hawkins wigwam

LAST NIGHT, I went back to Hawkins Road with my youngest daughter. This is the long winding road that leads from the top of a hill down nearly to the Stony Brook Mill Ponds. At the top of that hill, I used to build makeshift wigwams in the forest with my friends many years ago. We had a little boombox and would listen to NWA, Guns N’ Roses, and the Beastie Boys and play Indian. Once I saw a great snake, and climbed into the trees, because I was so terrified. These aboriginal dwellings were mostly made of saplings bent to construct the frame of the wigwam, and then covered with mats of pine branches. We came up a set of snowy steps at the foot of Hawkins and saw a small wigwam at the entrance to a house, but this one was made up animal skins. This was a deluxe wigwam, in other words, and the house was also luxury. It seemed some changes had taken place on Hawkins in my absence. The hill had once hosted maybe 20 different houses but all of these had been razed and replaced by one over-arching McMansion. My daughter stayed behind to play in the wigwam, and I climbed the steps to walk down a series of long hallways. Beneath, I could see all the accoutrements of success, the indoor tennis court, the massive kitchen with colonial-inspired hearth. In one of the compartments, an older, gray-haired man sat in a button-up collared business shirt while several screens showed different channels’ coverage of the stock market. He seemed to be completely absorbed by his work. I wondered who his child was, the one with the wigwam, and if they really interacted in this enormous monster of a house. Instead, I turned, went down the hall, and came down the steps. My daughter was still playing with the wigwam. “This is somebody else’s house,” I told her. “We need to go.” She protested, but I told her, “We shouldn’t stick around on somebody else’s property. They might call the police.”

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