I have had many neighbors over the last 48 years, some good, some not so good. This is a walk down the memory lane of neighbors.
The first house that I really have any recollection of living in was 508 Wellington Street, Anderson, South Carolina. We moved there just before I started elementary school until the summer before eighth grade. On one side of us was a man and his mama. On the other was a lady named Miss Simpson that totally disliked children and thought it her job to make our lives even more distressing than they already were. If me or any of my siblings dared to ride our bicycles on the (public) sidewalk in front of her house, she had a bloody cow. She was constantly ordering us to stay off of “her” sidewalk. If our ball went into her yard, we got what-for from her if we went to retrieve it. One day Daddy got tired of her upsetting us and took care of the situation. As I recall, she never harassed us again after that conversation with my daddy. I didn’t know this at the time, but her sister lived across the street from the house where my husband grew up. Their relationship was about as wonderful as ours with our Miss Simpson, except his family had the upper hand with her. They were already teenagers and gave back as good as they got. We, on the other hand, were just scared little kids.
Other neighbors on Wellington Street were much friendlier. There was a nice elderly couple that lived right across from Miss Simpson’s house. Their surname was McGuiness. They were very sweet people, but I don’t remember too much about them. Right across from our house was 507 Wellington, the house we’d lived in before moving to 508. I don’t remember living in that house. After we moved out, another family with small children moved in. Those were the Parnells.
Mrs. Ashley lived on the other side of Miss Simpson, across a little side street. She was a sweet, really old lady. I don’t remember a whole lot about her either, but I do remember that when she died, the big tree in her front yard died, too. The Whites moved into her house. The mama was probably my mama’s age. The daddy seemed to be as old as my grandpa. They had a daughter that was around my little sister’s age and they were best friends for a while. Mrs. White loved flowers and totally filled the yard up with them. I used to love to visit with her. She had a vacuum cleaner and let me use it. I really enjoyed helping her with her housework. She was a really nice lady. She even let the neighborhood kids have a luau in her backyard. It was a blast! She also had some really funny sayings like “I’ll be jumped up!” and other things that I’d never heard of until she came along. Her husband died while they were living there. That was very sad. I hadn’t known any daddies to die before and I couldn’t imagine how their daughter was going to get along without having her daddy. I couldn’t imagine mine not being there when I was her age.
There was also another older lady that had a flowery yard. She had blue hydrangeas which I thought had to be the ugliest flowers on the planet (I have since changed my opinion of them) and around her tree, she had beautiful daffodils. I loved those daffodils and they were so tempting to me. I wanted one and one day I couldn’t fight it any longer. I picked one. I got in trouble with my mama. I don’t remember the lady fussing at me or anything, but mama made me go to her and apologize for picking her beautiful flower. I can’t remember her name anymore and that is frustrating me to know end. I can still picture her, but can’t remember her name.
Then there was the McGuffin Family. They had two sons and two daughters and then the mama had another baby after they moved into our neighborhood. The two girls were the oldest with the second one being my age. I got a biology lesson of sorts from this family. The mama nursed the new baby and I had never seen anyone do that before. I guess it fascinated me because I started nursing my baby dolls. That didn’t make my mama too happy.
Our house was the Kool-aid house of the neighborhood. We always had a yard full of kids and we loved to play ball. One day, a Hanley boy was there (his sister rarely, if ever, came to play with us) and he and I got into a tussle over the baseball bat. We were each trying to take it from the other. Finally, I just let go of it. He didn’t. That whack to the head could be heard clear ’round the neighborhood! He fell to the ground holding his head and I high-tailed it into the house and locked myself in the bathroom. I was too short to see out through the bathroom window, so I climbed onto the edge of the bathtub so that I could see what was happening in the backyard, crying the whole time, just knowing that I was going to get my tail torn up. I have no recollection of what happened after that.
That’s about it for the walk through my old neighborhood for today.
Have you had any neighbors in your life that really made an impression, positively or negatively, on you?