Sunday, December 20, 2009

A friend from the past.....

I was very fortunate. When my husband and I purchased our first home, it was located in a subdivision of what they called, "starter homes". They were cute, well-built and sat on 50 foot lots, but most of them only had two bedrooms; enough for a couple just starting out.

Anyway, you couldn't get much more "Norman Rockwell" than this subdivision and the assortment of couples who lived there. When we moved in, the neighbors welcomed us with gifts of baked goods or casseroles. It was soon discovered that most of us were all in the same age range and financial bracket. Most of the women stayed home and the men worked. Most everyone had at least one child, was expecting a child or had dreams of having one sometime soon. We fell into the latter category since I was still working and wasn't quite ready to give it up. I think living there and watching those little families was a great incentive for me to stop work and concentrate on having children. We all felt safe there. This is where we had pinochle club once a month at rotating homes....where we had cookie exchange at Christmas and where the men all helped one another dig out during some vicious snowstorms. The picture I have attached is actually one I had hanging in the bedroom....it sort of put my feelings on canvas on how I felt there. And having my parents within walking distance was a plus.

We all got together and had coffee and visited. The kids all got along and so did the husbands. I miss that very much. Over the years, one by one all but two families moved out as we outgrew our little homes. Those that could build on because they had an extra lot, did so.

I was disappointed when I moved into this neighborhood where I now live to find that, although the neighbors would stop and wave, they didn't get personally involved. I've lived here 36 and a half years and its still the same way. We all get along (and for that I'm very grateful, especially when you read some of these "neighbors from hell stories")....but no one visits, no sitting around the kitchen table having coffee sort of thing here. My best friend bought the house next door to me and for about 12 years we enjoyed our friendship, but she moved to AZ for her health and the 3rd family since she's left moved in a year ago. They are nice and they wave.....but the closeness is not there.

But anyway, back to the original thought for this post. I answered the phone to hear a voice from my past. It was the woman who had lived across the street from me in that wonderful subdivision. She was one of the ones who stayed and built on to their home. We have so many good memories to talk about. And yes.....we did try to stay in touch after I moved. I only moved about 4 miles away....but that 4 miles prohibits you from running across the street in a rural subdivision in your jammies to have coffee after the husbands have left for the day. Through the years we didn't see each other so much....I was working odd hours and lots of overtime, then she went to work too. So it was wonderful to talk today. We gabbed for over three hours (thank goodness for cordless phones) and got caught up on a bunch of stuff. After the holidays we've made promises to meet on regular intervals for coffee and gossip. I'm so glad for my fond memories of that old neighborhood and I hope that there are still some like that here and there.....Americana at its best! I'm mostly glad that she remembered me and cared enough to call me. Another close friend and neighbor from that era is way down in Florida!

13 comments:

JY said...

That IS a heartwarming story. And friends (family), it doesn't matter how much time has passed, it just seems like yesterday doesn't it? Glad that you got together... My home town in Oregon was like that...abeit only 600 people! But yeah ppl would walk to each other's houses...
My mom used to spend so much time on the phone with her friends that husbands (dad) would say, "why don't you just GO OVER THERE and chat!!!"... LOL

Respectfully Yours said...

I enjoyed your post. Brought back some happy memories. I lived in a starter home too. Nice neighbourhood. I think it is more a sign of the times, than a new address that is the reason for the distant neighbours. Happy Holidays.

Mama Llama said...

It has just been in the past year and a half that I have discovered ... or been perhaps a part of the formation of ... a community that now exists in the neighborhood. Not necessarily those right next door, but around the corner and down the street, several of us mothers gather for coffee, celebrations, tears--we DO get involved and the resulting comfort is outstanding. I felt so ambiguous about this area until then; now I feel my roots starting to grow and spread here, and I don't think I could leave.

Great post, thought-provoking words.
Be well, Val.

Joanna Cake said...

I think it's when you're at the breeding stage that you make friends in that way. You're all in the same boat and it becomes like a collective.
As the kids got older, you would probably all have grown less close. That's how life is when outside interests start to creep in.
There is a saying somewhere that friends are for a season, a reason or a lifetime and I think that sums it up really well.
Merry Christmas!

gayle said...

What a nice story...I lived in that type of neighboorhood until we moved when I was 13. I also raised my girls in the same type. Those were such wonderful days and wonderful memories. Wish life was still like that!!

Happyone :-) said...

A great story!
My husband was in the military for the first 20 years of our married life and living on bases overseas you really bond with your neighbors. They became as close as family.

SOUL: said...

that's awesome-- hope the keeping in touch thing works out.

nothin like those ole hen parties as my sis calls em. :))

happy monday

Christine said...

Those neighborhoods pretty much died off with the stay at home mom. Homes sit empty most of the day now as Mom and Dad work and then drag the kiddies to one activity to another day after day. No one has time to sit and gossip with neighbors when they don't even have the time to see their good friends. It is sad in a way that times of huge block parties and neighborhood cook outs are pretty much a thing of the past.

Jamie said...

Whar a great story. I love that you reconnected...and it IS too bad those days are gone, isn't it? If I lived in your neighborhood, I would run over in my jammies and have coffee with you. Have a blessed week, Charlotte. :)

bearly domesticated boneman said...

uh-oh...
Is this a good time to mention that I'm going down to Florida next week for some Sun searching?

Gypsy said...

It's already Christmas Day here Val but I just couldn't go to bed without wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your family. I hope you aren't suffering too much from the cold and snow. Much love to you lovely lady. xxxx

ordinaryjanet said...

Yeah, I know what you mean-Mom is one of the last of the old-timers on our street, there are less than five. She still hears from old neighbors, mostly at Christmastime. Nothing is like it used to be. People move so much that it's hardly worth it to try to make friends with neighbors anymore.

Cheryl said...

I grew up in a community like that. It was a subdivision built by Levitt. My mom was best friends with three of the neighbors. My parents still live in that home and this past July we had a 'Knighthill Lane' reunion. It was wonderful. I live on a great cul-de-sac. We do visit, but everyone works. I loved your story.

PS...Sorry about the spam you've gotten. The word verification is there for a reason even though we don't like it. It's not hard to fill out.