Good Neighbors Make Good Childhoods
- on June 1, 2011
Our little North Lawrence house, the one we're leaving for a bigger version on the south end of town, has some awesome neighbors.
When we moved in, there was a policeman and his wife living behind us. They moved out and were replaced with a retired fire captain who is just as nice and helpful as the prior occupants. We have a neighbor who kindly stops by with his Bobcat after a big snow and clears our driveway, and a neighbor who brings us produce and herbs from her garden.
People stop by and chat while they walk their dogs. The fireman brought Johnny an awesome fire truck toy at Christmas. One of our neighbors told another of our neighbors that we wanted to sell our house, and HE BOUGHT IT. Without a listing, a neighbor came over and said "I'd like to buy this house." Just like that. That is a damn fine neighbor if you ask me.
When we started looking for a new house, the neighborhood was just as important as the size or specs of the house. We wanted somewhere as cozy as our current 'hood, where people go outside and talk to neighbors and that would be a safe place for Johnny to ride his bike and explore as he gets older.
And we think we found it. We have driven around our soon-to-be 'hood several times, patting ourselves on the back for making a good choice. It's not a particularly new or fancy neighborhood. It's not a neighborhood full of perfect lawns or uncracked driveways. The houses all look clean and well-kempt, if not new or particularly fancy. But most importantly, we always see families outside. We see kids playing and people chatting or walking dogs and we feel like this is our kind of place.
We'll miss our old neighbors, but we've already met a few new ones - ones who are welcoming and festive just like the old ones. We're already planning pool parties and cookouts to invite our new neighbors to, and laughing when we look at the trails behind the homes where Johnny will probably make a hideout with his friends.
I remember the neighborhood I grew up in fondly. It was the sort of place where the mothers put us out like pets in the summers and told us to come back at dinnertime. We played tag and the moms sat on the patios and we swam in the neighbor's pool all. day. long. I don't expect life to be exactly the same as it was all those years ago, but it is my hope that this new house will provide a similar experience for our boy - a life of security, of knowing the neighbors, of bike rides and friends and icy-pops around every corner.