Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

On Friday morning, this was the view from our front steps:

Procession of Fire Trucks

To the right and to the left and all around, fire and other emergency personnel from all over the St. Louis region (and even all over the country) used our little corner of the city as a staging area for a 5-mile funeral procession to pay respects to Ryan Hummert, the firefighter killed here on Monday. We walked up the street and around the corner to stand outside the church where the service was. The rain made it an appropriately somber morning for all.

This may seem an odd segue into a post about community, but stay with me.

We live in the city. Really: we live half-a-house away from the St. Louis city/county line (the house next to us is considered to be halfway in the city and halfway in the county – not sure how their tax-paying works, but I’m sure both entities are getting what’s theirs). Anyway, we’ve lived in this house for 12 days and have experienced neighborly community for probably the very first time.
You know what? I never expected that in the city. Growing up, the word “community” meant something set apart, outside of the bustle of normal living; a suburb, if you will, and a place to which to retreat. You’d think a family of introverts would appreciate that, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 11 years of 8 moves, it’s that we’re not isolationists. We need people; we need to feel connected; we need to be part of others’ lives…and them to be part of ours.
The neighborhood we lived in in Colorado was nice. We had friends in the area, but our immediate neighbors? I couldn’t even tell you their names when we lived there, let alone now, three years later. We moved into that house in July; on Halloween we walked the girls door-to-door, collecting candy and introducing ourselves to these people we’d lived next to for months. They didn’t care.

Here, we already know the names of four different families around us. They came to us, bearing baked goods, smiles, and “Welcome to the neighborhood!” greetings. These are four families we did not know before we moved in. In addition to these four, we know four more families who were already our friends – two on our very street. We were connected before, but we’re even more so now.

One of the new families (a friendly empty-nest couple next door who love our girls) “hired” Maddie to dog-sit for 20 minutes on Friday. She was so excited – for the job, yes – but more because of the trust of the neighbors. The girls know the names of all the dogs on the street. Better yet, there are children here of all ages; we can find a match for everyone.

Thus far, we’ve been benefactors of two loaves of banana bread, one batch of brownies (which we used to soothe the frazzled nerves of the trash guys when they saw how much we put out on the street last week), one bottle of wine, one batch of gooey butter cake (or “gooey butter butt,” as Craig calls it – man, that stuff is good), and today, one amazing loaf of cinnamon swirl bread.

We’ve been here 12 days. We’ve experienced tragedy; we’ve experienced care. We’re experiencing community. It’s been hard; it’s been sweet; it’s been home.

We’re happy to be here.

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27 thoughts on “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

  1. Lyra says:

    That is wonderful, Megan! I’m so glad to hear you guys have great neighbors. That is such a good feeling, I’m sure! Sounds like God hand-picked that place for you.

    Like

  2. Kether says:

    I’ve been a reader of your blog for a long time, but I don’t know that I’ve ever taken time away from Bloglines to comment. We are moving right now as well and for the first time ever we have been greeted by neighbors. Our side of the street all seems to know each other, and one woman came by saying that she usually brings cookies, but that they were literally leaving from their driveway on vacation when they saw us moving in. Today there was a knock on the door and our next door neighbor was there with a plant with a card welcoming us, and giving us their phone number in case we need it.
    I really feel like God has led our family to a neighborhood that will be a true home. I’m certain the same is true for you as well.
    Welcome Home

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  3. Kether says:

    I’ve been a reader of your blog for a long time, but I don’t know that I’ve ever taken time away from Bloglines to comment. We are moving right now as well and for the first time ever we have been greeted by neighbors. Our side of the street all seems to know each other, and one woman came by saying that she usually brings cookies, but that they were literally leaving from their driveway on vacation when they saw us moving in. Today there was a knock on the door and our next door neighbor was there with a plant with a card welcoming us, and giving us their phone number in case we need it.
    I really feel like God has led our family to a neighborhood that will be a true home. I’m certain the same is true for you as well.
    Welcome Home

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  4. Nettie says:

    I have learned (through trial, error and some tears) that community and family are what you create. It sounds like someone had a good stronghold on community before you moved to your new house … how great is that.
    I found your blog at the Christian Women online site.
    Nettie

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  5. Nettie says:

    I have learned (through trial, error and some tears) that community and family are what you create. It sounds like someone had a good stronghold on community before you moved to your new house … how great is that.
    I found your blog at the Christian Women online site.
    Nettie

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  6. Anne says:

    So glad for you! We have some neighbors who have been very kind, but I don’t know a lot of them. Your post reminds me that I need to be a better neighbor.

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  7. Anne says:

    So glad for you! We have some neighbors who have been very kind, but I don’t know a lot of them. Your post reminds me that I need to be a better neighbor.

    Like

  8. Jamie says:

    I’m so happy for you 🙂 Knowing your neighbors seems to be rare these days (it is in our neighborhood, and we live in the suburbs — in Texas, which is suppose to be friendly.) It sounds like this move has already proved to be a blessing to your family.
    And tasty.

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  9. Jamie says:

    I’m so happy for you 🙂 Knowing your neighbors seems to be rare these days (it is in our neighborhood, and we live in the suburbs — in Texas, which is suppose to be friendly.) It sounds like this move has already proved to be a blessing to your family.
    And tasty.

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  10. Chelsea says:

    I love this! Maybe city-dwellers deliberately seek out community to offset the cityness of it all. Suburbanites tend to stay in their air-conditioned homes and nod silently at each other when walking the dogs. Definitely an interesting sociological study topic.

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  11. Chelsea says:

    I love this! Maybe city-dwellers deliberately seek out community to offset the cityness of it all. Suburbanites tend to stay in their air-conditioned homes and nod silently at each other when walking the dogs. Definitely an interesting sociological study topic.

    Like

  12. Lana Day says:

    Such a sweet post, Megan. I’m so glad you have that love in your heart to share with others and it seems they have it, too. Don’t we all need more of that in our lives?
    So happy you’re in a wonderful new home and neighborhood~

    Like

  13. Lana Day says:

    Such a sweet post, Megan. I’m so glad you have that love in your heart to share with others and it seems they have it, too. Don’t we all need more of that in our lives?
    So happy you’re in a wonderful new home and neighborhood~

    Like

  14. Aubrey says:

    We have just moved to a neighborhood where the neighbors actually know each other and talk to one another and take care of each other. It is such a change and a blessing from where we used to live!

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  15. Aubrey says:

    We have just moved to a neighborhood where the neighbors actually know each other and talk to one another and take care of each other. It is such a change and a blessing from where we used to live!

    Like

  16. Kathy says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about that young man’s death, and will be praying for his family.
    It sounds like you moved into a great community though. I long for something like that. We’ve tried, here where we are, which is semi-rural area, but most neighbors don’t want to be sociable.

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  17. Kathy says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about that young man’s death, and will be praying for his family.
    It sounds like you moved into a great community though. I long for something like that. We’ve tried, here where we are, which is semi-rural area, but most neighbors don’t want to be sociable.

    Like

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