Thursday, January 22, 2009

The village we all live in.

Angela, from Letters from Usedom, talked about knowing her neighbors, feeling connected. The Obamas talked about becoming residents of Washington D.C. Most people fit into their neighborhood easily enough.

When we think about it, we move into a new neighborhood, and we take our cue from the neighbors. If they come over and invite us to their homes, we might feel immediately accepted by that gesture. In turn, we recipricate and soon we know everybody. It sounds easy enough.

In most communities, however, people are so busy that they don't know their neighbors. And if they get in their cars before dawn and return after sunset, nobody knows anybody. That was the case for many of us when we worked and juggled all our roles, afraid that if we put one more obligation on the list, everything would come crashing down.

We knew our neighbors only casually, waving at each other as we picked up our papers in the wee hours of the morning, coffee in hand, too rushed to stop and ask who and what and why. When the Northrigde earthquake kicked us out of our homes on the morning of January 24 in 1994,in bare feet and pajamas, we saw others in the same condition. We asked about people who had not exited their homes. Could they be trapped? Should we knock and see? Children felt much more at ease knocking and inquiring at strangers' doors and climbing fences to extricate dogs that had been trapped.

We met people who had just moved in; the old couple that had sold them the house had moved to Oregon. They had lived in the same house for thirty years. It was the first time many of us knew who lived where. This was Southern California, the San Fernando Valley. Our gardeners and maids knew the neighbors better than we did.

We needed a calamity to bring us together.

In my new state of retirement, I have to remind myself of those lessons.


Lori ann said...

Hi Lakeviewer! i am over on Angelas recommendation and of course she was so right! I LOVE what you had to say in Speak Out. I think this should be printed on the front page of every newspaper in America.The world. And about neighbors, you are so right there too. I am guilty myself. Although I do know mine, I don't spend much time with them, getting to know them better. But I think that will change when I can retire someday. When I was a young mother and stayed at home raising my babies I was lucky to have not one but two sets of retirees(neighbors) that loved being surrogate grandparents. We were all very lucky back then i think!
take good care!
xx lori

Renee said...

I am really happy that you stopped by to see my post because now I get to come and visit you.

I really enjoyed this post because it reminds me to look at my neighbours, not just creep into the car hoping that they don't see me and ask how I'm feeling.

When I was first diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer, the neighbours across from me and beside me put together a wonderful basket of goodies and even though I appreciated it, I didn't want to receive it. I wanted to be the person giving it. Talk about ungrateful ehhh?



Jillian said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!

I enjoyed this post. My husband and I have lived in the same neighborhood for five years but didn't know any of our neighbors. We knew some by sight, of course, but not to talk to or have over for drinks or anything like that. Then last month, Spokane was hit with record snowfall that crippled the city. We got over four feet, altogether. For three days, no one could go anywhere; even the busses didn't run. But people came out of their houses and started shovelling; they helped each other shovel, lent and borrowed tools, shared food and drink. It was really wonderful. We made friends with three new people who live on our block, one of whom is already becoming a valued close friend. It is amazing how these things bring people together!

meggie said...

Sadly, that is very true. It does take calamity to bring people together, but it is good to think they can rally together when needed. Now we are retired we have got to know our neighbours much better, & keep an eye out for each other. Some of our elederly neighbours have died, which serves to remind us of our mortality!

Crystal said...

Hi, Lakeviewer! Thank you for visiting my blog! How did you find me? I always am amazed at the way we bloggers find our way around blogland.

You are an excellent writer! I like your thoughts about the new president. I was excited to watch many of Tuesday's happenings and catch some of the excitement. I loved your letter to him about education - so, so true. I've added you to my bookmarks so I'll be sure to visit again soon.

You asked how I got started in blogging. Our daughter and her husband moved to Taiwan to teach for a year and they began a blog so we could all see what they were doing. One thing led to another and now I'm a flag waving blogger :)) It is so much fun, so inspiring and so encouraging to have friends around the world who share interests, creativity and their own unique perspectives.

I hope there are no storms coming your way these days. We had big winds and cold temperatures today - winter is back, with a vengeance! Have a great weekend!

Crystal said...

Me again! You asked about tips for non-crafty people like you :) If you are interested in scrapbooking, you are already half way there with your detailed and interesting journaling! It's all about the stories and the memories that pictures capture so you could easily do it. I first started because I love paper (the school teacher in me!) and photographs and now the creating and preserving memories are my relaxation and my therapy!! Using a few design and art principles can really help to make the pages look beautiful and unique. I hope you consider trying it!

I've long been a sewer but while working full time it went into storage. I'm happy to say that I've picked it up again. What are your hobbies - besides writing?!

Crystal said...

I just tagged you! Come by my blog and see what it's all about :)

lakeviewer said...

Lori ann,
Thanks for visiting and providing us with so many beautiful thoughts and images on your site

Your recipe for Little Red was simply too clever to pass up. Thanks for stopping by.

You're well on the way to having a true village feeling in your neighborhood. Thanks for stopping by.

You've been quite an inspiration yourself, you know. Your stories about the child in the grocery store eating junk food is a universal marker of the parenting in these times. That's another reason retirees must speak out and help out. Wouldn't it be lovely to have a corner in the store where children could meet impressive characters that taught them about the power of CARRots?

You might just be the one person to teach me scrapbooking. Thanks for the encouragement, and the instant neighborliness.