I gotta tell you about my neighbors. So far, we’ve been blessed to have kind neighbors in our complex. It’s such a joy. In my neighborhood where I lived raising my children, we had good neighbors who always stopped and said hello, who supported each other when death or sickness came around and who smiled and talked.
To show you how our neighbors were, as we got older and the neighborhood began to change, there were undesirables who moved in across the street from us. My husband never meets a stranger. So, no matter how we felt about them, he spoke and carried on conversations with them. They would always say, “Hi Reb.” They called me Miss Stan. My husband would bring home food from his job and share it with neighborhood people. Well, they’d come over and ask if he had anything for them to eat. He’d give hotdogs most of the time and some bread and a few snacks if he had them.
Well, one day when he came home from work, they yelled across the street that they wanted to talk to him. “Reb, Reb,” they said as they crowded around him. He said, “Yeah, what’s up?” “Reb, your mother-in-law came outside and made us rake and clean the whole block!!” My husband smiled trying not to laugh. They told him that my mother who was living with us at that time, was outside raking up leaves. They were sitting on their own porch and she walked over there and said, “Get up and come over here and help me out. You’re not doing nothing anyway.” They were so shocked that she said that, but they got up and with rakes and garbage bags in hand she made them clean the lots and lawns of everyone on the block. As soon as she let them go, they raced into their house and closed the door. From that day, if they saw her outside working, they stayed inside until she left. They helped her out and were respectful to her.
There are two little children who live in the apartment across from me. The day them moved in, I was sitting at the computer right next to my doorwall. The little boy walked up to my screen and smiled. I stopped and said, “Well, hello, what’s your name? His mom and grandmother thought he was a bother. I said, “Not at all.” He didn’t tell me his name because he was too busy letting me know he didn’t like the nail polish I had on. He said “Why you get that color.” I literally stuttered and said, “I liked it.” He walked away shaking his head. He and his sister play outside all the time. I watch them from my window, watching to see if they are safe. Their mom and grandmother are so very nice and kind. He’s a little white boy who wasn’t afraid, mean or angry when he saw me for the first time. He was just a little boy, like every little boy with a vivid imagination and full of like. Like my grandson, who’s a teenager now.
If only there were more people like them. If only there were more people like the ones in our old neighborhood who did as that older woman, my mother said and didn’t call her names or harm her. They just did as she asked them to do. If I can help any of them, I will. We’re neighbors. We support each other.