Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Please don’t laugh at my niavete or scorn my belief without basis. (The real word that should be inserted here is prejudice but I just couldn’t bring myself to say it.) We used to live in an historic neighborhood. Some renters. Some restoring old homes to their glamour of yesterday. A mixed neighborhood of  color and money. It’s what we wanted. We’re a mixed race family. We’re educated but chose professions that don’t bring in tons of money. We made the conscious decision to be where we were. And most of the time, we loved our neighborhood. But the school system wasn’t stellar. And my husband’s business was growing. And, frankly, I just didn’t feel safe anymore. I was tired of going to neighborhood watch meetings and talking about the latest gang markings. I was home alone with two infants and my daughter was starting high school – no longer to be homeschooled. We decided we wanted idyllic suburbia with people “just like us.” Ha!

We searched and searched. We thought that by living in a neighborhood where the homes were of a certain worth we’d fit in and feel comfortable with everyone. We looked high. We looked low (but not too low.) The higher we looked the more promising we felt the neighborhood would be. One woman (a neighbor) saw us looking at a home and she came over and introduced herself. She alerted us to another home down the street from her. The husband was being transferred to Singapore. “I want neighbors who are moving to Singapore!” I said to my husband. I felt that if you were willing to move to exotic locales you would be worldly, educated, open-minded and interesting. We looked in another neighborhood where the price point for the homes was wide. The only homes we could afford were in a section called The Commons. “Oh look, Honey,” my husband exclaimed, “We can be commoners!”

Ultimately, we chose a beautiful neighborhood with lots of amenities, homes priced close together so we’d be with like minds (ha! again), sidewalks, front and back porches, neighborhood activities and get-togethers. It’s also closer to a major city and a large Korean population which is what we wanted for our kids. Don’t get me wrong, we love it here. We’ve met some amazing people who are now close friends (Hi K and A!) but some of my neighbors are not what I bargained for. One neighbor gets caught up in gossip and helps to spread it like wildfire on Facebook. One neighbor gives my daughter the creeps with his leering and creepy comments  (don’t worry, we stay away). One neighbor bragged about cheating the bank/government/us by walking away from their mortgage. Another grabs a  few clubs and he and his kid sneak onto the golf course at the 5th hole at dusk without paying. So much for like minds. Another lesson learned.

I’ve called this place where we, the bloggers,  reside as Blog World. And a dear reader commented in a private note to me that I’d make a great neighbor. I thought, this is what I’ve created here for myself – a neighborhood! And I LOVE my neighbors here. And I like it that we all live here together. How cool is it that we get to pick and choose our neighbors? Our neighborhood here can be as homogenized or eclectic as we want it to be. In case you’re wondering, mine is pretty eclectic and I like it that way! I thought I might introduce you to some of my favorite neighbors! I won’t be able to get to all of them today so I’ve decided this is going to be a series of posts, hopefully without end because I seem to meet kind, creative, interesting, and amazing people every day. This neighborhood is as large as I want to make it and we’re all within walking distance of each other. How perfect is that?

Submom at Absence of Alternatives – This is the kind of neighbor when you go next door to borrow a cup of sugar, you start talking and talking so she invites you in. You keep talking. And talking. You finish your conversation. Go home and realize you didn’t get the cup of sugar. So you go back, laugh about the forgotten cup of sugar. It reminds her of this funny story so you start talking again. And talking. You go home and guess what? Yep. But it’s a great excuse to go next door again for more great conversation! When she moved in I found my new best friend!

Steve at The Planet Harris Blog – There is a pond in my neighborhood and he lives across it. (Smiling at my feeble little  joke) As you enter his home to the left is the library. To the right is the dining room but the table is covered with books and a laptop and has been turned into an office. You step into the family room and there are floor to ceiling bookshelves with a handy little ladder on wheels. His wife is baking biscuits. You can smell sweets baking and coffee and tea brewing. They are warm, welcoming people. The couches are comfy and there are always interesting people popping over for good conversation. I like it here!

TKW at The Kitchen Witch – She lives right next door, too. Which is a good thing because when I’m in a pinch and have NO idea what to bring to the neighborhood BBQ – she’s got the recipe. Snowed in with the kids for three days? She’s got the recipe. Husband home sick and whiny and you just want him to shut up  get a good night’s rest? She’s got the recipe. But better than her recipes are the stories behind them. She’s the best kind of neighbor because she doesn’t judge, she laughs at herself and she’d look out for your kids like they’re her own.

I have two neighbors (they live in the bungalows just up the street, downsizing since the kids have moved away) that I go to for advice, Robin at Passions and Soapboxes and Mary Lee at MerrilyMaryLee’s Weblog. They’re wise and they’re hip. They’re sweet and they’re funny. But they’ve been there, done that with child rearing. They’ve lived it and they’re willing to share what works and what doesn’t. And they’re living a life right now that is packed with fun and interesting adventures.

Five houses in my neighborhood. I’ll tell you about more of them another time. But to all of you out there – thanks for living in MY neighborhood. Thank you for allowing me to live in yours. I never realized how attached I would become to my bloggy friends. What started out as a little experiment grew into something I never imagined. I’m glad I live here!

(P.S. Don’t forget about our get together Friday, November 13th. Collect the craziest search terms for your blog and we’ll all share them on Friday. You can write them in the comment section or blog about it – but don’t forget to link/comment here so we can all see them! See you Friday!)

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23 Comments

Filed under Lessons Learned, People

23 responses to “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

  1. TheLocalsLoveIt

    Sometimes I think it’s just crazy that my “friends” are people that I’ve never actually met. I look forward to catching up with these people and feel closer to more of than that my actual face time friends. It’s wonderful!

  2. Aww, thank you for the shout out (and for linking posts less upsetting than today’s!).

    I agree with you–the Blog World has blown me over with the variety of educated, funny, open-minded, kind individuals out there. I’ve gotten attached to many of them–quickly! You included.

    I’m glad you can choose your neighborhood in the Blog World; I know all to well how hard it is when a neighborhood just doesn’t suit you. I felt like that about our old one; hardly any kids, mostly elderly/older residents, very judgemental.

    And having a mixed-race family myself, I know the feeling…you want a mix of people, a mix of opinions, a mix of funky quirks, and a ton of open minds.

    I can’t wait to check out the other “neighbors” and look forward to meeting more of them!

  3. Steven Harris

    What a great neighbourhood! Our house is not quite as you’ve pictured it, but your image of it is very much how we want it to become over time. Not so many visitors these days. Apart from our cyber neighbours of course. 😀

  4. LisaF

    It just goes to show that you can’t assume anything by the address of a neighborhood. “Low life” neighbors are everywhere! Some sins are just more acceptable in our culture than others. Too bad.

    Compared to the rest of you, I’m the newbie on the blog block, but hope to be moved in and established one day soon!

  5. Aww Jane I am truly touched. I am overjoyed you want me to be your neighbor, but did you have to put me in a bungalow, ha ha!

    • It’s MY neighborhood and we can move you to the home of your choice! There is a beautiful 2 story across the street that is available with a porch swing in the front and beautiful garden in the back. Or, there’s the McMansion down the street with a stone fireplace and library. Take your pick!

  6. Oh, I love your neighborhood analogy! What a cool way to think of it.

  7. You are such a sweetheart! I had several commenters today who said they “came over from Jane’s” which is a perfectly lovely way to say it.

    I’m delighted to be in your neighborhood. You’re the kind of neighbor who can drop in anytime and will ignore my disarray. (But my new grout job looks great! )

    Like you, I have found some wonderful blogging friends. . . and you’re one of them. Amazing world, huh?

  8. You’re so right; I feel like I have this great new world. So happy you’re a part of it!
    Can’t wait to go “meet” some of your neighbors!

  9. You could tell that it took me a long time to leave a comment on this one. I have been agonizing over what to say to such an endorsement without appearing all fake-y or being my usual class clown persona. It took me the whole night, and I came to this: “Jane. The feeling is mutual. But I love you MORE. So I win!” Ok. I will shut up now. If anyone can believe me whenever I say that… You made me cry…I just want to make sure, are you sure Mr. Jane will be ok with this? Have you told him you found out what 420 means?! Actually, honestly? “Thank you. I don’t deserve this.”

    • You crack me up! And you sound just like my sister. So I’m going to say to you what she says to me, “I love you the morest!” And wouldn’t you know it, my pure little mind had to look up 420 AGAIN because I’d forgotten what it meant. You’re corrupting me all over again…and I love you for it!

  10. I am a dork. I am back leaving another comment: I saw this on Read Write Web and I thought, “Jane would get a kick out of this!” – Survey shows Bloggers make better neighbors.

    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/good_bloggers_make_good_neighbors_new_survey_shows.php

    Also I figure out what you are: you are both Maven and Connector, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s theory in Tipping Point.

    Ok. I will stop haunting your blog now.

  11. LisaF

    Robin’s on notice: I want the porch swing.

  12. Jane, I really liked this blog post. I stopped and thought about my own neighborhood. I am not sure it was what we bargained for either.
    I am a real newbie at blogging but, I have to tell you it has opened up a whole new world. I am learning so much from bloggers just like you. Now, I belong to a new and different neighborhood 🙂 I hope you will consider being one of my neighbors!

  13. Honestly, how cute are you? This is such a fun concept. It’s crazy how close you grow to all the bloggers and wish for the perfect community to live all together.

  14. Pingback: Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Part II « Theycallmejane's Blog

  15. Pingback: Trading Spaces With One Of My Neighbors « Theycallmejane's Blog

  16. Pingback: Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Part III « Theycallmejane's Blog

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