| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:27

    my life has come full circle and i'm dizzy.

    i have often written about my humble beginnings in the bronx and how i spent most of my youth and young adulthood trying to "get outta dodge."

    from what horrors was i running? in reality, none. i grew up in a four-bedroom apartment with an eat-in kitchen one block east of fordham road and two blocks south of the grand concourse, which was a showplace. from my third-floor bedroom window i could see both streets, which were the bronx crossroads of civilization. looking out the window at the doings on my very lively block was better than watching television.

    we shopped at alexander's and woolworth. set our watches by the clock tower of dollar savings bank and went to free concerts performed at the bandstand in poe park.

    i lived in one of those old-fashioned neighborhoods where everyone truly did know everyone (and each other's business); we all went to the same church, the same school, the same everything. and your mother knew exactly what you did two minutes after you did it because someone else's mother was always watching.

    i have fond memories of grammar school and went on to attend one of the best all-girls high schools in the borough. i stayed, by choice, to attend fordham university. even the good, however, could not compete with the glow of manhattan. my blind devotion to "downtown" eclipsed the positive and highlighted the negative about my borough.

    the last three years living in the bronx were the hardest. i basically just slept there, because i had started working in the city. every night after work there was a different reason to remain in manhattan, and there were a hundred more to draw me in on both days of the weekend.

    when i could finally afford to leave, i swore i would not be returning except for brief family visits or to drive through on my way to somewhere else. for many years i was able to keep my distance.

    then my son made his grammar school's basketball team. in past columns, i have touched on how i've had to return to the borough of my birth to watch him because his manhattan school plays mostly bronx teams. i am now in my third year of finding myself heading uptown, over the willis avenue bridge (to avoid the toll) then hopping on the bruckner-the same route i used to take back in the day, when i'd tear up on the way home wondering when i'd find a reasonable apartment so that i could move.

    around the area of the school where the games are, i usually find myself speeding up instead of slowing down. the 'hood is all too familiar and filled with memories of a part-time job during college at macy's parkchester, the lone movie theater where finding the elusive parking space almost always guaranteed missing the beginning of the film and trying not to get killed by merging traffic when going around an accident-waiting-to-happen, multi-lane street known lyrically as "the circle."

    on the way home, i still get the same rush i did so many years ago when we'd go over the now renamed triboro bridge and i saw salvation in the new york city skyline.

    basketball ended this month. just as i readied myself to exhale, because my days going you-know-where were numbered, the high school acceptance letters arrived and my son made his choice: fordham prep.

    yes, that means four more years in the bronx. why did i bother to move? -- lorraine duffy merkl has been named humor writer of the month by the erma bombeck writers' workshop. her column appears every other week.