Do You Know Your Neighbors?

I suppose it’s a “regional thing”, when it comes to getting to know your neighbors.

I’ve lived in cities where people that have lived next to each other for ten years just exchange the casual “Hi” or “Good Morning” in passing at their mutual driveways.

I’ve also lived in cities where neighbors have never formally met each other nor really even know one another’s last name. They become just “the neighbor” or “loud music guy” or “miss stuck-up”.

In the south, your next-door neighbor can become your best friend, your softball teammate, the “go to” guy to keep an eye on things while you are on vacation, someone to watch the kids.

OR

He or She can be that “new person” that moved in, that you watch for several months and “check’em out”, before you introduce yourself.

OR

Your “best neighbors” live on the side of the street that you live on…and you rarely cross the street to meet “THOSE” neighbors.

OR

You have neighbors you exchange “pleasantries” with, but your “real” friends live in another part of the city. They come to your house, you go to theirs, etc.

It occurred to me today, that I have lived at the end of my little cul-de-sac for about a year now, and I know my next door neighbor pretty good. I know the couple by that neighbor less, other than their last name, and the fact that the husband is the local “car guy” that’s always working in his garage. And after those two, I know very little about my neighbors. One neighbor across the street just moved, and I only ever knew his first name and that he drove a van.

Well heck, I’m much more friendlier than that. Or, so I thought.

So this week, in the afternoons, I’m thinking I may take a little walk down the street and just knock on some doors and introduce myself and point out where I live.

Rather than just being a “neighbor”, it’s time I become more “neighborly”.

Do you know who your neighbors are?

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3 Responses to Do You Know Your Neighbors?

  1. Anonymous says:

    YO david,

    I am a guilty one. When I lived in my mom’s house I barely knew any of the new neighbors, but when we were kids, everyone on the block knew who everyone else was. We had several “moms” around the neighborhood who kept the tabs on the kids- and it kept us out of trouble sometimes. We played tag at night and kick the can and rode our bikes around the neighborhood like we owned it. Now, Since I’ve moved, got older, I barely know my neighbors, and the old neighbors over at my mom’s house. I think I’ll throw a kegger this weekend,LOL.

  2. Janet says:

    We moved to out very old Midwestern community a few years ago. The houses on our street are mostly Victorians, about 75% gorgeous (mostly owned by older couples who have lived there for 30+ years) and 25% dilapidated (mostly rented out to young families). We bought one of the poorly cared for homes and it was only after putting on new siding, painting the porch, restoring the flower beds and hedges and generally making the place look nice that we were accepted by the neighbors. I think they were relieved that we weren’t just another young family who was going to junk up the place, but that we were trying to fit in with the neighborhood and put down roots.

    Since then, several of the “bad” houses have been sold and are being renovated. The siding company has told us our house was their best advertisement (we did vinyl siding but styled to look period)! There seems to be a trend of younger families moving into historic homes and fixing them up, which has done wonders for the neighborhood, neighborliness and property values.

    There is still a big divide with the renters of the junkier homes. I am as guilty of this as my older neighbors. We have one house caddy corner from us with a kid about my son’s age, I don’t even know their names. There’s just something about a huge, barking dog pinned up in a backyard kennel and a car rotting away in the front that doesn’t scream “welcome”.

    On the other hand, one neighbor has come over and cried after talking to a WWII buddy on the phone. Another comes over every Sunday with produce from his garden and a litany of reasons why he can’t stand the new parish priest. Still another intensively guards our house whenever we take a weekend trip, and gives us an-hour-by-hour recap when we return.

    Of the younger, newer families, the 15 year-old two doors down is the Best Babysitter Ever. Her mom works for our family doctor.

    I love our neighborhood and most of the neighbors. Once they accepted us as more than transients waiting out a one year lease, this place has really felt like home.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That sounds cool janet, really well done. I can just picture your neighborhood!

    Michael

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