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We had a neighborhood block party on Friday to re-connect with old neighbors and get to know new ones.  I was able to put names to the new ones I had given my own nicknames to.  There was "Hot Blond Neighbor" who I learned was named Dawn, there was "Guy Who Walks His Dogs In the Street" whose name was Steve and his wife Marie, "The Power Walker/Self Talker".  The party was great and everyone got along well.  I found out that I'm the next oldest person on the block with the  oldest being the couple down on the corner, Paul and Elsa who are in their mid seventies. The rest of the folks are young couples with kids or singles in mid-twenties except for Dawn who's a single mom in her late 30's.  Good conversations all around and some surprising revelations. 

Seems my neighbors across the street and a few doors down delivered their youngest at home with no mid-wife.  It was just her, her husband and her mother.  She is presently expecting again and is in fact two weeks overdue; she intends to deliver naturally and at home once again.  All the women were absolutely thrilled about this and there was a lot of talk about child birthing techniques and such.  Of course, I put my foot in my mouth and mentioned that it was ironic that we'd have a home birth here on the block when the city hospital was only three blocks away. I got an interesting array of looks from the ladies ranging from eye-rolling scorn to head-shaking pity at the stupid male trying to butt in on the wimmin-talk.

Dawn (hot blond neighbor), who lives two doors down from me, revealed a bit of interesting neighborhood trivia that I knew but had forgotten about.   Dawn shares a driveway with my next door neighbors which is wide enough for two vehicles to pass.  The width of the space between the houses allowed for a neighbor in the Cold War fifties to build a bomb shelter attached to Dawn's house and  extending out under the driveway about 20 feet down.  I remember seeing this when we were touring through houses on this street with our realtor when we were shopping for homes. I remember the basement having a metal door next to the water heater which opened onto a short flight of stairs that went down into a room about the size of your average dorm room.  I thought it was a sort of fruit cellar when our realtor explained that it was a shelter. Pretty cool but I wondered how effective it would have been as a survival tool.  I wouldn't want to survive an attack like that. I wouldn't last two days in a world like that portrayed in "The Road".

   Dawn said she was using the shelter to store home canned fruit, tomatoes and such.  She said when she watches her young nieces and nephews for her sister she tells the kids that if they don't behave  they'll have to sleep down in the shelter. Of course, she doesn't really do it, but the kids don't know that.  It reminded me  of when I was little and used to spend time with my widower granpa on his farm for a couple weeks every summer. He used to tell me there were giant moths (in Indiana we call them Millers) in the attic and if I wasn't good I'd be put up there to sleep with them.  Imagine my terror when my cousins came for an over night and I did indeed have to sleep up there because there were so many of us.  Luckily, I was put up in the attic with my older cousin Joel who thought the moth story was hilarious.  Then he proceeded to tell me the tale of Mothra like it was a true story and not the script for a Japanese Sci-Fi movie.  I didn't get over that one for about a year.

We laughed about the terrible stories we told our kids and the dumb things we did when we were young.  I told the story of when I stayed with my grand parents from my dad's side who I particularly liked because they had a color TV.  I remember watching Yogi Bear and deciding that I'd stash a peanut butter and jelly sandwich under my pillow like Yogi did in the show right before he hibernated.  My gramma was furious the next day when she found the sticky mess.  But I didn't have to stay in a bomb shelter or an attic full of giant moths.

The neighbor across the street from me, Carla, talked to me about my next door neighbor, a single divorcee, whom I call Lisa the Cougar.  It seems Lisa is notorious for stealing plants from yards under cover of darkness.  Carla says she caught her digging around in her lilacs and called her out, but Lisa was not remorseful.  She seemed to  think plants were some sort of community property.  Lisa is a little quirky - I've had some fairly weird conversations with her over the years I've been here, but she has yet to steal any of my plants.

All of us had such a good time and the kids all loved tearing around with each other for a couple hours after their usual bed times.  We all decided to have another get together again soon.  Probably after Marianna has her baby so we can talk about how things went.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 27th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
I hope things go well for yr pregnant neighbor, but a two week post term baby is at high risk for meconium aspiration which is not something you want to screw around with.
Jun. 27th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah - I was savvy enough to know that two weeks overdue was just plain risky period, but kept it to myself. Don't want to be a Debby Downer at the party you know.
Jun. 27th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
Good call! :-)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )