I’ve lived in my current home for four years and I met my next door neighbor for the first time, TODAY. How is this possible??
I’ll start my saying that our neighbors on the other side, we met right away. We are close to them, we borrow each others tools, we get each others mail and newspapers when we’re on vacation… so how did my other neighbors get so neglected? I even know the folks across the street, and people three and four houses away from me, but not right next door.
I guess it stems from the fact that when you move into a new neighborhood, it’s not the 60s anymore, and people don’t bring you casseroles and pies, so unless you happen to be outside at the same time, or you make a true effort, you don’t really know who lives next door.
Now my new-found neighbors are quite elderly, so they aren’t outside doing yard work or playing with their kids, times in which you usually happen to meet others, but that’s still no excuse!
Today I was outside with my son and the neighbors’ dogs (sad that I knew the dogs’ names before I knew the neighbors’ names) came running out barking as they often do. Usually we just go on with our day and let them bark. But today, the Mrs. came out of the house and yelled at the dog, and my son (the little charmer that he is) waved to her and walked over to the fence. Of course it was a day that I had no make up on, didn’t do my hair, and was wearing ratty clothes, but I thought, oh well, it’s about time I know who’s living here.
She walked slowly over to the fence and introduced herself, as we did the same. Upon hearing my son’s name, Vincenzo, her eyes lit up! “Are you Italian,” she gasped.
“Yes, we are!”
Anne then told me she was full-blooded Italian and it was so nice to hear that we gave our son a traditional name. She shyly asked how long we’d lived here, and when I said four years, we both felt the redness of embarrassment flow across our face. How could we just be meeting now?
She proudly told me about her seven great-grandchildren and one on the way, and how they all lived close by. She was by far one of the sweetest people I’ve ever spoken to, and with each new thing we learned about each other, it felt like we were more connected than we could have ever thought.
I’m 30 years old, but I found talking to Anne more pleasant than talking to half the people I know that are my own age. She was so genuine and engaging. She didn’t rush me, she wasn’t looking at a phone, she seemed so interested in my life. She commented about five times how precious my son was, and how he will have to come over and play with her littlest great-grandson.
Our conversation was only ten minutes or so, but it made my day. She told me I was a great mom to work at home and spend as much time as I could with my son, and her positive energy gave me the boost I often need to know I made the right decision.
So in this world, that lately seems full of hate, crime, and sadness, sometimes you can find goodness and happiness just by walking next door.
I’ve added these neighbors to my Christmas Card list, and I look forward to many more talks by the fence with dear, sweet Anne.