Sunday, July 25, 2010

What’s your neighborhood like?

art courtesy of Catherine Holman
A few years ago I moved into what would be considered a blue collar neighborhood and many people asked, why do want to live there? Brookfield is a quiet neighborhood, rarely in the news or discussed unless they are talking about the zoo. I discovered Brookfield about 10 years ago when I got lost on my way to a baby shower in a neighboring “posh” community. When I drove through Brookfield, lined with small Chicago bungalows (amazingly the very street I now live on), it just spoke to me. I arrived at the shower and mentioned to several people how much I liked Brookfield and that I finally found the community I wanted to move to. They patted me on the shoulder indulgently, as though I was a confused child, and said …”no dear, you want to live ****(here)”.

A year or so later when I was ready to buy I looked at Brookfield and also a white collared community much farther west because it was close to where I worked. As luck would have it I found a condo/ townhouse in the alternate town. I liked it there but no one really talked to one another. It seemed to be competitive, a bit judgmental and I felt a little out place because I wasn’t married with two children and a chocolate lab. When I was ready to buy a house a few years ago I ignored the puzzled expressions and was determined to buy in Brookfield.

art courtesy of SerpentMadalas

I must say I absolutely love it here (if we leave property tax hikes out of the equation). It’s a walking community, I live 3 blocks from the train station and I spend most of my free time in my garden. As a result I get to meet and greet many of my neighbors. One day my mother was visiting. I popped out to the garden for minute and spoke with a few passersby and she happened to be by an open window. When I came into the house my mom said she overheard my conversations and with her eyes glistening with tears, “It’s so wonderful. You live is a real neighborhood, a community, I’m so happy for you.” She was right.
art courtesy of Catherine Holman

This has never been more evident than in the last few weeks. We have experienced many rain storms, sandwiched between parch dry periods. A few weeks ago when driving home from work I found myself stranded in my car is a rather deep puddle….okay…it was a pond... created by the storms pooling water. My car stalled in the middle and I was helpless. Within a few minutes a man came out of his home in cut offs and immediately began pushing me out. He got me 15 feet or so out, then another person came out and took over and pushed me the rest of the way out. These guys made sure I was okay and when I thanked them profusely they just shrugged and pointed to several other cars they had already helped out in the same way saying it was no big deal and the right thing to do. I can tell you now, if I lived in my previous neighborhood people would have been standing in their living room, in their freshly pressed trousers, pointing at me saying….”bummer, she’s going to have to call AAA”. As I waited for my car to dry out my neighbors called me several times to see if I was okay (and later picked me up because my car never started and later drove me back and forth to check on my car), people from the houses I had been pushed in front of came out several times to see if I needed anything.

art courtesy of Caroline Rose Art

This weekend we had yet another storm, the river crested and homes were flooding. Everyone was doing what they could to help one another, mainly it was emotional support. Luckily my house did not see any water inside…I directly border a flood zone but am not in it thank goodness. When I woke this morning to see the sun shining, the water receding and my neighbors picking up their neighbors debris from the storm and gently laying on their stoops and sidewalks I must admit, my eyes glistened I a said to myself “Liane, you are so lucky. You live in a real neighborhood, a community".

art courtesy of ThalitaDol


Catherine Holman said...

I live in a great little community too. Thanks for including my art in your post and for sharing the link. I'll try to remember to return the favor and link to your blog in my next post.

Gallery Juana said...

I can relate to your experience. I grew up in that kind of neighborhood and my family still lives there. I never realized that neighbors don't talk to each other until I moved out of my parents' home and into a newer neighborhood.

Similar story to your car story:

When my dad was alive, he couldn't walk far so he used to go around the neighborhood on his scooter. Well, the battery ran out several blocks away from our home. People came out of their homes to help him out and pushed him all the way home.

hope you're having a good weekend.

PrairieGarden-Liane said...

Juana, thanks so much for sharing your father's story! It does seem that communities like that are hard to come by, I suppose that's what makes them so special. I hope you and your father are doing well.

Take care.