborhood

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Steve Knox
Friday, May 4, 2012

I've made the decision to finally end this blog sometime in June. Before I do I want to make sure I call out people that have been a huge part of my life. I've written about growing up on Beacon Hill Drive a few times before but one thing I didn't write about is the respect that I had - and still have - for the people I grew up with in the greatest neighborhood a kid could ever ask for. That neighborhood was right here in Janesville.

The mix of families in our neighborhood was really special. Professions were all over the board as you walked down the street. A salesman for a petroleum company, a firefighter, police officer, county deputy, dairy company owner, pilot, teachers, home builder and factory workers. It was not your stereotypical 'Janesville' neighborhood. One by one neighbors started to move but most of the families stayed in touch. Kids in the neighborhood were always around each other because we still went to school together. Weekend trips to the lake or cabin always included one or more friends from home. A trip to the Dells wouldn't be the same without a few neighbor kids coming along for the ride.

If the kids were to repopulate Beacon Hill Drive for just a few days the mix of our families and professions would be all over the board…just like it was over 30 years ago. Today, the original kids from Beacon Hill Drive are now electricians, a Army Ranger turned defense contractor, a procurement professional, a home builder, a firefighter, a lawyer, a chiropractor, a Hollywood film editor, a ER nurse, a pipe fitter, a internet radio startup, and a Air Force pilot. Some of the group still lives in Janesville (you can get an adjustment from the chiropractor) while others are editing in Hollywood, fighting fires in Georgia and trying cases in Kansas.

The best thing about our group of neighbors is how the parents stayed connected and how Facebook allows the kids to stay connected even though some of us are now thousands of miles away. I still look up to the parents and often seek out advice. It's easy through email and Facebook. I also admire and respect my peers from Beacon Hill Drive. They now have wonderful families with a neat group of kids.

Sadly, a few in the neighborhood are no longer with us. Shirley, one of the Mom's in the neighborhood and Craig, one of the kids have passed away in the last few years. That hurts. As a kid sometimes you think we'll live forever.

Once you buy or build a home you always hope for a good group of neighbors. My parents hit the jackpot when they landed on the street I grew up on. It was a special place and, as you've read, I have very fond memories of growing up in Janesville.

Share some of the memories of growing up on your block in Janesville...or wherever you grew up.

Last updated: 10:41 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Steve Knox was born and raised in Janesville before landing back in the city later in life. This Generation X guy writes on Janesville and beyond. Steve is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.

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