Twenty seven years ago we moved into our city house. The weather was just like spring, sunny, warm, just wonderful! Early that morning we packed our wagon with clean clothes, towels, soaps, breakfast things, and set off to walk to our new home. We had been living for weeks without water, as there had been a water main problem in our rental home, and it was not fixed immediately. Attila and I, Luna and Terra, we all wanted a hot shower!
We arrived in the neighbourhood, our wagon in tow. This caused a bit of a stir with the judgemental woman down the street, who from that time forward called me “that woman”, and said some pretty awful things about me around Terra, who was nine years old and played with her son. No matter, her nastiness came back to her when her husband walked out on her and she had to move away. I did not miss her.
The rest of the neighbours were lovely really. Our next door neighbour on the right was a widower, and the BEST neighbour I have ever had in my life. He missed his wife so much, and kept her garden in the front yard, adding a bench so that the seniors from the nearby long-term-care home could rest in the shade when out for their strolls. He had a little sign made for the garden, “Jean’s Garden”. His children wanted the money from his house, and pressured him into selling it, the contents, and moving into a little apartment. I still have recipe books that belonged to his Jean, that I bought at his garage sales.
Our other immediate neighbour on the other side was a couple with an adult daughter. They too were lovely people. It was heartbreaking when the husband hit his midlife crisis and left his wife and daughter for a single life. They lived there for several years after he left, then sold and moved on.
Other neighbours were interesting. Across the street were Dolittle and Mrs. Beeslee. Dolittle kept pigeons in his back yard, they lived with a Manx cat, and Dolittle’s beloved companion was Trix, a Jack Russell who rode in the bicycle carrier as the two of them toured the neighbourhood. Mrs. Beeslee was a kind soul, she spent her time keeping Dolittle and the gang in check, and visiting the long-term-care home down the street daily, where he Auntie resided.
Beside them lived Magarac. He was in his late 80s, lived by himself, survived Europe during WW2, kept a prolific garden, and walked everywhere. He had a sense of humour, and was known to turn the watering hose on me if my back was turned from him while I was weeding the front garden. In those days I was the Neighbourhood Watch person. When the 911 attack occurred, Magarac phoned me to make sure I was watching out for everyone on our street. I had a lot of respect for that call to action, he had witnessed some pretty terrible and intense things during the war. His trust in me was an honour.
Next to Magarac lived his single daughter. She was a professional woman who loved her car. Her girlfriend had exactly the same year, make, model, and colour car. They spent lovely summer days caring for their prized automobiles.
A little further down the street lived Grace. She was in her 80s and quite a character. In the mornings she and Gigi, her poodle, would take their walk up and down the street, discovering gardening crimes everywhere. For these walks Grace was adorned in her bathrobe, and fluffy slippers, and Gigi appeared proud to have such an interesting and colourful companion. I loved to spend time with Grace. She invited me in for a cup of tea every time she saw me walk by her house. We had many lovely conversations. I remember she told me that I was different than other people, she said I was kind inside. I felt sad that her world consisted mostly of people who wore kindness like an unwanted overcoat. When I met her daughter I understood what she meant.
I liked living in that neighbourhood, and I liked almost all of the neighbours. But I didn’t miss it when we moved to the Country House. That city itself was not a good fit for me or my daughters. I found it to be rigid, narrow, judgemental, and provincial in its infrastructure and general attitudes, hostile to “outsiders”. We were not happy there.
My how time flies though, twenty seven years ago today. It doesn’t seem so long, looking out the rear view mirror at it.
Thu, Feb 18, 12:55 PM
FEELS LIKE -9
Wind 10 E km/h
Humidity 56 %
Visibility 25 km
Sunrise 7:03 AM
Wind gust 14 km/h
Pressure 102.9 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 5:40 PM
UV 1 Low
“One single grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer.”
G. E. Lessing
1729 – 1781