Sunday, April 27, 2008


Prior to moving here in August 2007, I had not lived in a typical American suburban neighborhood since 1972. Mostly I lived in apartments or somewhat rural areas. I'd never had anyone living across the street, and only for a short time had someone living next door. At my last house, there was only one house in close view, and it was vacant.

So I did not know how to be an adult in a neighborhood. I didn't know what to expect as far as interacting with neighbors.

Our next-door and across-the-street neighbors here are elderly widows. All of them came to this neighborhood as young brides over 50 years ago. Imagine that! Living in the same house for 50 years! I will never experience that. They are all very nice and kind; they brought us cookies and cakes when we moved in; they talk nicely to my kids and all are very interested (in a positive way) in homeschooling.

One change that comes with living in a neighborhood is the expectation of a nice front yard. In Oregon we did not have to have a nice front yard, and we didn't. We had a large-ish piece of property and it was weedy and messy and sometimes I hated that and sometimes I loved it. When we came here, a yard service was doing the mowing but we are living on a student's salary and could not afford $40 a week for 20 minutes of mowing. Actually, we couldn't justify it even if we could afford it, particularly since we own a lawnmower.

The neighbor who is in contact with us the most has a nice way of hinting when it's time for us to mow the lawn. My husband has figured out that within a day, or maybe just hours, of the lawn service coming to do her lawn, she thinks ours should be done. She is very diplomatic about it; her hints are subtle and never rude. But, we know when it's time to mow, and weed, and trim. She always pays a compliment when the work is done. You know, just like we praise our dog when he does something we want him to do: it strengthens the possibility that the good behavior will be repeated.

We are getting used to living in our neighborhood. So far, so good.

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