This morning, I was sitting out on my porch while my car was warming up. There was frost on the windows, but the birds were out singing like it was spring and the sky was clear. I was thinking about the neighborhood I live in while I watched my neighbors getting into their cars to go to work or transport their kids to school.
I have moved several times in my life. Funny, I always lived in the suburbs. Even so, it amazes me the how different one neighborhood can be from another.
When the kids were little, we lived in a bungalow in a gritty suburb. Even though it wasn’t my dream home or the city I wished to live in, our neighborhood was actually quite nice. Back then housing prices were through the roof. Young couples starting out couldn’t afford many of the more desirable neighborhoods so they ended up in the neighborhood we lived in.
Our neighborhood was filled with kids. All young and always outside playing, like when I was a kid. The parents would sit on their porches and watch their children play. Many times we would go house hopping and hang out with a lot of our neighbors. There had to be at least twenty kids on our block alone. All of the parents knew each other and got together for bbq’s and New Years Eve parties. Considering the neighborhood we lived in, it really was a great place for our young kids to start out.
By the time the kids were half-way through elementary school, we moved to our dream home. The house was huge, the neighborhood was gorgeous and the city was one we had always wished we lived in. We lived in a neighborhood that had one way in or out, so the traffic was pretty much non-existent. Kids would ride their bikes in the street or play hockey with no fears of speeding cars racing by.
We used to joke that we lived in fairytale land because we had the best animals in our neighborhood. We saw deer often. There were rabbits everywhere and we saw the prettiest birds. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see birds with velvet ribbons in their mouths while singing beautiful songs. Honestly, the neighborhood was magical.
The neighborhood we had moved from had crows. Lots of them, and boy did they make a racket. We would see possums, skunks and raccoons. None of these animals seemed to be allowed in our new neighborhood. The difference in the types of animals we saw was rather startling.
The down-side of our new neighborhood was that it was often what we refered to as a ghost town. The neighborhood felt empty once you lived there for a while and oddly vacant. These families were busy. Both parents were working and the kids were all in a million activities. The busiest time of day was after dinner when you might see some kids outside. The little kids who hadn’t started school yet were the ones you would see lost often Besides that, there was a strange disconnect between neighbors. We knew our neighbors, but even living a few doors away, finding time to get together was rough because of the hectic schedules.
The economy tanked and my husband and and I lost our jobs. We then lost our home. We were lucky in that we found a new home in a nice neighborhood literally across the street in the next subdivision over. Houses were at this point inexpensive to buy, so we were able to stay in the same school district and close enough to our old neighborhood that the move was less jarring for the kids.
We now live in a neighborhood of curvy streets with trees everywhere. Our last home was in a neighborhood that had few trees and felt rather stark in comparison Most of the homes in our new neighborhood are traditional colonials, which is what we bought. For all that we loved in our old neighborhood, this new neighborhood gave us something our old neighborhood lacked. This neighborhood had life.
We were amazed at the amount of people who were always home. Many people had lived in the same home all of these years and were now retired. Other families only had one parent working. People were home. They were out puttering around in their yards and running after their children. The people in this neighborhood were friendly and had lots of time to stand around and shoot the breeze.
We were delighted when we found out that the neighborhood held a block party each year. This was no ordinary block party. There were tons of games, food and entertainment. The kids were thrilled. The neighborhood is loaded with kids, and once again we are in a neighborhood where kids will come by and ring the bell looking for one of our children. At any given time you will see kids on bikes, kids playing basketball and kids running around shouting, being kids like they should be.
Neighborhoods are a funny thing. Each one has a remarkably different personality. It’s amazing how the neighborhood you live in really shapes the way your kids see their lives. We love where we live and are happy and relieved that a bad experience turned out to be not so bad after all.
What about you? What kind of neighborhood do you live in? Are you happy with the place you live or do you wish to live in a different type of area?
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