Sunday, September 25, 2011

Neighbors

I've mentioned some neighbors from when I was growing up before in my blog. I thought I would elaborate on some of them.  We called some by their first names and others Mr. and Mrs.  I'll write about those I called by their first name. Not really sure why we were allowed to do so, but we did.
Jane and Bill Thompson were in the small white ranch across the street. Bill and my dad were 2nd cousins. Bill's mother, I wrote about before, Myrtle Lewis Thompson was first cousin with Frank, my dad's father. So, this relationship was a closer one. Billy and Dan were the same age and friends, too. One morning, the teen boys had planned on fishing, but Billy didn't know where Dan  slept. No one locked doors then and Billy, a big guy, ended up wandering around upstairs looking for Dan. My father noticed him while he was still in bed and decided he better keep still, because in the the shadows, he just wasn't sure.
Billy married Francine in Austintown, OH. They lived over in the Valley. They had the Yum, Yum Tree for a while in the Hickory Plaza. The three couples and myself were in a weight loss club. We weighed in, talked about the how the weight loss was going or not, then ate. Dad did the best. He was a disciplined person. The plan involved apple cider vinegar before you ate, lecithin pills, and some other vitamins. I also believe men can lose the pounds, just thinking about it, and cutting out their pop.
Jane tutored reading students. She talked interestingly and involved me, which as a kid, brings delight. I loved their screened porch, sitting there on hot summer evenings when no one even thought of having air conditioning and joining in the conversation.
An old lady, Myra lived in the Cape between the Thompsons and Garretts. I believe she rented from the Garretts. She wore her gray/white soft hair longer and as all women then, longer dresses. She was quiet, but she didn't scare me. When she died, they had a sale at the house, because I believe she had no surviving relatives. My mom walked through the house. She came home bothered that strange people even pawed through Myra's underwear drawer. Mom bought a photo of a girl with a velvet cast, the Victorian style or 20's, with wavy hair and big eyes.
Dutch and Janet lived in the red brick Italianate style home. Dutch was a tall, broad man and I swear everyone was related to him. They enjoyed their front porch. He always said something to me when I walked out the door. When their son moved to Janet's mother's home two houses down on Haywood from us, they often passed through our yard. Janet seemed to be as small as Dutch was big. She was soft-spoken and listened to me. She also was a secretary at the high school. She always had to go back sooner than I.
I mentioned the preachers in the manse beside us before.
Across Haywood on the same side of Main St. in a red brick ranch, lived Dan and Sara Grundy. They owned a pool that was always opened if the neighbors followed the rules. First, Sara, a Red Cross instructor, gave us all swimming lessons. She made them very fun. 7 feet at it's deepest with a diving board, as a three or four old standing at the end, Sara, in the water, gave me the courage to jump. Then you couldn't stop me. After lessons, we practiced diving for coins and then got to keep what we brought to the surface. The other condition of swimming in their pool required having an adult with you, as well as always saying hello and thanks when you were done- Wait, I think those last two came from my mother. The girls and boys, with long hair, had to wear bathing caps- oh, what a pain. We also always had to rinse our feet in the pan at the gate door. Then when I got home, I had to sit on the porch to drip off, more.
I enjoyed the summers when Sara's daughter came home with her children. Dianne, a few years older than I had a million more brilliant ideas than I. A brother was my brother's age. I think they were a blended family. We played in the Sara's basement during summer storms and scared ourselves with stories of electrocution from lightning. Sara and Dan live in a red brick ranch. In the summer they slept downstairs because it was too hot upstairs.
Their daughter, Pam, was friends with my sister, Gerri Lee. Pam loved to sunbathe and before her wedding, Sara panicked that Pam would be very dark walking down that isle. Both of their kids were whizzes with math. Danny, their son, would talk Dad's ear off if we filled up at their gas station in town. He wanted to know how all us kids were doing.
Tomorrow I'll talk about the Mr's and Mrs's in  my neighborhood. I look back and I am so thankful for not only the nurturing from my family, but the town on whole. Everyone seemed to watch out for our safety, but as I mentioned in this post, the women, especially, listened to us. I often visited with these women. I do think we are missing a lot these days between generations.
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