Ok, so this talk of community got me thinking....
Let me introduce you to the neighbors I had when Diana was a baby. And like Dave Barry says, 'I swear I am not making this up.' We lived about 2 blocks down the hill from the college Mr. Lime and I attended. There was a long row of duplexes in close proximity to each other lining our side of the street. Our walls were paper thin. Our first wall sharing neighbors were a bunch of toothless rowdies with about 5 kids. The day we moved in they sat on the porch and watched us slackjawed as we carried our things into the house. The mother apologized for her youngest daughter's behavior in advance stating, 'She's bad cuz her daddy's an injun.' Isn't that a lovely way to introduce your child? I heard that refrain often enough along with the most vile language aimed at anyone who wandered in. After about the millionth time of the explanation, I suggested alternate theories of why the child was a bit of a handful. When they moved shortly thereafter I offered to help them carry boxes.
The neighbor on the otherside was Harry. He had grown up in an institution for epileptics and as a result he lacked a number of social skills. He was also hard of hearing and ALWAYS had a wad of tobacco fermenting in his mouth. You learned quickly to speak loudly enough for him to hear you because when he leaned in close and gave a loud, 'HUH???" the unique and pungent bouquet of a day old mouthful of chaw was staggering. He was a kind fellow though who just needed some attention.
On the other side of Harry were Jane and John and their 10 yr. old daughter Amanda. They were great neighbors who would do anything for you. Jane and Amanda liked watching Diana. John was a talented carpenter who collected guns and stockpiled military MREs. Any time we were planning a trip of more than an hour's drive he'd load us up on MREs 'just in case.' I think he genuinely enjoyed dehydrated food, bless his heart. One summer day that was ghastly hot he and Mr. Lime decided to line the back of John's pickup truck and fill it like a pool. The whole neighborhood thought we were bonkers when our two families sat in the 'pool' cooling off.
The next duplex down the street had a family in each side. One family had 2 young boys. We were all convinced the toddler was destined for the WWF or something. Every appliance had to be bolted down after the kid pulled down both the TV and the old fashioned heavyweight microwave. The other family made me cry. The mother was 23 and having her 4th child. Her oldest one was 8. The girl was mildly retarded but as sweet as the day is long and desperately in need of some love. The mother's husband hated this girl and there was no end to the verbal abuse that went on. I let the poor kid spend as much time at my house as her parents would permit just so she could get away and do something normal like bake cookies or play board games or be read to without having that awful man hounding her. She adored Diana and Diana adored her.
Across the street were two interesting houses. One was a halfway house for the state mental hospital. Most of the time the residents were quiet, some were friendly, others wanted to keep to themselves. Every now and then there was someone that definitely added spice. Next to that house was a mobile home which was inhabitted by a guy who drove a BMW. That irony just cracked me up. He was a character as evidenced by his favorite shirt...covered in small cartoon illustrations of skeletons in various sexual poses. Hahaha. Then again, I probably just envied his sense of fashion!
On one end of the street my favorite professor lived with her family. One the other end of the street were a couple of duplexes rented out to college students. The students always made things interresting. Once when I was conspicuously pregnant with Diana I was in the back of the house washing dishes (barefoot, pregnant AND in the kitchen , hahaha!). All of a sudden there was a strange dog in my kitchen, then a drunk guy, then another drunk guy, then Mr. Lime in hot pursuit. One of the drunks slurred, 'Hey man, where's the party?' I looked up, swung my belly around, and asked if it looked like we were having a party. They staggered out and down the street to the right house. After that we kept the front door locked on Friday and Saturday night.
So tell me, what was the most interesting neighborhood you ever lived in and who were your most interesting neighbors?