Monday, January 15, 2007

The Old Neighborhood

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?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those are some interesting neighbors!! I like the pickup truck swimming pool idea. Hey, I think it shows creativity to come up with that idea and on a really hot day any pool of cool water is good. Hm, wonder if I can use the trunk of my Saturn this summer?

I have had some interesting neighbors. I will have to think of stories...and come back later to leave another comment.I have maintenance dudes in the apartment right now.

Anonymous said...

We was neighbors?
The house that I live in now, was orininaly part of a 6 acre plot of land owned by my father-in-law.
He had a small 2 bedroom house on the far end of the property. When we got married he deeded a 100 by 440 section of land to us that we eventually built a house on. In between he later deeded a hunk of land to my wifes brother, who eventually built a house on. Then across the street my wifes uncle owned a chunk of land that he later built a house on. So at one time there was my wifes dad's house, then my brother-in-law, then us, then across the street my uncle...It was like the Kennedy compound! My father-in-law has since died, but the house is still in the family. All one big happy family..

Anonymous said...

I had a neighbour who was a drag performer, a big beefy guy who would insist on practicing in full regalia in his front room with the curtains and windows open...the kicker was he was awful.

Here in Brazil I once lived next door to a fugitive from a murder case in another state, who spent his days shitting bricks behind his front door.

Anonymous said...

Now THAT's a neighborhood! Wonderful post as usual, Lime. I've got some neighbor stories too... I'll save them for when I can sit and do a decent post.
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I found your site on my bloghopping travels yesterday and mentioned you on my blog . . come see :)

BTExpress said...

The bright side though was there was never a dull moment, right?

Anonymous said...

I did enjoy your site muchly - thanks for the visit to my place - have a great Monday :)

Anonymous said...

I've moved many times but never had a collection of neighbors like that! A good friend of ours did stop to pay another friend a visit once. Walked right in like he always had. Thing is that friend had moved out and not told anyone. The new tenants started locking the door after that I imagine. lol

Tan Lucy Pez said...

The most "interesting" neighbor I can remember was a doozy. For a year when I was eight years old we lived next door to a woman who was apparently drunk all day. She would lock her two little boys, both still in diapers, outside all day. They wore one diaper all day, and had one sour bottle of milk to suck on all day. Their father would come home from work, take them in, clean them up and then they could go in and out as they pleased while he cooked dinner. My mother did the best she could to help the boys during the day. Finally the father put the boys in some sort of "home," and the house was sold.

Seamus said...

What an interesting time that must have been! LMAO @ "...if it looked like we were having a party...". Sounds like you got the mother lode of quirk in one neighborhood!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure Harry didn't chew tobacco all day because he was an injun? ;)

(I knew so many wacky neighbors I could write a book.)

Breazy said...

LOL! The most interesting neighbors we had were the first place we ever lived as a married couple . There was a three year old little boy that never failed to flip you the bird as you drove down the street. One Friday night we were headed out to get something to eat when the little boy gave Mr. Breazy the one finger salute. Mr. Breazy slammed the car in park , jumped out , grabbed the kid and in his words said " I will bust your ass if you ever flip me off again do you understand?" He then asked the child where he lived . We took him home and Mr. Breazy had a long talk with this childs father . That was the last salute anyone got from him . I asked Mr. Breazy if he would have "whipped the kids ass" and he replied "never , but the kid didn't know that now did he".

In that same neighborhood we had two twin boys as neighbors, they were about ten years old and spawns of satan ! They would wait until dark then go to the power pole and disconnect everyones power . After the cops were called three times those little boys didn't do that any more !

KFarmer said...

OMG- you had me howling. That was too damn funny- Thanks :)

snavy said...

The best neighborhood was the one I grew up in. We had friends all over the place and were always out and about playing. Although we moved when I was 19, I still try to stay in touch with the couple next door. They weren't relatives but we called them aunt and uncle. I have no idea who the people on the other side were - lol.

I absolutely HATE the neighborhood we live in now. There used to be a little girl who lived next door who's parents were jackasses. This kid spent so much time at my house and they never even came over to introduce themselves. One time she threw up in my front hall and another time, flooded the bathroom. Before they moved, she called the cops on her older brother for yelling at her. He happened to be smoking his dad's pot that day and was arrested. Nice? Huh?

Anonymous said...

Here in Hong Kong, our neighbors change all the time... moving is a national pastime. And when new people move in, the first thing they do is renovate their apartment... hacking off tiles, redesigning the floor plan... it can get noisy.

The only wacky neighbor I can think of was my landlady in London, who lived directly below me. She used to turn off the central heating system for the whole house when she went to bed at 7pm, leaving the rest of us to shiver... but I didn't stay very long in that house...

m said...

hey. i must have been sleeping when i left my first comment, because i posted it under the name of anonymous...

i lived across the street from my recent ex boyfriend and his new girlfriend.they didn't close their curtains one night and OUCH...saw something i didn't need to see.

Anonymous said...

You are making me feel deprived. I don't have any wacky neighbors. :)

barefoot_mistress said...

Well let me just say that my duplex was called the Coke Recreation and Pot Office because we had an old movie sign posted outside on the porch which actually read Claims Registration and Post Office......from an old movie western...
That's all I am going to say, well that, and I lived for 12 years in Venice Beach....home of Coke Reg and Pot Office....ok enough said

Mark Leslie said...

Wow - fascinating neighbourhood! What an interesting set of characters -- when I'm trying to popular a novel with characters for colour and flavour I'm going to hit you up for some neighbour stories.

I'm not going to share my own neighbour stories here (hey, notice that I'm spelling neighbour and other words here with a Canadian "u" in them?), but rather will steal the idea for a future post on my own blog.

(Yes, consider me a blog neighbour who pilfers things from your front yard)

Anonymous said...

Your neighbors sound a lot like the folks from Elkton that I see wandering around down on Main St.

Some of 'em, a little scarey!