Neighborhoods are not what they used to be. Some people don’t even know who lives next door to them let alone have a friendly association with them. I like to think that my neighborhood is not that way.
I grew up in the same area that I have raised my family in and luckily I know most of the neighbors. I have a relationship with the patriarchs and matriarchs of Rural Route 4 now known as Rudder Road and Blue River Church Road.
My dad built the house that I spent my entire single life living in. He built the house among family, my Uncle Gary and his family, and the people that would become life-long friends, the Briscoe family, the Payne family, the Nantz family, the Brown family and the Cranes. Also the Purkhiser family who although they did not live on the same road, they farmed the land all around us.
As the years passed some of the neighbors became heavenly neighbors as spouses and children have passed away but I have some memories of all of them.
The ironic thing about good ole RR #4 is that Duane has roots there also. His grandparents own a farm on what is now Blue River Church Road and he spent a lot of time there when he was growing up. And he has memories of a different bunch of neighbors; Herman and Olive Humphrey, Mrs. Trueblood and the Day clan that owned adjoining farmland.
When Duane and I got married we lived in three different houses, in three separate neighborhoods. Then when I was pregnant with Bailey, we decided we needed a bigger house. We both longed for the country so we started looking, not necessarily back to our RR4 roots but luckily that is where we landed.
The neighborhood sprouted new houses and new neighbors around the original homeowners. Our house was built on what was a cornfield during our youth and not only did our house rise from this farmland but so did five or so other homes. Unlike yesteryear, most people don’t live in their homes for a lifetime so some neighbors have come and gone but the initial few have remained.
I feel lucky to have good neighbors. Not only have they helped me by gathering a few friends and insisting that they are going to power wash my house and deck because I have enough on my plate and this is something they can do for me and my family, they make food and bring it to the house when they see a need. Actually I’m not lucky, I’m blessed.
The meaning of being neighborly, however, has changed for most people since many people who live next to one another don’t actually know each other. For one reason or another, we have drifted away from the social aspect of a neighborhood. We don’t know how to help one another because we don’t know each other. The time spent outside sitting on the porch where you might catch another neighbor walking by and strike up a conversation is gone.
People are far too busy for this seemingly casual way of living but maybe it should be rethought. The “busy” people live lives that are stressful, complete with high blood pressure and general unhealthiness. Maybe if we slowed down just a bit we could enjoy life again, enjoy an afternoon of leisure, perhaps even striking up a conversation with those people who live around us, or take a walk stopping to say “hi” to those we see but do not take the time to get to know.