Neighbors

Renee and I are on the final leg of a fantastic journey called life.  We’ve chosen to live out our lives in North Carolina and look forward to being active members of our over 55 community.  I had made a promise to myself years ago.  I promised to never be governed by an HOA (Homeowner’s Association) again.  I broke that promise when I moved to Heritage.  Let me explain:

My neighborhood in Illinois was governed by an HOA and neighborhood politics could get nasty.  Actually, nasty is not a strong enough word. Vicious is a better word.  At one HOA meeting, the board was impeached for building magnificent stone mailbox enclosures at both entrances.  Rumors of malfeasance were rampant as the disgruntled group went for the jugular with the intent of destroying the reputation of those who worked voluntarily on behalf of the neighborhood (the board). My good friends and neighbors were hurt and subsequently moved.

Oops, I’m living under an HOA again and I’m upset!   A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how special my new neighborhood was!  Most nights you can find groups of neighbors sitting on chairs on their driveways, sipping bourbon, conversing with each other and laughing.  Now, that’s the way you should spent your latter years, surrounded by friends.  Until tonight, I felt truly blessed.  I have spent many evenings on my neighbors’ driveways and very much can’t wait for our nightly foray.  I envisioned a time when we’d have block parties.  Setting up a progressive dinner is already underway.

I knew something was wrong as soon as I sat down.  Ms. “B” (for beautiful) was upset and talking about moving.  She had started the group and her driveway was set up as a porch, welcoming all.  As the story unfolded, “B” got a call from the HOA telling her she couldn’t keep her chairs on her driveway.  Apparently, a neighbor who chose to remain anonymous, reported her to the HOA; and, even though it’s not in the HOA rule book, the HOA put her on notice that she had to get rid of her chairs.

Here we go again!  My idyllic neighborhood is not so idyllic.  Why can’t people respect the needs of others?  Why can’t they talk to one another?  There are two sides to every story, aren’t there? I certainly would like to hear the other side.  Even better, I would love to have “Anonymous” join the group and voice his/her opinion openly.

Anonymous may not understand why “B” doesn’t simply keep her furniture in the garage.  Remember, we are a group of older individuals and moving furniture around on a daily basis is not as easy as it was 10 years ago.  I won’t go into specifics, but joint problems abound in my new community.  Right now, I feel like I’ve crawled out of the pan and into the fire.  Unfortunately, I know what it’s like living in a community where neighbors attack neighbors by throwing the HOA rule book at them.

I’ve met most of the people on my street and really thought Renee and I had lucked out.  I still believe we can turn our block into a unique place to live where neighbors talk to and live in harmony with each other.  A neighborhood of people who sit on their driveways and welcome all comers to their home. A neighborhood where people work together to come to an accord respecting each other’s individuality and property rights.

We are 55+ years and on the downside of life.  We should be enjoying what life we have left, not fighting over an HOA rulebooks.  Lately, I’ve been accused of being too negative.  Having met the residents of Manor Stone Way, I am optimistic that we have everything we need to create an idyllic community.  I don’t often quote the Bible but, “Love your neighbor as yourself” seems very appropriate.  At the very least, work at liking your neighbors by getting to know them.

Here’s your joke for today:

After downing half of his glass of milk, my ten-year-old son declared, “I am an optimist: “The glass is half empty!”

“Looking at the glass as half empty is a sign of pessimism, son,” I said.

He smiled and corrected me: “Not if you don’t like what’s in it!”

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One Reply to “Neighbors”

  1. Happens everywhere…North Barrington and Sun City in Huntley IL. One reason I am a loner and usually keep to myself.

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