I have lived in my neighborhood (do you call it a neighborhood when you live in the country or is it called a community or an area?) for almost 28 years. We are the oldest (as far as years lived in our house) family on our road. But I can pretty much guarantee that when someone gives directions to a local, they still call it, “Ole Johnson’s old place” even though old Ole and his wife, Rachel, have been gone to that big farmstead in the sky for more than 50 years and the house has had just a handful of owners since then.
But it is not my house and it’s history that I want to tell you about. It is my neighbors I want to brag about.
When we first moved here, the woman who lived directly across the road from us befriended me. She was a feisty older woman who was a war bride from Germany. She kept me informed on the local gossip even though I had no clue as to whom she was talking about. We did not attend a church up here, nor did our daughter go to the local school so finding friends in the area proved pretty difficult. It was mostly the older women who were friends of my neighbor whom I met.
Then slowly over the years, the older folks moved on, and a few of the houses on my road suddenly had younger women in them. But they had jobs and only one of them had a child around my daughter’s age but it was a boy and he was not interested in playing with a “girl” so I came up with a brilliant idea (all my ideas are brilliant-tho, my husband sometimes calls them something else). I got the names and addresses of my new neighbors from the local Postmistress (who was one of the older ladies who had befriended me) and I decided that I would invite them all over for a Christmas get together.
My daughter and I worked hard making cookies and decorating in anticipation of having company. Our house was much smaller then and to sit more than four people at my expandable table, we had to put it at an angle and it made getting into the bedroom almost impossible and to get into the kitchen once everyone was seated took the skills of a contortionist. But I never let things like that bother me when I am hosting a party. What I lack in normal seating space, I make up for with ingenuity!
I had never met one of the new gals but the Postmistress had told me her name was Peggy and so when she knocked at the door, I warmly opened it up and said, “Hi Peggy”, to which she replied, “My name is Margaret and I don’t go by Peggy”! I often wonder if the Postmistress got her name mixed up with the previous local family that lived there who’s name really was Peggy!
That first Christmas party was the beginning of a friendship that has been going strong now for more than two decades. In that time, we have seen babies born, grown up, graduated, and even gone on to have kids of their own. We have added new neighbors to our friendship circle and have wept at the graveside of some of our dearest friends. We have shared our lives, our victories, our failures, our dreams and our fears. We love each other fiercely and protectively. Hurt my neighbor/friend and you hurt me.
I love this collection of friends. We are all vastly different. We have different political views and opinions. We have different life styles. We parent differently and cope with life differently. But our “heart connection” keeps us together. We may not get together as often as we used to but when we do, the laughter rings out, the hugs are tight and long, we eat, we talk, we watch an occasional “chick flick” but mostly we bond even greater….like old dreadlocks that get tighter and tighter the longer they are grown. We are matted in each other’s lives.
I do not know what I would do without this bunch of women (and their husbands, and the other men in my area who are always so willing to help out).
Years ago, one of our deceased (and sweetest) friends, declared that we were like serotonin, in the fact that we made each other feel good! So we decided that we would be the Founding Chapter of the American Society of Serotonin Sisters or as we call ourselves, “the ASS’S”. I am pretty much the head ASSS as the get togethers are usually at my place.
Here is one of my favorite photos taken a few months ago…I was demonstrating my getting out of my new tub dilemma.
“LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THY SELF, BUT CHOOSE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD”. Louise Beal
I chose wisely,
Your neighbor in cyberspace,