Friday, November 4, 2011

Good neighbors

It is funny how some connections and relationships you make in life just stick with you.
From (my) third grade to ninth grade, my family lived in a house on a street of all brand new houses. Before that, the street was a cornfield. So no trees unless you planted them (and we did). No fences unless you put them up (we didn't).
We lived on the part of the street that dead-ended at a fence and on the other side was a pretty brown horse that all the little girls on the street dreamed about taking care of. I used to collect long hairs from her tail that ended up stuck in the fence wire and made a little braid out of them.
We liked to roller blade up and down the street, and one time my sister ran right into that fence by the field and broke her arm. The neighbor kids were all friends and we played an interesting form of baseball in our front yard almost every evening. Frisbees served as bases.
New construction across the street meant huge piles of dirt just perfect for climbing and building forts.
When a neighbor moved away and the house left vacant for some months, the grass in the backyard got so high that you could practically hide in it. To my parents, an eyesore. To us, a jungle! We pretended the wooden playset in the backyard was our treehouse and we waded through the grass to get back to it, being careful of tigers and snakes, etc.
Our family had a little dachsund at the time who loved to bolt outside when given opportunity (remember, no fences) so we spent many evenings chasing her frantically through the neighborhood to bring her home. Sometimes neighbors would call the house, "Peanut is in my yard, send the kids this way."
My sisters and some neighbor girls and I had a lemonade stand (yes, on that dead-end street) and we wanted to give all the proceeds to the flood relief efforts in the midwest that was happening at that time. Everyone from the neighborhood came to buy some lemonade and some grapes from my parents fridge and who knows what else. We raised something like $40. Someone on our street knew someone at the local paper and had them come down to take our picture. We made it into the newspaper! The fame! The glory!
The neighbors on one side of our house were an older couple (actually, my parents are now that age!) Their driveway was twice as long as ours, and for some reason twice as smooth. Luckily, they were happy to let us rollerblade on their driveway. We adopted them as an extra set of grandparents. You can really never have too many. She was an avid sewer and had fancy machines and know-how. My mom taught me how to use a sewing machine, but she sent me over to the "Norf's" house when I wanted to turn an old pair of jeans into a skirt. I spent the evening there working on it and in the end I had my skirt. (Probably with a lower hem than I originally envisioned, thank you very much)
We moved away from that house after my freshman year. 1999. My parents kept in touch with the "Norfs." They came to my wedding 8 years later.
Now, 12 years after moving away, my mom suggests I call to arrange a visit with my littles. We caught up some over the phone and talked about the "old days" and about my new family. I told her about how I am still sewing and looking forward to getting better at making clothes. She told me she wanted to give me something that she no longer uses and would love to see it being used. So the littles and I made the trip up to visit with our old neighbors for a few hours. Talked about who moved where, who is still around, what all my little neighborhood friends are doing now. A really nice visit.
And look what I was sent home with:
Yep, a SERGER!!!!!!!! I had better figure out how to use it! What a generous gift. And all because of a long-standing, well nurtured relationship with a neighbor. You just never know.

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