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Anyone live in a great neighborhood?
Old 05-28-2011, 04:25 PM   #1
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Anyone live in a great neighborhood?

I grew up in a great neighborhood where we mostly knew everyone and played on each other's front porches. The kids played in everyone's yards (except a few that we knew didn't want us there) and the families borrowed things from each other. One Christmas eve late, some older brothers in a family that had lost their father to heart disease came down and borrowed tools from my Dad to put together their younger brother's toys.

I just went to a funeral of one of the mothers from this neighborhood and was talking with her son about how we've just never experienced that since. Was it the times or does anyone have a great neighborhood where you know most of the people? How do you maintain such a neighborhood?
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:42 PM   #2
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I lived in a great neighborhood when I was a kid.

To me, I believe it was part of the times....no fancy televisions or computers to keep folks in the house. If you were lucky, you had an air conditioner; most did not, so they sat on the porch. There were more moms that stayed at home to watch over the children.

Slower, simpler times I guess. Instead of looking at the world like we do today on a computer screen...we looked at our neighbors in the face and said 'How are you?'....

I'm content with my neighborhood and have been for the past 17 years. However most folks stay to themselves.
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:56 PM   #3
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I live in a great neighborhood. I know everybody and everybody knows me because we all go out and walk our dogs or meet at the grouped mailboxes. My neighbors are quite a mix of ages, from newborns to retired.

My kids could disappear into the neighbor's home for hours or their kids could end up at our house. Sleepovers happen every weekend.

A few hurricanes have also drawn the neighbors closer together.

As for borrowing, I've lent out my lawn mower. A neighbor came over to print out their airline tickets when their printer wouldn't work. We pet sit for them and they pet sit for us.

"We'll be gone next week, so if you want to use our pool, please go ahead." How's that for neighborliness in this day and age of lawsuits?

And how about this: I just bought lemonade from a kid's lemonade stand! Not many of them around anymore.
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:06 PM   #4
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No, my neighborhood now is nice enough -- safe, quiet, friendly, relaxed -- and I'm certainly not complaining, but it's nothing like my neighborhood in the late '40s, when I was growing up, when the neighbors didn't just tolerate one another, but were really close.
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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I live in a great neighborhood. Not only do I know about 90% of the people on our block I know about 30% of the people in the over all neighborhood. We only have about 400 homes in our neighborhood. It is divided by a major state road. I know most of the people on our side of the tracks, but not so much on the other side. There are more homes on the other side. Our side is the lake and golf course side. While DW or I do not golf, we go to the Friday night Happy hour with the golfers. We almost have to be neighborly because we are fairly remote. Another thing is it is safe, and there are a lot of unlocked doors on any given days.

While it is not a retirement community, there are not a lot of kids on our side. That makes it different from the neighborhoods of our youth.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:18 AM   #6
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I grew up in a great neighborhood where we mostly knew everyone and played on each other's front porches. The kids played in everyone's yards (except a few that we knew didn't want us there) and the families borrowed things from each other.
Was it the times or does anyone have a great neighborhood where you know most of the people? How do you maintain such a neighborhood?
I wonder if people are more mobile today than 50 years ago. I've heard that the average tenure in a home/rental is under seven years.

We've lived in this house nearly 11 years. We know most of the people in our neighborhood to chat with, and a half-dozen others for dinners or to help out when they need it. Works fine for us.
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:21 AM   #7
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We know the neighbours on each side and the three across the street. We watch each other's houses when someone is away, lend/borrow tools and socialize a bit. The rest of the neighbourhood, know a few remotely (2 former co-w*rkers live a block away).

I like this better than the OP's ideal neighbourhood.

I grew up on a farm a few miles from a town of 300. Everybody knew everything about their neighbours. I lived alone on the farm from 17 untill 23. One weekend a few friends came to party visit. No one left the farm and no one (other than my friends who had driven directly there) stopped in. The district newspaper had a local "news" column. A week or so later I read "visitors to the kumquat farm were xxx" (named them) how the "reporter" found out I don't know. I dreaded a column saying "Ms. orange had a sleep-over with Mr. kumquat Saturday night, fortunately, no offspring are expected".

I much prefer to be anonymous except to people I have to, or chose to, interact with.
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:08 AM   #8
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I wonder if people are more mobile today than 50 years ago. I've heard that the average tenure in a home/rental is under seven years.
Now that brings up an interesting idea. I wonder if the slowdown of the housing market will bring back the closer neighbors and neighborhoods of yesteryear, since people will be living in their homes longer? Probably not, but one can dream.

I live in a great neighborhood, although I am a newbie here since I have lived in my house for only 9 years. Only two neighbors have been here for a shorter time than I have. Many of my neighbors have been here since 1972, when the houses were built. Interestingly, about two thirds are Cajuns with French surnames who are related to one another or at least know one another. Many are restauranteurs, for some reason, and own some excellent restaurants both in the French Quarter and elsewhere in New Orleans. Some are the children of the original owners of their home. Neighbors on my block not only know each other, they know the gossip about anyone within about 5-10 blocks in any direction. They are good people and good neighbors to have. They are quiet except during block parties, and generally leave me alone, which is nice.
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:39 AM   #9
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I live in an ok neighborhood, with great neighbors. Working class area where the neighbor girls had a lemonade stand and weren't getting enough sales so they started going door to door selling lemonade. Their parents were mortified, we were laughing 'til our sides ached. Those girls are grown and bring their girls over to grams n' gramps house. Good people!
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:16 AM   #10
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I wouldn't call my present neighborhood particularly great, but it is very nice. I live on a long and winding dead end street with 15 well-maintained houses on just one side it. Across from my place is a designated green space and behind the end of my fenced backyard runs a narrow strip of woods, then a public golf course. I have quiet, conventional neighbors of varying ages, and I know all of them by sight from walking my dog and having lived here for seven years. I am close to everything...work, shopping, gas station, hospital, gym. I have been invited to a few holiday parties and cook-outs over the years, and I have dined out a couple of times with the lady next door.
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:38 AM   #11
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Like most here, I grew up in a neighborhood where we all knew each other and did things together. As an adult, I've never had that experience again. I know all the neighbors around me and we exchange small talk but that's about it. Most of us are only out when we're getting mail, doing yardwork, shoveling snow, etc. But the next time we move we intend to look for a neighborhood with more community - whether it still exists, and whether or not we can find it - we'll see.

Interesting how residential architecture has changed to reflect the sense of community or lack thereof. In the "good old days" homes had big (covered) front porches, sidewalks, small front yards and garages were often in the back. Now the garage is prominently out front and the back yard and back porch(es) are focal points, so we can be isolated from neighbors (?).
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:05 AM   #12
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My neighborhood "ain't what it use to be"...

I live in my Grandmother's house and was here frequently as a boy beginning at the age of 12....back then we knew everyone up and down the street and they knew us. Thinking back, that (house/time frame) is absolutely where i picked up my affinity for my elders....there was a blind gentleman and his wife living on one side of my Grandmother and I was always amazed at how he could keep up his yard ...his flowers were beautiful!

On the other side was a retired musician (trumpet) and while his playing was not pleasing to my Grandmother, I truly enjoyed his music and would on occasion actually be allowed indoors to listen to him play along with his records...

Mr. Pollock and Gilley are long gone now and the families that moved in to take their place have actually been here in the neighborhood much longer than we have.....

I grew up about a mile away from this house and thought nothing of making the (frequent) walk to here....and I knew a lot of the people along the way as I had been in school with all of them....our parents knew each other and socialized if only for those kids functions that parents are all to familiar with....even today as I ride my bike through the neighborhood, I refer to those homes as "so and so's" house from those years....what a great time.

I'm sure that my feeling of "greatness" for that era and the neighborhood is part nostalgic but I do agree with other posters that "times have changed". We all spend more time indoors due to our age, health or innovation (computer/TV) ....

Fast forward to today ~ while I have made an effort to get to know several of the neighbors on this street, I would have to say that other than an older couple next door, I do not know any of them well enough to be invited to their home. The complection of the neighborhood has also changed as a nearby college has grown in to a university....while not on my street, as expected, there are several rentals aimed at college students in the area and that brings more young people and what they call music and I call noise .....with the newer, younger families have come a large influx of kids and the usual problems that they bring such as trash, noise and the occasional "stupidness" that come from being a kid or from a lack of parenting (but THAT is another thread!)....

To some it all up and finally answer the OP's original question....do I live in a great neighborhood

Nah....but I USE too!
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:01 AM   #13
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wonderful to hear about your great neighborhoods - past and present.

I know that some of what has changed is just the social situation. When I was growing up most families had just one car and most mothers stayed home. Both things resulted in more people being around and needing each other more. I wouldn't give up the opportunity to earn my own living etc. for that neighborhood but I'd like to bring back some of the feeling. Any ideas of how to build the neighborhood?

My husband says he prefers to rake over using a leaf blower because then people can stop and talk. One of my neighbors brings baked treats - a great conversation starter. One year we bought a big pile of dirt to use on our yard. When we had used all we needed we put a sign on it that said , "free". A lot of the people that picked up the dirt stayed to talk. But though I talk with my neighbors, I only know the last names of a few of them. I want to do better so would love to hear what some of you have done to build neighborhood rapport.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:29 AM   #14
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I want to do better so would love to hear what some of you have done to build neighborhood rapport.
Take after-dinner walks and start a petition.

A few years ago a realtor neighbor noted that the illegal businesses operating in the gulch behind our home (on land zoned for agriculture) were getting to be a noisy nuisance. He checked the records and made some calls and determined that enforcement was, to put it politely, lax.

We drafted a petition and spent a couple weeks of evenings visiting the homes on that side of the street. We got signatures from over 95% and everybody knew each other's names. Lots of talk story, Neighborhood Watch affirmations, and so forth.

A few years later nothing seems to have changed. A few homes have changed residents. We still wave at each other but there's only talk story if spouse and I actually stroll the neighborhood. The Neighborhood Watch group is still officially in effect but hasn't met in months.

The illegal businesses are still operating, too. But now we have a very polite letter from a former mayor promising that they're all over it.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:43 AM   #15
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When I was a kid in the 50s and 60s we lived in a small- town neighborhood and everybody knew everybody. When I grew up and moved to a big city, got married, raised children, our neighborhood was typical and we moved quite a bit and didn't know neighbors very well and didn't care. Now that we retired to a small community near where I grew up, we know everyone and the neighboorhood is quite close knit. I love our neighbors and we're hosting a block party next Sunday. It should be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it!
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:02 PM   #16
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As a kid, I lived in a large city during the week and in a small town during the week-ends and summers.

The small town, where my dad's family's history goes back 400+ years, only had about 300 inhabitants, the vast majority belonging to well established families. Everybody knew everybody, and everybody knew everybody else's business. It felt like a very comfortable place to live. It felt like home, in a tribal way. Those were "my peeps". I didn't care if they knew my business because I could trust them.

In the large city, we lived in an apartment building with a large playground. I used to play there with the neighborhood kids for hours every day. My parents and most adults were not very community-oriented though. My mom still lives in that apartment building and it is sad to see that, nowadays, the playground sits empty. It is now surrounded by a 6' fence to protect, from potential predators, the children who don't play in it. My niece never plays outside, even when she visits grandma. That's ironic, since my parents always told us to "go play outside" and couldn't stand the sight of us kids sitting on a couch.

My current neighborhood is OK. We know our immediate neighbors, in a "hey, how are you doing" kinda way. I don't really know them on a personal level, and I don't know if I can trust them. So I prefer to keep my business for myself.
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