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Friday, June 20, 2014

Neighbors Of Our Life

Currently we are living in an apartment complex that is billed as a loft apartments.  We have lived here almost 9 months.  We have met 4 persons in the complex.  Could have met more if we had gone joined the book club.  That would require a commitment. We are not ready for commitments other than assisting with grandsons' support and occasional care.  We are good with the arrangement for now.  Apartment lifestyles are a little too mobile to develop the neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar in a pinch.

We live within walking distance to probably 10 restaurants, a supercenter, World Market, card shops and so many other places we have not even been in 1/4 of the stores.  While the apartments talk of this being in the neighborhood, I tend to think of neighborhoods as the three areas where we have owned homes.

Our sweet baby boy about 2 months old.
Collinwood Acres was a newly developed area out in 'the country'.  The lots were 1 to 5 acres.  By the time we sold our home to move, we had developed some wonderful relationships in this small secluded area.  The road was tree lined with areas of trees along a wet weather creek.  One of my best friends and her husband built a house on the same street.  Two folks that my husband knew from TI purchased the lot next to ours.  We will occasionally drive out to that area and drop in on these friends.  The area is no longer secluded though the dead end streets make it quite area.  Chuck and Billie will invite us in for a drink.  We pick up on conversations from years ago.  Billie had taught me to make coconut cream pie.  They always say they wish we had never moved.  This was the neighborhood we lived in when our child was born.  The neighbor ladies had a baby shower for us.  Our son was two when we move from there.  It was supposed to have been our forever home.

Dewgie and great grandson.
Sisters and great nephew

Our home in Aurora, MO was the home in which we raised our only child.  Our next door neighbors were older than our parents.  Most others were 10 to 20 years our senior.  We became friends with the elderly 'spinster' sisters and their widowed brother.  They introduced us to their granddaughter, Donna.  She and I became very good friends with our sons growing up together.  But we did not party with the folks that were our immediate neighbors.  We did help change light bulbs, pick up more than once one of the elderly sisters (she was about 97 the last time I picked her up in 1992) and enjoyed their stories of teaching school in the Ozark Mountains around Branson.  I would borrow or lend anything to Sis, Hazel and Dewgie.  Salt of the earth.

Ten year old Son being pleased with boom box gift.
One O Two is our son's childhood home. A few months after we moved, he drove to the house, knocked on the door and explained that it was where he grew up.  The new owners kindly invited him in and he checked out what they had done to his room.  There were almost no changes at that time.  Most all the neighbors have long since passed and the area is undergoing the changes usually made by new owners.

The home from which we just moved is the last home we choose to own in any neighborhood.  The area was just developing when we bought the incomplete spec house in 1992.  After we moved into the completed home in February of 1993, 78 houses were built over the next 12 months.  It was a nice, middle class neighborhood with kids playing, school buses running and a scattering of folks like us, empty nesters.  We had neighborhood or joint garage sales.  The street was used to shoot fireworks on July 4.  We all lined up in our drives to watch the sight.  One family did not do it as they were certain it was going to set their house on fire.  Never did set the house on fire.

The kids at the end of the street fed and walked the dog and cat (did not walk the cat) when we would make short trips to Texas.  Those boys have long since grown up.  One served several tours of duty in the Middle East wars.  The other lives in California and is in 'the business of movies'.  The neighborhood had a fairly stable core group with some of the younger folks needing to move into bigger properties.  I never hesitated to ask Sharon, Robin or any one of the next door neighbors for an egg, sugar or even vanilla if I needed it.  More than once I filled a cup or a bag for them.

Drive used for chair races
Hubby and Neighbor That Watched the Neighborhood had a rolling chair race down our sloped drive.  It did not end well for Neighbor whose chair balked and ungracefully dumped him on the concrete.  Hubby had only a week or so before tripped and fell on the drive.  He skinned himself pretty badly but saved the steaks he had grilled for the Neighbor and Wife.  These two guys played tricks on each other and could be an handful at times.  Hubby misses the fun these days.  Wife and I decided they should not play together as they always got in trouble.  Wife held a neighborhood farewell party for us last fall.  Those were really good neighbors and friends.

Before the building was there a trampoline entertained
young girls and my husband.  
A couple or three of the homes in the last neighborhood were used by the developer as lease homes.  He had taken them in trade for bigger houses.  We saw a large variety of people come and go in those houses.  There were the twentysomething young women who put a trampoline in the back yard next to our yard.  I would find Hubby standing at the window admiring the jumping skills of the bikini clad young ladies.  At least that is what he said he was doing.  

There were the neighbors who decided to park all sorts of cars on the street and in the yard.  I am a live and let live person most of the time so I just looked the other way.  When the cars drove up, walked to the door, exchanged something then drove away I continued to look the other way.  The day they pulled a travel trailer into the drive, ran an extension cord and decorated with Christmas lights in the middle of summer I had to inquire.  The plan was for their son to live in it.  Permanently.  In the Driveway across from my house.  This was one of the houses being leased from the developer.  The trailer was against covenants.  I called the subdivision developer who was the landlord.  The same subdivision developer that required us to modify our back fence to have boards on both sides.  My message was short and sweet.  This is against the same covenants you quoted to me.  I expect the same regard from you that you expected from me.  The trailer was gone within two days.  The family moved within a month since the neighbors were so uppity.  The folks blamed The Neighbor That Watched The Neighborhood for calling the landlord.  I never told them differently.

My family visiting neighbors who moved away.
I am the squirt in the cowgirl hat.
Neighbors can be the best part of life. Neighbors can be a challenge.  Neighbors can be nosey and demanding.  My experience has been that for the most part neighbors are as good as I treat them.

For some great stories about other neighborhoods, please, visit The Spin Cycle for neighborhood week.  Gretchen has some wonderful seafood dishes prepared and Ginny Marie's girls have made lemonade. They'll be as glad to see you as I have been.

Second Blooming
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