January 11, 2004


I have fond memories of the neighborhood I grew up in in Houston. It was a dead-end road so we could play in the streets without too much of an interruption. We'd climb the trees or break out our bikes or capture rogue lizards. My parents knew everyone on the block - hell, everyone knew everyone else. There were fences but little regard for them. Everyone's pool was fair game in the summer, everyone's front yard open for a football game in the fall and winter. There were parties, cookouts and yard sales. When a hurricane rolled through town, everyone would help board up the windows. And in the eye of the storm, we'd all come outside just to make sure everyone else was okay.

Sure, there were some neighbors who were less than ideal. Like the kid who almost killed me with an arrow. Or the girl who did the "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" routine and immediately went and told her mom. But isn't all that alot better than what seems to be the norm now?

Experience tells me that fewer of you probably know your neighbors than your parents did. The question is why? Are people not as friendly now? Do people just avoid taking the time to know one another? Or are people just scared?

Posted by Chris at January 11, 2004 5:28 PM

I think our society has become more distrustful, more scared of our neighbors than in the past. Perhaps because abductions and rapes are reported more these days. That, coupled with the advent of the Internet means we are all a lot more reclusive physically. And, for some reason we have grown more self-absorbed, less interested in each other. Throughout the '80s we were really "Me" oriented and I am not sure that has ever gone away.

Posted by: Alicia at January 11, 2004 6:46 PM

Honestly, my neighborhood now is more friendly than my neighborhood growing up and I had a neighborhood like yours. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we are not only a condo-community but big enough to be our own borough. My mayor lives right down the road. We have parties for the complex,and although I may not know them by name, everyone says hello when passing you on the sidewalks, streets. I call it "Melrose Place", but I think it's friendlier than that.

Posted by: K at January 11, 2004 7:38 PM

I remember knowing most of my neighbors growing up. Being allowed to walk or ride my bike to my friends house when I was still in grade 1 or 2, even though she lived a fair ways away. Seems like people felt a lot safer back then, there was more trust and less suspision. I don't feel old enough to be able to "look back on a better time" heh guess I am though.

Posted by: Jaded Angel at January 11, 2004 8:32 PM

that's a good question. i remember that's how my childhood was also.

and i can honestly say i don't know MY neighbors...

very sad.

Posted by: tiffanie at January 11, 2004 10:23 PM

I have to say that it has changed. I think back to all the freedom of roaming the streets back and forth between friends houses when I was little, and all the little kids on the block running around playing in everyones yard. Nobody worried. Now I see for my younger sisters how different it is. The youngest is 11 and is not allowed to walk to school on her own yet. I did when I was her age. In my dads neighborhood the kids on the block still all play together outside but now it is more in one or two yards rather than the whole street.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 12, 2004 3:17 AM

Things really have changed. We used to run amuk all over the place with our friends. Everyone knew everyone else. What ever happened to back yard baseball games and broken windows? Games of tag and hide-and-go-seek?

Sadly, I know only two of my neighbors. Everyone seems to keep pretty much to themselves these days. I don't know if it's the stressors of working all the time or the fact that so many kids are latch-key or what. But it's a different world now. Very different. I wonder where all those wonderful neighborhoods have gone? Do they even exist anymore?

Posted by: seger at January 12, 2004 7:34 AM

I live in rural mid-America. Middle of the Heartland, 20 miles from the nearest small town of around 30,000. And at the end of my street there's a house that has now been condemned because it was being used to create meth. And the owner was a young mother with small children. We know all our neighbors, we get along and there is nothing we wouldn't do to help out any of them and they would do the same for us. There are very few families anymore that have a mother and a father. There are very few families that are not in some way involved with either drugs or alcohol. It's so sad, the America we grew up living in is the last of the Norman Rockwell type era. I'm so sorry we couldn't hang on to enough of that to pass to our children and grandkids because life as we knew it back then, has been overcome with apathy and self-centeredness and a loss of Christian values. Yes, there are still places where you can let your kids go and not worry, but I bet everyone of them has something like the meth lab lady. sigh. what a sad way to start a Monday...

Posted by: wlfldyz at January 12, 2004 8:20 AM

I'd say that depends. I've lived in at least 5 different places since leaving "home" and I never got to know any of my neighbors. but my friends who are the same age of me AND who have small children seem to know all their neighbors. maybe having kids somehow motivates you to get to know the people around you.

Posted by: liz at January 12, 2004 8:40 AM

well, i grew up in "da ghetto" and i knew as few of my neighbours as possible...and i don't want to know my neighbours now...they're kinda...strange...lol ;)

Posted by: azure at January 12, 2004 10:06 AM

Where is this neighborhood at? ;) I'm about to go house hunting, and it sounds like the perfect place!

Posted by: Christine at January 12, 2004 12:52 PM

I think it's a combination of people being too busy to meet their neighbors and society being less trustful.

As for us, we live in an apartment complex and we don't know any of our neighbors. The only family we even share "hi's" with is an Indian family that lives below us. Multiple generations live there, so we always see them hanging out. The grandmother is really nice.

Posted by: Dawn at January 12, 2004 5:51 PM

i don't know but by heck your right. Sad isnt it.

Posted by: Fluffy at January 12, 2004 5:51 PM

Interesting. I thought it was because my parents grew up with their "neighbors" but you know, I know ONE (well two if you count my sister's family) family in our entire area. I've met my neighbor once, we say hi, but thats about it.

Posted by: Rachel in Alaska at January 12, 2004 9:05 PM