View from Hickory Heights: Having good neighbors

Through the years we have been on friendly terms with our neighbors. For years there was something known as the “Friendly Neighbor Club”. I was around when the club celebrated its 75th anniversary. The club was made up of neighbors and former neighbors. When people moved away, they longed to maintain the ties that they had to this neighborhood.

In the early days it took place in the afternoon. Mothers brought their preschoolers along. When I first joined it was still in the afternoon. Since I was teaching school, I was unable to go except during the summer months.

I recall excusing myself to nurse a baby that first year. Club was at Mamie’s house and she had plenty of room so that I could be off on my own.

I am not sure just when, but eventually it switched to become an evening gathering. That left me out completely because I had two small youngsters. I could not afford to get a babysitter every month, so I just dropped out for a while.

I rejoined when the children were able to stay home on their own. I think by then our son was helping his dad do chores and our daughter was fixing the lunches for the next day.

Most of us did not get out a lot. We looked forward to club meetings to catch up on neighborhood gossip. When a member or family member died, the club collected money to send flowers. There was a card secretary who sent out birthday cards, anniversary cards, and get-well cards. God bless Barb Carlson who held that position as long as I can remember. She never forgot anyone.

When the Fullers entertained, they always fixed some fancy things. They so enjoyed entertaining. When my mom had to go to a nursing home for rehabilitation, upon my urging, she was placed with Talitha Fuller. When the lady asked if they knew each other, I said no. but that they knew people in common. It ended up to be a beneficial relationship. When she found out that my mother was leaving that spurred her on to be able to return to her home as well.

All three of them came to my mother’s funeral. I cried when I saw them because I knew it was not easy for them to get out.

After my husband died, I maintained a relationship with the Carlsons who live below me. I visited with them about once a month. That helped me so much. It got me out of the house and gave me different people to visit with. They even spent Christmas Eve with our family for many years. The last time they were with us Jack took a family photo for a new frame that I received as a gift.

The Peterson’s built a house next door. We really enjoyed them. They had several children who went to school with our children. Nights we would get together informally at each other’s homes. The children usually gathered in one house and the adults went to the other house. That was the era of Trivial Pursuit. We often played and nibbled on veggies and dip or some other goodies. Sometimes a couple of their golfing buddies were there too.

During the winter we often went sledding down in our fields. We would take our skis and sleds and have a great time. After a couple hours on the slopes, we usually came here for cocoa and cookies. Sometimes we put together our food and had supper together. Those were certainly fun times.

I was sad when they moved away. We knew that Roger got sick and had surgery after they moved. Early one morning our doorbell rang. As I answered I was not sure if I knew the guy who was standing there. Once he opened his mouth, I knew it was Roger. Sherrie lost Roger this past year. Every once in a while, I see the kids on Facebook so I kind of keep up with them that way.

Now we have connected with the people who recently purchased their home. We exchange visits. They come to our church dinners. I was anxious to see the improvement they made to the house. They added on a wing that made the house larger. Hopefully, we can be as good friends with them as we were with the Petersons.

I love living out in the country. Don has adjusted. This was different for him since he lived in Russell after he married. Before that he lived in the country, too. I love the peace and quiet, but I also love the way the neighbors interact.

When I think back to that “Friendly Neighbor Club” I picture the ladies that were part of it. Everyone took a turn to entertain – even me when I lived in the trailer. That made my country living a completely unique experience. Most of those ladies are gone now, but I wish I could thank them for their part in making my country living experience a good one.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.


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