Thursday, January 16, 2014
Do You Have Good Neighbors?
It is essential for your safety, happiness and peace of mind to have good neighbors that are also friendly and caring. Whether you live in an apartment, condo, a farm, town house or in a subdivision with single homes, it is important to have good neighbors. In the seven places that we have resided here in the US since 1960, my family have encountered all kinds of neighbors from the unfriendly, neutral and caring neighbors.
Our first city of residence was Chicago, Illinois in the 1960's. I was still a graduate student at that time so we resided in a apartment managed and owned by the university. All of our neighbors were mostly students and others were employees of the University. We were lucky at that time to have good neighbors. My wife had joined a baby sitting cooperative with wives of other students students. We will have monthly pot lucks and picnics with the growing kids- the center of our social activities.
After graduation, we moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where I had my first industrial job. Our first rental single home was in a subdivision of mostly retired couples, so we did not have interaction with our neighbors. Our activity was centered in the Swim and Country Club two blocks from our house. We stayed in this house for one year since the owner decided to sell the house. We moved to another rental house about two miles away. Again, we did not have any interaction with our neighbors. Our third home in the Kansas City area was in Platewoods, Missouri. This was our first owned home. It was located in a subdivision with one and two acres lots in a semi-rural exclusive neighborhood. Our neighbor across the street was a teacher and was neither friendly or unfriendly. Our neighbor in the left side we never see. The only thing we saw in their backyard was a German Shepherd dog named Devil who barks when we approached the boundary lines of our fences. We have a distant neighbor about 4 blocks from us who were also Filipino-Americans and have two boys almost in the same ages with our children that we socialized.
Our next move was to Modesto, California, Stanislaus County- California Central Valley. We purchased our second 4-bedroom home in a newer subdivision. We have several neighbors but only one was friendly. We stayed two years in that subdivision then decided to sell the house so we can moved to a farm house with a barn that my wife converted into a Filipino Gift Shoppe. Our nearest neighbor was about 1/4 mile away. They have children who goes to the same school with our kids, but we never socialized.
Our fourth move was to Pinole, California in the East Bay when my employer in Modesto decided to close their agricultural research facility. We have purchased two homes in Pinole from 1974-1990. Our first home was a two story house in a subdivision with small backyards in the foot hills of Pinole. We have neighbors that are neither friendly or unfriendly. When I broke my Achilles tendon playing tennis and had a hard time climbing the second floor bedrooms, we decided to move to a ranch type home about 3 miles in another older subdivision. In this neighborhood, we have two very friendly neighbors. One was a Filipina married to a Caucasian. The one across the street was super friendly and very helpful. He was a handy man and was glad when he offers to help me in the minor maintenance of the house and our yard.
When I lost my job in the East Bay, our family moved to the Washington DC area where I worked for the Food and Drug Administration for 12 years. We purchased a 4 bedroom ranch style home with a full basement in a subdivision in Colesville, Maryland. We found in this neighborhood a very friendly and caring neighbor who was a widow. We socialized and invite each other in our homes and had a grand time.
Our last move was to the Sacramento area when I retired in 2002. We decided to rent first so we will know the neighborhood before we purchased our retirement house. Our rental home was a 4 bedroom ranch with a swimming pool. We stayed there for almost a year and were able to meet only one neighbor. He was a retired physician, an avid reader and has no prejudice against Filipino-Americans. We realized this is not a very friendly neighborhood however since our other neighbors never bothered to introduce themselves to us.
We purchased our retirement home in a neighborhood with another ranch type house. The subdivision was built in the 1980's and populated mostly by retirees. In this neighborhood, we are very lucky to have two friendly neighbors. Our first caring neighbor is a widow originally from Italy. She does not drive, so every now and then I will drive her to church and to the grocery stores. She goes with my wife and I to the nearby Casino almost once a week. In return she would cook my favorite dish- fried eggplant. The other day she gave us roasted duckling. She also watched all unusual activities in the area, and lists all licenses of cars she does not recognized.
Our second friendly neighbor is also a retired couple about ten years younger than us. The man of the house is a handy man and I hired him to fix minor repairs in the house. He is also a computer expert and had help me with my computers problems in two cases during the last four years. We love this neighborhood, because we have two friendly neighbors who watches our home when we are not around and are ready to help us in a second notice.. May I reiterate then, that for your piece of mind it is essential to have good and caring neighbors. How about you? Do you have good neighbors?