What really does "neighborhood" mean? I have given this lots of though over the past month as we separated ourselves from our Aqua Cove Lane neighborhood. I try to tell friends and family about the feelings I have for the people and space we have occcupied for the past 11 and a half years and sometimes, the words just don't convey the depth and breadth of what I feel.
As I was driving up to Georgia, I mulled over the leaving of my neighbors and was reminded of the years the girls, aged 2 and 4 at the time, and I spent in married housing living in Cherry Lane at Michigan State University. Most of the inhabitants were married and graduate students from one foreign country or another. I was a 20+ undergraduate, living alone, still married with the girls, working part time jobs, and taking 20 credits a semester. Our neighbors helped raise my girls, and I helped raise theirs. We ran in and out of each others' apartments, used each other's food, shared food stamps (yes, I received welfare for a few years but have more than given back!) and helped with chores.
That is how I have lived these past years, minus food stamps, with my neighbors. Several have had keys to our home, many have given a knock and opened the door to come in for a beer, to share a glass or bottle of wine, to borrow some needed ingredient or to just share a gripe about one's child or family member. We have been to funerals together, celebrated family occassions, cried together and hugged hurts away. These people know us, warts and all. We know them and have experienced their ups and downs, also. Neighbors can and do tell war stories about each other...going to miss that alot. Going to miss them alot.