Wednesday, October 05, 2005

My Old Neighborhood

Morning fog in Sherwood Forest our old Mississippi neighborhood. Posted by Picasa
Won't You Be My Neighbor
It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Won't you please,
Won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?

~ by Fred Rogers
Nyssa and I lived in this Tudor house, in a neighborhood called Sherwood Forest for fifteen years. This was a fluid neighborhood in many ways; Columbus Air Force Base was north of town and many Air Force families bought homes here. It was also stable. I know of at least eight families on our street who lived there when we moved in and were still there when we left in 2004.

This was a wonderful neighborhood to raise a child. There were lots of kids, of all ages; the streets were quiet, traffic was light. Block parties, neighborhood garage sales, Easter egg hunts, mass Girl Scout cookie sales and hoards of costumed kids at Halloween; this was Sherwood Forest. It was a safe place; a place you could forget to lock your front door and not live to regret it.

Within the larger neighborhood there was our small corner of the world, our core of neighbors. The Dennards lived to the left of us and the Thorntons to the right with the Ferrars next to them. Across the street were the Wells. We ate Thanksgiving dinner with the Thorntons, Nyssa almost lived at the Dennards, Jo Ferrar was my Sunday School teacher and D. Wells was and still is a wonderful counselor, clown (literally, painted face and all) and friend. We went out to eat together, celebrated birthdays together, went out of town to see "Phantom of the Opera" together and helped each other. We fed pets, kept kids overnight, gathered newspapers and mail; we had keys to each others homes in case of emergency. In an emergency, we could call on each other day or night.

Yes, this core of the neighborhood seemed invincible, but change is inevitable. The Thorntons moved to South Carolina and though we were friendly with the folks who moved in, it was never the same. The Dennards split after he lost his job; she and the daughter went to Texas on spring break and never came back. He drank more and more and the house was silent and sad. It finally sold and the young couple who moved in had a baby and kept to themselves. Finally with my job gone and after Nyssa graduated from high school we left. But even with the changes I know the neighborhood goes on; new families move in, new babies are born, new generations of kids learn to ride bicycles on the streets and play with friends in the back yards, block parties and backyard barbecues continue.

As long as there are families the neighborhood lives.

Submission for Lens Day topic "neighborhood".

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