In Appreciation of Great Neighbors

My neighbors rock.

Several years ago, I moved into my own house. It was love at first sight. As I settled in, I came to realize one of the best things about living in that house. My neighbors, Dan and Sarah. We’ve all heard the adage: Good fences make great neighbors, but in this case, that just isn’t true. They are one of the best darn things about where I live. I think we all tend to take things for granted sometimes, and I’d like to show my appreciation to the awesome folks who live beside me.

Good neighbors weren’t something I took into consideration when I moved. In retrospect, it should have been, but fortunately, fate intervened. When I lived in an apartment in Heritage Hill, I was convinced my neighbor was a vampire. I never saw him before 7 pm, and then he would turn his music up as loud as it would go. Perhaps he suffered from short term memory loss as well, since he always seemed surprised when I stalked downstairs and demanded he turn his music down.

Now, a few years later, I have discovered the joy of great neighbors and the sense of camaraderie we share. We help each other out as we can. I’ll pick up things at the store for them, or give them a ride somewhere if they require it. They mowed my lawn the other day, and even cleaned up the Catalpa tree seed pods littering the lawn. Have you ever seen those seed pods? They are long, fibrous pods that produce by the millions, I swear, every spring. Now that is dedication and a commitment to community. Never underestimate the value of a good neighbor. I wouldn’t give mine up for the world.

Here are six great things about my neighbors (and some links to some books in GRPL’s collection to illustrate the point!):

1. They use their outdoor grill ALL the time. Yep, even in January. And Dan is a heck of a cook.
2. They mow my lawn!
3. We’re combining our gardens this year to make a MEGA-garden. Veggies for all!
4. They aren’t all that loud, even when they have people over for a party.
5. They keep an eye out for trouble in the neighborhood.
6. They make me laugh.

I can only hope that all of you have good neighbors, too.

Here are a few books that might be of interest, or help you to get to know your neighbors:

Outwitting the neighbors / Bill Adler

Neighbor law : fences, trees, boundaries & noise / Cora Jordan & Emily Doskow

Dinner at your door : tips and recipes for starting a neighborhood cooking co-op / Alex Davis, Diana Ellis, Andy Remeis

In the neighborhood : the search for community on an American street, one sleepover at a time / Peter Lovenheim.

How about exploring some of the neighborhoods around Grand Rapids?

Landmarks of Grand Rapids [videorecording] : a look at the neighborhoods of Sacred Heart Church, Heritage Hill, and Eastown / The Humanities Council of Grand Rapids ; Writers, Nate Vander Plas, Patricia Clark

Heart & soul : the story of Grand Rapids neighborhoods / Linda Samuelson, Andrew Schrier, et al.

And don’t forget, you can always stop in at the Main library and visit the Local History department or check out their page on the GRPL website. If you are Grand Rapids library patron, you can access a weath if databases and information about Grand Rapids and its history. I have to say, it’s pretty cool.

Until later, neighbors!

Em.

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