9/9/07

When Neighbors Move

Two years ago, before we moved to our current home, our friends Jack and Jean who lived across the street from us for 10 years came for dinner for the first time, along with some other neighbors. At the end of the evening I found myself saying, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?It’s so easy to talk about getting together with friends, but never make it happen!

We moved first, then a year ago Jack passed away, and now Jean has moved out of the neighborhood.

I recently found myself thinking, “When neighbors move away, do they really drop out of each other’s lives for good?” Those words haunted me for a few weeks, until finally I picked up the phone and called Jean last week. Abby and I headed up to her new place, with flowers in one hand and Abby’s violin in the other, for a quick visit.

It was just like old times. Jean had the peanut M&M’s out on the counter, we reminisced about Jack and checked out her new dwelling.

I’m easily reminded of when Abby was 3 years old and she began playing the violin. About once a week she’d walk across the street, violin tucked under her little arm, to Jack and Jean’s to play her latest song, grab a baggie of M&M’s, rearrange some of Jean’s knick-knacks (Jean was so gracious to let her do this), and then she’d come back home.

Ten years later we found ourselves in Jean’s new living room catching up, discussing painful changes in life, reminiscing about the past and how much we miss Jack, and even shedding a few tears. Then Abby got her violin out. She played 3 Concerto pieces for Jean that she has been working on. Our time together was short, but sweet.

I could see on Jean’s face that she was walking down Memory Lane as Abby played. Jack and Jean saw Abby grow from a little 3-year old girl playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to beautiful concertos, one of which Abby played at Jack’s memorial service last year.

When Abby and I left on that day, I explained to her once again the importance of giving gifts to older people in her life. The gift of listening, talking, sometimes just being there for them, and giving by sharing her talents. I explained that money and things do not matter to older people. I could see the wheels turning in Abby’s 10-year old mind. She was processing what I was saying, as her eyes lit up.

And I was reminded that neighbors move away, but in my mind they keep on living right across the street.

(Abby with darling neighborhood kids who live in our old neighborhood!)

12 comments:

Nadine said...

What a beautiful story. I love the things you are imparting to your children...priceless.

ValleyGirl said...

What a beautiful post and a great reminder. A couple of years before I got married, I house-sat for a couple from our church and ended up spending quite a bit of time chatting with their neighbours and going over there for something cool to drink in the hot summer evenings. They were seniors and I barely out of my teens, but we had a blast together. They were constantly trying to fix me up with their other neighbour, a young single guy. (never happened!)

My time as house-sitter ended in October, but I found a beautiful little plaque that I gave them for Christmas that year. It said, "Neighbours by chance, friends by choice."

Though I'm only just now beginning to realize how broad the spectrum of hospitality is, that motto has always been stuck in the back of my head and I look forward to practising it more actively in the future.

Andrea said...

Again, a wonderful post. My parents still keep in touch with the elderly couple who were our neighbours growing up. I should stop by for a visit once myself...I know they would love it!

I wish I could hear your daughter play violin...I bet it's beautiful!

momrn2 said...

What precious memories and timeless lessons!

Thanks for such another beautiful post!

Christine said...

What a beautiful post. I remember when I used to go to the nursing home and play my violin with my sister. I want to start that with Colin!

Room for Grace said...

Wonderful post, of course! Got me thinking, as usual.
Thanks,
Dena

willzmom said...

Wonderful! I still keep in touch with the couple who were like grandparents to our son when we lived far away from family. I realized that we do not have to be related by blood to become 'family' to someone else.

Erin said...

This is a great post. As we are preparing to move away from our neighborhood and the world's best neighbors ever I'll be keeping this in mind and make sure that I keep in touch.

La Tea Dah said...

Lovely post --- a good reminder. And Abby is adorable --- and looks just like you!

:) Happy day to you!
LaTeaDah

Diane @ A Watered Garden said...

Another good word of encouragement. I like that you acted upon your promptings and actually went to visit her! Sometimes I have great thoughts on what I should do...but somehow, it gets lost between thinking and doing!

Suzanne said...

Your thoughts AND actions are so inspiring! Such great things you are passing on......that song "I want to leave a legacy" is so true of you!
Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

This post put a tear in my eye. I loved it.