Friday, August 19, 2011


My English is self taught and for the life of me I never know how to spell the word :"neighbor" I always put another g in there somewhere. 50 plus years and I am still not getting it.

What I am also not getting is the change in our culture ,speaking of neighborhoods.

Rhonda wrote in her blog that the people they meet, while they are living on a boat,
are so friendly. A boat will dock next to them and immediately there is contact.
People are so friendly, she writes.

So I go back in though to 1955 when I moved here and lived in New Jersey for awhile.
I knew every one in the street. We did get a cup of sugar from Mabel across the street, found numerous babysitters all around us. Lady next door had a major drinking problem with 5 kids. The oldest came to me every day telling me Mom had the flu and how would she cook this or that. The 16 year old ran the household.
I helped when I could. My babies were born there, day in and day out I had the
pram outside the front door ,babies stuffed in blankets and as a good Belgian girl I knew they needed fresh air every day. No one ever touched these little ones.

Moving to California we first bought a house in Campbell and again we met everyone
and had chit chats over the fence, watched each other kids and sat at the table with a cup of coffee while we discovered where to shop and what to bring to the new community in this new neighborhood.
Then all hell broke lose when husband nr uno was arrested in the food store he managed. He had given discounts to "ladies" when he checked them out so he went to jail overnight and then got headlines in the paper.
No one talked to me anymore and we moved into the mountains hiding my head in shame. Husband thought he was robin Hood and gave to the poor...yeah right.

In the mountains we found a neat old house we could afford, having lost the new house we just purchased months before. The town was then very, very small.
Soon we knew everyone and again the camaraderie was there and the welcome.
I felt very safe there. No one knew about the San Jose newspaper article.

Fast forward to 1969, a new marriage and the event of hippies in the gorgeous quiet valley that I adored. Strange happenings with drug scenario, people moved next door and had sex orgies with very young girls and no curtains, calling the cops was no help it took me 35 minutes to get to us.
We fled for 5 years to Spain.

Moving to where we still are in 1976 in NC. People around us where older than us and extremely friendly. Over the next 35 years the old left us for better places (we hope) and new younger and younger people arrived. At this point I do not know the names of the people across the street. The retired policeman on the other side waves. No one goes from house to house to borrow sugar or have a cup of coffee.
People are rushing out at 7 or 8 AM return in the evening.
The neighborhood is quiet. Where is the cameraderie? Are we so busy working?
Are we just "into our family? Or just into internet such as I do?


Unknown said...

We have one "borrowing sugar" neighbor that will even watch the kids (after A~ is asleep of course) on the RARE occasion we will let her. Her and I are very different but the woman is a GEM. When we first moved here we introduced ourselves. Except for this one neighbor we were made to feel like freeks. I remember one year going door to door with Z trying to sell girl scout cookies (NEVER again) they either did not answer the door...or one neighbor locked her screen door and acted afraid of us. She had seen us before...yeah Z and I are really intimidating. Sometimes I wish we could plunk our house out in the country instead of the street we live on. And BRING our sweet neighbor with us.

Unknown said...

dagnabit I posted and it disappeared. I'll try again tomorrow.

Jeannot said...

So sorry, my friend, I would think the opposite as A is so friendly with people and Z is a regular angel with red must be you, it has to be you, oh but then again you are the real angel so what the heck people are missing out.