Who are the people on your street? Do you know what life they live? I have lived on the same street for most of my life but barely know my neighbors, most of them anyway. In the small one level home on the corner is an elderly woman. Growing up she was not the kindest woman. She barely said hello. Rumor had it she did not like young children. I recall her husband being equally distant. He was always outside watering his sidewalk of all things. He died of a massive heart attack and the woman was left alone. After his death she would acknowledge me as she passed taking her dog for a walk. First a small smile, then a soft hello. The dog seemed to keep her company but he died too. The small smiles turned to wide grins and the soft hellos became loud hollers. “Hello, come talk to me she would say.” Surprised but intrigued I did. It turned out she was a nice lady but she was lonely. She faced hardships in life. She lost a young daughter years before I was born. I understood a little better why she wasn’t nice to children. Perhaps they reminded her of the little girl her daughter never became. Often she would invite me over for a chat. Occasionally I would go but having three children takes up a lot of my time. Late at night when the street is dark I think of her and how lonesome she must be. Diagonal from my home is a cute ranch style home. The home was built long ago and the man who built it still lives there with his wife. He is in his late seventies possibly early eighties but still full of life. He can always be seen on the front lawn planting flowers or tidying up his quaint yard. He loves my son’s curls and always asks if he can cut some of his hair. I admire his work ethic and find his smile endearing. Directly across the street from me is another elderly couple. The husband jogged around the neighborhood for years until his age took away his stamina. They were the only ones on our street to have an in ground pool. The wife used to be active in our church and would throw pool parties for the youth group. I always had a blast at her house. Still I really never knew her. Last year an ambulance pulled in front of our house. When I looked out to see what was happening I saw them take her away on a stretcher. She had a stroke. Now instead of jogging her husband walks arm and arm with her around the block, so she can get her exercise. A few houses up the street are a young couple. They recently had a baby girl. They are friendly. I have had some quick conversations with the husband who is usually the one I see outside. I know he loves the Yankees and works down the road. He is a loveable guy who seems to adore his wife and was very excited to become a father. Another young married couple moved next door to them. They don’t come off as friendly. They may be the type that likes to keep to their selves. Actually, I have never seen the wife only the husband. He is a tall dark haired man with intimidating eyes. He did help the elderly woman this past winter per my request. Her driveway was snowed in up to her back porch. She yelled over to me and begged for help. I noticed him plowing his sidewalk and ran up and asked if he could assist her. I got the feeling he was annoyed but he did it anyway. There is a hippie dude at the end of the street. I bet he is a fun guy. He drives a white Volkswagen Beetle. His front yard is filled with wildflowers and his window treatments are Mexican blankets. Across from him is a recently divorced woman who has three Newfoundland’s. Don’t ask me how but she manages to walk all three of them at the same time. They are all people who I’m sure have depth. Their lives may be completely different from mine or more similiar than I know. I live in a surface neighborhood. Our knowledge of each other is equivalent to small talk. You throw something out there, “a hello or a how’s the baby?” Maybe a “How are you feeling?” but nothing more. They don’t know me and I don’t know them. It’s funny how you can live right next door to someone but be so far away. A song comes to mind as I write this. A song I heard repeatedly in my childhood years. Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? It was a song from Sesame Street. The lyrics summed it up. They are the people that you meet when you are walking down the street the people that you meet each day. But we were never told who those people really were. Sure we knew their occupations-a postman, a fireman just like I know a hippie, newlyweds, an older woman, and two married couples. I know their titles, their surfaces, but I have no idea who they are.  And I probably never will.

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