We would take our candy and Yoo-Hoo's and walk along the tracks. There was a special spot we had to hang out, it was a manhole in the middle of a stream under the tracks. There were four of us on that manhole at least once a week, and we couldn't even face each other because there wasn't room. We stepped gingerly from rock to rock until all four of us were safely seated, our bookbags were left on the shore. Thank goodness we were skinny or we would have pushed each other into the water every time we shifted position. We shared our deepest secrets on that manhole, and lots of candy. Our backs to each other, we would talk as long as we could.
Sometimes we would get tar on our shoes and pick it off while we sat there, rolling the little balls of black into tiny voodoo dolls of the teachers we disliked or the kids that thought they were so tough. We could hear other students walking the tracks above us, but no one ever noticed us right below them. Luckily for us, we were shielded by a huge Mulberry tree during the warmer months, during the winter, it was a bit cold to sit on a metal manhole. The kids that rode their bikes on the dirt trails that ran along the tracks were the ones that we were afraid of discovering our secret place. They were the noisy boys that teased girls and played "Keep Away" with the bookbags.
Thinking about this time in my life made me realize how precious a few stolen moments with one's girlfriends can be. I have no idea why there was a manhole sitting in the middle of a stream. Where could it lead? Someday I will go back there and see if the actual place fits the picture in my mind. Or maybe I won't and just let the memory be.