Just like family members, we don’t necessarily get to choose our neighbors. Things may look good when we move into the apartment or buy the house, but Americans like to move. So the neighborhood may not look like the same place five years from now.
Jim Brawner and I lived in some interesting places before information could be Googled up. We moved into brand new government housing right after we got married and quickly realized just because it was brand new didn’t change the fact it was government housing. The construction quality was not the finest.
Our bathroom medicine cabinet sat directly against the back of the medicine cabinet next door. There was no sheet rock or insulation between the two so we learned more about our neighbors than we really wanted to know.
Several years later we moved into a neighborhood just being developed. We were the first house on our street, so choosing neighbors wasn’t an issue. We watched a lot happen in the seven years we lived there. Things were stolen out of our garage, the man across the street set his house on fire for insurance money and another guy two doors down was sent to prison for killing his wife. Ironically a state trooper bought our house when we moved.
One time when I finally met a next door neighbor I apologized for not having baked something and officially welcomed her to the neighborhood. She said, “Oh get over it. We are about to head into a new century. No one does that any more.” I never talked to her much.
Neighbors can be wonderful or unfortunate. We all want people who are quick to lend a cup of sugar or an egg or two, but keep advice to themselves unless it’s asked for. We want someone who is willing to give us a hand when we need it, but won’t gossip. And someone who won’t kill their spouse or burn down their house.