A Shrinking Neighborhood


The familiar pull of my old neighborhood is always present. I’m also able to traipse around it whenever I choose. I drive down that winding street that prompted pretty much every pizza delivery guy to get lost throughout my childhood due to the North, South, East, and West versions of our street name.

I pull into the drive and it looks pretty much the same. When I get out of the car, the houses are all pretty much the same. It’s the inhabitants that are constantly changing these days.

I remember George and Doris directly to the North. My frustration at his zest for leaf blowing his roof every single morning at 7 am is not nearly at the surface any longer.

I remember Mary and Bob directly to the South. I used to go into their kitchen and help her count her change. We share a driveway with their house.

I remember the crew of Richards from across the street. Too many to name. My brother’s childhood friend lived there. Replaced with the little AnnMarie who provided my first baby-sitting gig.

I remember Valerie three houses down. My childhood best friend. They moved away.

I remember the older couple four houses down. I don’t remember their names. I remember his tall lanky frame walking hand in hand with her shorter lanky frame, day after day.

There have been a few  other holdouts like my mom.  Donna in one house and her son in the one next door.

And Irene.

Irene the Avon Lady. With a wit sharper than most and a mouth to match.

Irene, the mom and grandma. With the know it all knowledge that only a mother and grandma could have.

Irene, the friend. With a heart as big as could be.

She was a trusted doggy foster momma. She was a play going partner. She was a hang out in front of the house during the evenings, like a good ol’ days friend.

The doggy needs a stand in foster. The front row at the next play will have an empty seat. And the fronts of houses will be a lot emptier.

The neighborhood as we knew it is changing. But memories will linger and personalities as big as Irene’s will stay behind.

As long as there are hold outs to hold on.

13 thoughts on “A Shrinking Neighborhood

  1. I get this so completely. Whenever I am in the old neighborhood, I cannot help but to drive down our street, slowing in front of the house to take in the changes. It hard to see but I cannot stop myself. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think anyone can relate to this piece. Your opening line drew me in right away. I literally feel that pull when I am near my old neighborhood. I love the way you write about the past. Looking forward to reading your slices this month 🙂

  3. Love this trip around your neighborhood. I remember some of those neighbors around mine growing up. We too had an Avon lady! You gave me a big smile today!

  4. Oh Irene! Did she pass away? I feel a pit in my stomach that says she did. As you were giving us this “tour” of your old neighborhood I was visiting the neighborhood my grandmother lived in when I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to write about that, but wasn’t sure how. You’ve given me some thoughts………Thanks!!

  5. I absolutely love that Irene inspired this beautiful slice. What an honor, both for her, and for all of us who get to know a little something about how special she was. Lovely, and touching.

  6. My husband and I have been having discussions about our changing neighborhood. Our home will be 19 years old in July; it was the third house in our subdivision. Watching the changes and reading your memories remind me that a neighborhood, like humans, goes through stages: infancy, childhood, teen years, etc. We naturally wax nostalgic for the significant moments in our homes, our neighborhoods.

  7. As I was reading your slice, I was picturing my old neighborhood which I still visit and all the wonderful people I remember, the names may be different but the memories are similar.

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