We love our neighborhood. In November, we’ll have lived in the same house for 25 years, with many neighbors who’ve been here about the same amount of time. So, this month we’ve watched with sadness as three houses on the block have sold and friends have moved away. Their reasons to sell are not unusual: need for a bigger/smaller house, job opportunities in another city, and the deaths of elderly neighbors.
This time of year I feel the change in most everything we do socially. The season of grad parties began on Memorial Day, but continues on with celebrations until early August. The first of four weddings of the year occurred in early June and our last one, as far as we know, is in October. We’re the sandwich generation, between high school graduations and weddings, knowing that baby showers are soon heading our way. In between all of these events, we have our share of 50, 60, 70, and 80 year old birthday celebrations. We’re too old to be invited to the 21 and 30 year old parties. In between the celebrations, we take time to commemorate our neighbors and friends at funerals.
At each occasion I concentrate on the smiles. Exuberant smiles from the photo boards of the grads as babies and the slide shows at the weddings to the more knowing smiles of our elders as they watch the events unfold, I’m filled with joy, and just a touch of sadness. Those high school grads will be around the neighborhood a bit less this fall as they head off to their adult lives. The married couples move to new locations or already live farther away than they did as kids. The elder birthdays also signify a potential move, often closer to their children or a smaller house somewhere else.
A moving truck pulls onto our street as a new family arrives. Babies move onto the block, but they will so soon be the kids drawing chalk pictures and long, haphazardly numbered hopscotch games on the sidewalk. We’ll sit on our front porch and watch the parade, the march of time. With a glass of wine in hand on out porch perch, we talk to neighbors, kids, strangers, and friends who walk their dogs by our house.
We built the front porch a decade ago to watch, listen, and interact with our neighborhood. We call it our “cabin,” with the shortest of commutes. Front-facing porches, as opposed to back yard decks, began to make their re-appearance about then. We live in the city to connect with other people. The vibrancy of the interaction is why we live here.
Give me a place where I can walk to the best restaurants, grab a great cup of coffee and a baked delicacy, and chat with all sorts of people while I walk my dog, and I’ll be here for life!
We’ll greet the new folks moving in, give them the block list of names/addresses/phones/emails, and maybe Dan will bake them some scones. The change comes at us whether we seek it or just sit on the porch. Maybe all of this comes naturally to folks who live and love four seasons. Change is expected, exciting, what we crave.
Off to another grad party soon. Hope I have just one more graduation card to drop in the basket, which I’ll inscribe with congratulations and a promise that the changes they will experience are just beginning!
Welcome Jerde lives in Lynnhurst with her husband, Dan Berg, a dog, two cats, and occasionally, Hannah, a college student.