Memory of a Virginian Autumn

January 13, 2010
By Elisabeth Walker BRONZE, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Elisabeth Walker BRONZE, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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Ah, autumn. Some prefer to call it fall. Either way, it happens to be my favorite season of them all. There are the colorful, changing leaves, the fall harvest, some amazing holidays, birds migrating south, the ever changing weather and many, other good things. My favorite memories of this season occur in Fredericksburg, Virginia, my second home after moving from Long Island, New York. As a young child, my younger brother and I loved to jump in the leaf piles, take walks along trails, and play with the other neighborhood kids.

If you went back in time to my neighborhood, you would probably find me, my brother, Andrew, and our friends, Clayton, Tanner and Emily, playing a make-believe game outside. During the fall though, we would always be exploring the wilderness of the nearby small patch of woods behind my house, or the walking paths behind the neighborhood. Fall was the best time for ‘exploring’ because the weather was perfect. You could hear the crunch of leaves beneath your feet, smell someone’s dinner grilling, and hear the birds migrating south. The most beautiful sight was rainbow colored leaves upon the trees, or, on the ground. When my mom took my brother and me on hikes along the trails, we sometimes spotted the wildlife, preparing for winter. When dusk fell, the summer nights of playing outside late with the other children were over. We could still eat dinner on our porch, but it was getting dark earlier, and getting chillier each day.

Two important neighborhood traditions to happen in the fall were the Fall Fest at the local clubhouse, and the big neighborhood Block Party. Fall Fest was at its best when we were in preschool up to first grade. One year, possibly kindergarten, a carriage came! Well, it was more like a hayride pulled by horses. This hayride took us around the neighborhood, the crisp autumn air blowing through our hair. Afterwards, I met up with my best friend Emily to paint pumpkins while our younger siblings went to look inside a big, red fire truck. After we painted our pumpkins, and by the end, our faces, too, it was soon time to go home. True for many years, Fall Fest was always a highlight of the year.
A few days after Fall Fest came the neighborhood Block Party, a tradition to happen every year. My favorite Block Party occurred in the year 2003, a few days after hurricane Isabelle hit. This year, the block party was on an empty lot, near a golf course, and the “Big Ditch” as we called it (it was really a cement drainage pit). As the children hung out, a few boys took off on their bikes and disappeared down one of the trails. They came back about twenty minutes later and told Emily, my brother Andrew, our friends Clayton and Tanner, and me to grab our bikes and come with them. We went with them and rode around the golf course, which was closed due to the hurricane damage. There were wet leaves and branches everywhere, but nevertheless it was an experience of a lifetime. When we got back, the party continued late into the night. It ended with glow sticks and a bonfire. The parents were all talking, the children exhausted after their adventure, and everyone very, very happy.

A great thing about autumn is that there are holidays. There is first Halloween, my favorite time to be with my group of friends. We would all gather in my basement and go through costumes in bins. We would then, to get into the spirit, parade around the neighborhood in various outfits, most of them my mothers’ old prom dresses. Finally, when our favorite night of the year next to Christmas Eve arrived, we were ready. We put our costumes and makeup on and got our goody bags ready. We also warmed up, as we knew we would get a workout, trick-or-treating to a multitude of houses. A few hours, many sore feet, and an abundance of candy later, we returned to our homes. There, my brother and I organized our candy and then traded certain items, as I have a peanut allergy and always seem to get the most Reese’s Pieces. Following Halloween came my number one important autumn holiday, Thanksgiving. This holiday was always important to me because it was one of the few times of the year that the whole family, minus some members that lived very far away, got together. My brother and I were the only children around until my younger cousins were born, so we would find our own entertainment while the family members started pouring in, and the smell of mouth-watering food began drifting our way. After the bird was carved, and all members sat down, the feast began. I remember the food always being delicious, and the dessert even better. After dinner when my brother Andrew and I were in preschool and early grade school, we would climb underneath the dining room table and pretend it was a fort, much to the dismay of the family members’ feet.

In conclusion, the third season of the year has always meant the most to me, especially when I was young. Memories are made in the fall that last a lifetime. At school, you meet new people, some of whom will become your future best friends. It is also a season of change. Just as leaves change, I believe that we change in the fall, becoming a wiser person, all while learning and enjoying nature. There are the hayrides, the end of the year picnics, the corn mazes and pumpkin patches. And, after the conclusion of my favorite season, comes winter. A season of merriment, celebration, Christmas and the joy of giving. Then the cycle begins again, and soon enough autumn will return, bringing back a flood of memories that are so meaningful to me.

The author's comments:
When I lived in Fredericksburg, VA from 1996-2004, I made the best memories I have ever had. Autumn was the one season where I felt the happiest. Even today, I feel the most content during the Autumn months.

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