Who are the people in your neighborhood? Do you know your neighbors? For the most part I know my neighbors, I've lived on the same street for 17 years. Our street makes an effort to have a street party to catch up, meet the new peeps and share stories new and old. I love to talk to the neighbors who have been in the neighborhood since they were born. They tell tales of how the Elementary school has changed, and share their opinion on the huge growth that is occurring around us. I find out what new restaurant I should try, who I can visit to get fresh laid eggs, the latest baby-sitter's name or what shows I should be watching with my 2 teenagers.
Getting to know you neighbors has many benefits. You can borrow an egg or some cardamom (seriously, who knew that was an ingredient?). You have someone to watch your house while you are away at your kiddos soccer tournament in Beaumont for the weekend or check to make sure you closed the garage door, because you are already half way to Rockport with the family for the weekend and really do not want to have to turn around. Someone to turn off the sprinkler you left on in the backyard, but forgot about when you left for work. A friend who will go knock on your door and ask your kids to answer their cell phones and stop playing video games for 2.5 seconds, while you are out on a much needed date night. Yes, all of this has happened to me.
The Website Wise Bread has a great top 25 list of reasons you should know your neighbors better. I love # 5:
"So You Have Someone to Gossip With About All the Other Neighbors
In this case, it’s best to know the neighbor who has been on the block the longest; he or she will have the dirt on everybody."
It is true, it is better to know your neighbors. Someone said it is a lot harder to be mean to someone you know well. I agree. They keep an eye on you and your house. They notice if your mail is piling up, or if your water is still on an hour or so later than they saw it last. They bring your pet back when they get out of the backyard, and let you borrow that tool you do not want to buy because you are about 1000% sure you will never need to use that tool again after this home improvement project. They give your kids small jobs, giving them the opportunity to learn responsibility and the value of a dollar.
Recently I attended the Open House of the Owner of Waterloo Realty in Barton Hills. He had put a notice about the event in the current issue of the local Life in the Hills magazine. The neighbors poured in, and it was so wonderful to watch them introduce each other for the first time and share which house was theirs and how long they have lived in the hood. Seeing neighbors catch up and share their latest goings on with their children and schools and book clubs was fun to see. They were all very appreciative of the event. I heard one guest say, "life is so crazy sometimes, it takes 1 person to throw a party to get everyone together." The kids ran around outside, or inside swiping one more cookie. The adults shared a beer or glass of wine and enjoyed a break because their kiddos we entertained by the neighbors kids around them. Neighbors came and went and casually shared Sangria or cookies they just baked and wanted to share. It just takes one person to bring everyone together, will that person be you?
Pictures in top to bottom order: Jeff and Laura Embree and neighbors, Neighbors from 78704, and Amanda Koziel Development Director of Life in the Hills
By Lisa Boone, Waterloo Realty