Day 25: Neighboring lives.
My neighborhood always struck me as a family-friendly kind of place.
Just a mile from downtown, but still touching a cornfield to the north, the quiet street was built after World War II on the edge of a town that in 1960 was home to 13,000.
Today, Normal has more than four times that many people and has stretched miles east of where I sit.
It could have been the home of my parents’ generation, or even mine, although not me because I grew up on the mean streets of Detroit, the only child of thoroughbred horse trainers, which are other subjects entirely.
Anyway, I’m thinking kids riding bikes, women borrowing cups of sugar, guys helping each other dig up a bush.
So today, over coffee and cookies at my neighbor’s house, Mary and Byron told me that’s exactly the kind of street Tilden Place was 40 years ago when they moved into a brand new house with their three children.
It’s funny how they never really thought about the things they did. They worked hard, raised their children and helped out. God knows I don’t want to return to the 1960s, but it seemed like necessity ironed out a lot of their lifestyle for them. Families made do with less, not because they chose to, but because they had no choice.
Later, in an effort to be more neighborly, I went over and talked to another neighbor this afternoon as she worked on her laundry line. This woman also stays home and has two young children.
Chatting over her fence (seriously), I told her about how my children, who were napping, woke up about 5. She talked about how she’s always running her oldest child, 4, to preschool but this is the last week until fall. Then, she gave up on her clothesline.
I went back inside to iron my husband’s shirts, wondering if I’m trying to return to something that’s long past or if I’m aiming for something new.
Either way, I think I’ll need a bike to get there.