Remembering the Old Hood

At dinner the other evening, some long time neighbors and I were recalling what our neighborhood was like when we moved in over 40 years ago. We all had young families with more children yet to be born. Many of us were Jewish and found it natural to bond with one another. The husbands held a variety of jobs, cut grass on the weekends and barbecued outdoors in the summer. Some liked to fix things around the house. Others watched T.V. while their wives yelled at them to fix things around the house. It was so typically 50’s America that we could have been the subject of a Rockwell painting.

All the mothers, many of whom had advanced degrees or skills that could have landed them good paying jobs, stayed home and raised kids. For outside stimulation, most volunteered to work for organizations, doing tasks for no money that others in the workplace were being paid to do. Working together for those organizations allowed many to develop even stronger, lasting friendships.

It was comforting back then to know that you had one neighbor or another with whom you could leave your kids for awhile. This made the kids who could continue to play with their friends happy, too.

Those same neighbors gathered together on Saturday nights for covered dish dinners, cookouts and light conversation. Frequently the conversations turned into vigorous disagreements about politics or religion, but everyone knew that, at the end of the evening, all would remain friends.

Most of my neighbors moved away many years ago. Only a handful with whom I enjoy an occasional covered dish dinner remain. We tend to laugh a lot on those evenings and occasionally disagree about politics or religion. Most of the time, however, we reminisce about how nice it was to live in our neighborhood 40 years ago.

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