Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Every Street Needs A Mrs. Berlehner

It's been around 30 years since I heard her standing in her front yard screaming at one of her boys, but that voice is imbedded in my mind forever.  Though sometimes that scream might be in anger, often it was just her animated personality out there for the world to see and hear.  She, along with her husband and three boys moved to my neighborhood when I was a kid.  They were different.  They were from New York.  They talked funny.  They pronounced the letter "r" funny and added the letter "r" to the end of words that didn't have an "r."

They were the Berlehners.  And through the years, we all became really close.  Kind of like family, I guess.  No, we didn't go on vacations together and I don't ever recall spending the night at each other's house.  Yet, we did life together. We kids roamed the street like we owned every inch of it. Man, that time of my life was an absolute blast. To be honest, I'm pretty sure we could right a book called the adventures of Phyllis Ct. and it would be a best seller (hmm....maybe I'll write it).   My mom was in charge of security on her end of the street and Mrs. Berlehner handled her end.  You've heard of "soccer moms?" Well, they were "street moms" and they made sure things were in order. Neither one had an issue with getting on to any of us kids if we got out of line.  It was a safe place to grow up. A safe place because of parents like ours who parented. Parents who peaked out the window to make sure all was good.  Parents who walked outside to see what their kids were up to. Parents who lived with the philosophy that if you mess with their kids, you are gonna have to mess with them. And parents who had no problem taking us to our parents when we got out of line.       

I haven't seen the Berlehners in years.  Until tonight.  And as so often is the case, reunions like this take place at funeral homes.  Mrs. Berlehner went to be with the Lord a few days ago.  I was so saddened to hear the news of her passing.  My mind immediately went back to those days during the 70s and 80s growing up down the street from this woman.  She was a hoot.  Full of life.  A New Yorker to the core.  She raised three boys of her own, but she played a part in raising many more during those days on Phyllis Ct.  She had an opinion about everything and made sure you knew it.  She kept me in stitches most of the time by just being herself.  I can honestly say I have never met anyone like her and I don't think I ever will.  She was truly a unique woman.

I miss those days growing up on that street.  My childhood was such an absolute blast.  And yes, Mrs. Berlehner played a huge part in all of that.  I'm sure we didn't think much about it back in the day, but those of us that grew up on Phyllis Ct. were blessed to have a momma like Mrs. Berlehner to keep an eye on us.  Every street needs a Mrs. Berlehner and I for one am glad my street had one.  She'll be missed but she's in a much better place.  And maybe I'm wrong, but I can picture her stepping outside the door of her mansion in heaven just to make sure everything is ok on her end of the street.   

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