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Most people will wander through life noticing those around them, maybe smiling, and just carry on their way feeling no different. The bold will strike up a conversation with those whom they encounter, and possibly start toward a lifelong friendship. And so it goes with my blog.

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A Part of the Neighborhood

Posted 12-12-2011 at 12:35 AM by DrivinMyHome

When we moved into our TT, one of my 'musts' was to keep all of the tools that I might need. I pared down my tool set quite a bit, getting rid of the duplicates, with the hopes that I would be able to do anything in the trailer that I was able to do at the house. This idea got put to the test in our first month when the infamous 'Chevy lower intake-manifold gasket' sprung a leak in the Suburban. I was able to perform all of the work with my tool bag, and without a manual (I have a Haynes manual but it was packed up and I couldn't find it!!).

Today, while I was underneath the Suburban replacing the shocks I had one of the twins helping me as only one's kid can ("hand me that wrench", "watch close, you'll be doing this to your car someday", "ewww, daddy. why is your arm so greasy?"). As I was working on loosening a bolt, I heard a voice: "If you need any tools, let me know." I tossed out a "thanks" and continued to wrench, thinking that it was the neighbor across the street. I knew I didn't need any additional tools, but appreciated the offer. Then, my daughter leaned to the side and asked "Who was that?" Turns out, it was the next-door neighbor. That made me think about our old neighborhood.

At the townhouse we lived at prior to moving into our trailer, there were 12 units within the immediate area. We became 'friendly' with three of them. Most of the neighbors were busy with their lives, wrapped up in work and other social arrangements that didn't allow them the time or energy to make nice with the neighbors. Occasionally, we would host a barbecue, but only one family would consistently show up. This was the only one that we considered friends. The rest were just our neighbors.

The housing market bust took quite a few of our neighbors with it. Many of the neighbors left because of foreclosure. When we left in June 2011, about half of the units were occupied, some by renters. There were only two of the 'friendlies' left in the neighborhood. Shortly after we left, our friends left as well. Now, only one of the neighbors we talked to is still there. I know this because I have driven by a few times when I was in the area. I don't have their contact info, since we were just 'cordial neighbors'. We don't have much else in common.

This is one of my faults: It's not that I am anti-social, I just haven't found anyone with the same interests as myself. Most of the people that I have met in my age group are single and still go to bars, or married (sometimes with kids) and yet still into the bar scene. That's just not MY kind of 'social'. I would rather hang out at home (or a quiet restaurant, or someone else's home) and reminisce or shoot the breeze, or get out into the wilderness and enjoy some of Mother Nature's offerings.

Back in the trailer park: We met two of our three immediate neighbors the day we parked the TT. The third I met a few days later. Within a week, we had met (and made nice with) ALL of our immediate neighbors. One has offered to take our family out on a local lake in his boat. His wife has given us freezer pops and carving pumpkins for the kids. The neighbor across the street is my age. He lives with his dad and teen-aged son in a TT similar to ours. He likes to sit and chat on the weekends or late afternoons. He also likes that I pawn all of my excess things (yes, we're still in the purge phase) on him. The neighbor who offered me his tools lives with his wife and granddaughter. He works odd hours so we don't see too much of him, but he is quite friendly and has offered help in the past.

These 'new' neighbors of mine are what I was expecting when I bought our townhouse: caring, friendly, helpful. I hope to join them in welcoming the next new person/family into this park and letting them know that, though we don't have everything in common, we can all be good neighbors. After all, in this park, I finally feel as though I am part of the neighborhood.
Posted in History, Family, Social
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  1. Old Comment
    RedneckExpress's Avatar
    This is something that I've observed a few times over the years, though I don't know my neighbors as well as you do yours at that park (Most of the folks at the park I live at keep odd hours and tend to spend most of their time inside vs outside, I know the manager better than some of my other neighbors, I still only know a few by name).
    Posted 12-12-2011 at 05:45 PM by RedneckExpress RedneckExpress is offline
  2. Old Comment
    DrivinMyHome's Avatar
    I just find it to be an odd comment on our society today that young homeowners don't communicate well but the aged (like a fine wine) travelers we've met are quite social and caring. Maybe it says more about our old neighborhood!?!
    Posted 12-13-2011 at 05:02 PM by DrivinMyHome DrivinMyHome is offline
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