How can I describe the comradery the women of this neighborhood had? Our neighborhood was a throw back to life on a "Ozzie and Harriet" or "Leave it to Beaver" sitcom. I fell into welcoming arms of women, like me, these stay at home moms, with two plus kids in our postage stamp size homes and yards.
Within days of settling in our home our two daughters had friends. Girl friends, boy friends, friends younger and friends older, they all played together. The street was their street and we were outnumbered multiple times by all the children in that neighborhood. The first day of school soon would start and my daughter K. would have friends in Kindergarten. Every child on the street talked with the adults as though we were just an extension of children their own age. This was the first time that I was referred to as Mrs. F. and I have to say it made me feel a bit old, as well as it sounded odd and yet was very respectful.
This was a neighborhood where we could leave our doors unlocked during the day without any concern. Open to children who knocked on your door or called out through the screen door "Can K. and E. play?". Little Aja and Praire, who lived two doors down didn't even bother to knock, they just walked in to see what we were up to. That day they walked into my bathroom while E. and I bathed in the tub together (much easier to bath a two year old together when your pregnant instead of leaning over a tub with a big belly) where I was surprised and shocked but they didn't skip a beat of chatting away to me. I thought in the future I might lock the bathroom door when I am in there instead of being caught off guard.
The day our daughter M. was born was a school day and I managed to give birth before school was let out. The Indian summer day was so hot our french doors were wide open in an attempt to cool me down. I am sure amongst my new found friends that they were able to keep up with my labor progress by all the sounds I was making that drifted outside. By the time the kids had walked down the street past our house and begun playing outside, our new family of five was getting to know our new daughter with glasses of wine, apple juice, and cheese and crackers.
With any neighborhood the children came up with their own stories of who lives in what house. Next door to us lived a widow who very rarely came outside. Even I began to wonder about her via the stories the kids would tell. She seemed to be in the "scary house" on our street even though the house was tidy and neat. The week after M. was born a lovely baby gift came and I met this very sweet lady for the first time. Thereafter my girls never thought of her in any other way but a sweet old lady and would wave to her and smile.
On the other side of our house lived a family with one teenage daughter. They kept to themselves with their windows always covered. I am in question of homes with windows covered all day and night Reminds me a bit of "Boo Radley" in "To Kill a Mockingbird". My Love had met them and reported back to me that the husband was a photographer. We didn't see or hear from them much but the wife had plastic surgery on her nose and she wouldn't come out till it was healed. This seemed to go on for a long time so either she wasn't happy with the surgery or she was self conscious. We kind of felt they were oddballs only because they didn't seem to enjoy hanging outside like the rest of us but they were harmless. We even had their daughter babysit on occasion.
Aja and Praire lived on the other side of the Photographer's one house up. They went to a private school and were the smartest two girls. They talked about such intelligent subjects and knew much more than I did. Or maybe it was just the way they spoke.
Across the street lived Linda and her family. She had three kids, Kenny being the oldest, Lisa who was K.'s age and Julie who was E.'s age. They were a busy family with Kenney playing basketball and baseball. I can still be reminded of hearing his basketball bouncing to this day on their driveway. His friends would ride over on their bikes, tossing them on the lawn while they played outside. Their children all when to the Catholic school in town while K. went to the public school nearby.
Around the corner lived a little boy Arin who was K.'s age. He was a sweet little guy and had a younger sister. His grandmother from Iran had come to live with the family and spoke not a word of English. She insisted on making them soup that at first they refused to eat but like all good children they started to enjoy the home cooked Persian food she made and voila, life with a Grandmother they had not known became quite normal. I know their mom was secretly delighted to have help on cooking and watching the kids as well.
Up the street lived a boy near Kenny's age named Ross. He always wore shorts whether it was cold or hot. Quite the friendly guy who often would knock on the door and ask if he could take M. for a stroll in her stroller. We would let him as long as he stayed near our house.
I had a girl friend Debbie, who was the opposite direction down our street who had been neighbors with us years before. I was really excited to be near her again though she seemed to have moved on with a different group of friends, and while she was nice she didn't seem to want to get chummy like the other moms. So though I did see her on occasion we never really renewed our friendship like I had hoped. Sometimes that just happens.
Another family with two boys lived a few homes up from Debbie. I had meet her through Debbie once, but saw more of her through the new girl friends I met. Theier block of kids seemed to stick more to themselves than come up our way or our kids go their way. Kids seem to have their own set of unspoken rules and I wonder if that was one of them.
Janice who I had met at the garage sale we had, lived on the street directly behind Linda. They shared a gate that could be opened to go back and forth and often I wish I could live on their side of the street and have a pass through gate too. Janice had a daughter Julia that was K.'s age and two boys Michael and Matthew who were younger. K. and her Julia loved to play Barbies at our house and Julia seemed to really like our dogs Tess and Heidi.
A couple of houses down from Janice lived Paula. She had a daughter Becky who was K.'s age and twin daughter's that were older than our daughter E. Becky had the longest, most amazing blonde hair that came easily past her tush. I wondered how long it took to wash and dry and how hard it was to comb out. I was a wishing my hair could grow that long as my style was a longer version of Princess Diana.
There were only five ways into our neighborhood of four streets that ran parallel with each other and four short side streets. It wasn't a large neighborhood which is why it was ideal for families. We were close to a shopping center that had a grocery store, a bakery, a donut shop, and beauty salon which was important for us moms. At the end of the street there at first was a meat market that turned into a produce market that was a real treat in comparison to the grocery store. I could take our little red wagon and go farther to the local garden center.
Once my busy days of taking care of a newborn, and taking E. to preschool two mornings a week, and getting K. to and from Kindergarten I was at last able to get to know the neighbor women and find that to my hearts relief, I had many I could talk to for advice and support than I had ever had before.
With that the beginning of the Bon Bon Club for me began.....