The Good Neighbor

I lost my neighbor last week. She packed up her family and moved from London out into the country.

And I’m very sad.

Being a good neighbor is an art. That combination of not too close, but there, always there.

If done well, you take such a neighbor for granted. Like the trees, like the street lights, like the post box. Until she’s gone.

We were good neighbors to each other. Our sons ran back and forth. We took in each other’s milk bottles when we forgot to cancel. We replaced the garbage bins tidily when the other was on vacation. We tossed hellos over the hedge like Frisbees.

A good neighbor makes a neighborhood a home.

Her telephone number remains on my refrigerator. A number the babysitters could call in an emergency. She was place to which I could shoo my children if I just had a quick errand to run. She was a shoulder to lean on. Just the other day, I went to her in tears over something silly and she opened her house, put on the coffee and listened.

We did not socialize. We went sometimes weeks without seeing each other.

But she was there.

Always there.

And now she’s not.

My whole family misses her.

Her new neighborhood is going to be very, very lucky.

photo by kwerfeldein (flickr)

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Good Neighbor

  1. I know what you mean! We’re very lucky in that we have some lovely neighbours in the street. Many a time have I handed a packet of microwave only popcorn over the fence to be popped because I bought the wrong sort and don’t have a microwave. One set of lovely neighbours moved to Australia for three years and we all miss them. I should, perhaps, get a microwave! I hope you get someone nice moving in!

  2. Nina–A good neighbor is one of those simple pleasures we have forgotten how to cultivate and enjoy. Here is a link to a wonderful article in Orion magazine by Bill McKibben that you and your readers and neighbors will enjoy: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/2874/

    I copied it (on paper!) and dropped it off at my neighbors’ homes a few summers ago. I make sure I borrow an egg, a cup of sugar, a lemon or something (whatever, it doesn’t matter) once a week. The store is close, but a neighbor is closer. Don’t Shop Locally–Borrow Neighborly!

  3. ninakillham

    Hi Maria, that is a wonderful idea. I will remember it. Thanks so much for writing. x Nina

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