09 Jun 2017

Sound Familiar?


Mrs. Kistler finds life in the modern megalopalis lacking in warmth.

Let me tell you about my Southern California neighborhood. I have lived in this one for 22 years. I don’t know anyone, but it’s not for lack of trying. Each time a new neighbor moves in I bake a loaf of bread and take it to them. They thank me at the door and then close it. That is the last I see of them other than when they go to their cars.

One neighbor was pregnant and her husband was employed, so I gave her my phone number just in case she needed anything. She thanked me and didn’t give me her number. We spoke over the fence occasionally, but not in any way that would turn us into buddies or even casual friends. They moved.

Our newest neighbors dropped a card on our front porch before their bread was baked to tell us their names and gave us their phone number. I still have it four years later. I baked the bread and the mister thanked me at the door. I have never met the Mrs. in person.

I hosted a coffee klatch and made up fliers and put them on the 12 nearest homes. I got donuts, cut up fruit, and made coffee and tea. Six people came, drank the tea, and no one touched the donuts or fruit. They chatted about who all used to live here in this neighborhood over the years, said thank you and left. No one asked a single question of me. I have never been to their homes or had a conversation with any of them since.
We Don’t Even Know One Another’s Names

I wouldn’t consider asking to borrow a cup of sugar or if a neighbor’s electricity is still working when mine isn’t. I just figure out what I will do for my own household. No one needs me, and I don’t need anyone. I don’t need a government handout. We will take care of ourselves.

In this neighborhood I have been very lonely. I wish I had stayed in the tract I lived in prior, but we moved when the kids moved away from home. I had made friends in the previous neighborhood. We had bowling teams, BBQs, went to school functions, belonged to the Parent Teacher Association, and basically enjoyed a full life. We came here with no kids, and most in the neighborhood were also empty nesters and appeared to have no desire for meeting new people.

The younger lady next door has two adult kids and she waves. It’s something, as no one else waves, often leaving me feeling invisible. Maybe I am. I am in my 70s and unless I go to the senior center I might very well be invisible. I have friends, but they all require a bit of a drive to see so we usually meet somewhere in the middle. I stay busy but the busyness is outside of the actual community in which I reside.


It was certainly like that in the Fairfield County, Connecticut town where my wife and I lived most of our adult lives. I recommend rural Virginia. The driver of every passing car waves hello.

6 Feedbacks on "Sound Familiar?"


This person needs a hobby. She seems needy. People can sense this “needy” attribute and don’t like it. While I sympathize I don’t empathize. Go to church, join a group or a gym or bowling league. Hell! Go to a bar.

ed in texas

Maybe they don’t like you?


Interesting. My little country/suburban community is the same way. Our nearest neighbor is my wife’s first cousin; we see them at funerals. I grew up in Appalachian Ohio and we had a relationship with virtually all our neighbors for a mile in either direction, whether to loan or borrow a cup of sugar, a tractor, labor, or have a weenie roast if someone had a brush pile to burn. I remember all those people well 50 years later but have trouble remembering my current best neighbor of 20 years first name when I see him at the gas station. It’s Guy, if I recall correctly.
I’m not sure it’s an argument for evolution. I can’t imagine anyone would know if I died, let alone go to the funeral or bring my wife a casserole. Does anyone even really have neighbors anymore?

Maggie's Farm

Saturday morning links

Photo: finally got the pic of my friend’s backyard Barred Owl  THE ROCKING DEAD – The Grateful Dead’s Cornell 1977 concert release Berserkers In Mesopotamia, Europe And India: Old Tradition Of Mad Fighting Dates Back At Least 3000 BC…


I’ve lived in this neighborhood for almost 30 years. I know my neighbors enough to say hi or a brief chat. Friendly, but not socially involved. Never really wanted to.

Funny thing, a mother and her daughter live across the street. After several years I saw the mother and her sister at the same time. All these years what I assumed was one older woman is actually two!


Perhaps that’s what happens when your world gets bigger. The highway system has been good for sixty years, cars have been getting much better for 20 years and the internet has blossomed in the last 10. When I was a kid in the 60’s, I knew the people on my street. When I started driving as a teenager in the 70’s, my world got bigger. I had friends in neighboring suburbs. Now, I’m talking to mugs like you living who knows where. I comment here infrequently, but more often than I talk to my neighbors.


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