Wednesday, March 11, 2015

You Like Me...You Really LIKE Me!

It was a long time ago.  Decades, actually.  I don't even remember what started it, but there was a neighborhood kerfuffle.  Nasty words were said and I was told (among other things) "Nobody in this neighborhood likes you."
I had been so happy to move to a smaller town, envisioning coffee klatches with my neighbors, borrowing sugar, block parties, etc.  After being told nobody liked us (because we didn't have a well manicured yard), with my perennial low self esteem, it was just the deterrent I needed to avoid the neighbors.  

At that time, the mayor lived across the street and threw a big neighborhood party every year.  I couldn't face the neighbors that year and didn't go, because I knew nobody liked me.  It might have blown over and I might have gone the following year, but she died during the year and there were no more parties.

There was a brief detente the year there was a terrible traffic accident that set a house on fire and killed a pet...and nearly killed a child.  The whole neighborhood came together to work on the traffic problem, but once a decision had been made, we went back to our homes again.  No coffee klatches here.

There was the time, years after the incident, when I went to a parents meeting with someone who was a neighbor.  She sat as far away from me as she could, and when information needed to be passed to parents instead of calling me or knocking on the door, she put a notice in my mail box.

And then there was David's death, when we had cards and letters and food flooding in from everyone in town, except our neighbors.  I think one person in the neighborhood expressed condolences.  Two or three came around after Paul's death.

I have jokingly referred to myself as the neighborhood pariah and accepted that long ago.  It doesn't sting as bad as it used to.  But 42 years without feeling a part of the neighborhood....

Today I was working in my office and the front doorbell rang.  Walt went to answer the door.  He was gone awhile and then came into my office and handed me a big envelope. He said it had been a neighbor at the door.  On the envelope was written "Bev and Ned."  "How nice," I thought.  "They must have contributed to the St. Baldrick's fund," and was touched.

Then I opened the envelope and I started crying.  It was a card signed by all of our neighbors.  Added to the card was written:
As your neighborhood friends, we support you and Ned in your commitment to bring awareness to cancer research.
The card was filled with money.  $140 in cash and $110 in checks.  I couldn't believe it.

I raced out of the house to catch the woman who had brought the card.  I found her in her driveway and I gave her a big hug, tears running down my face.  I have never been touched by anything so much in long time.

With those donations, Ned and I have now collected more than $3,000. If I was humbled when we hit $2,000 I can't even explained how I feel tonight. 

In addition to this wonderful donation from our neighbors, a package came from Mary Z, who comments on this journal periodically.  She sent me 4 caps she had knitted (so my mother doesn't have to see my bald head).

People are so incredibly thoughtful, kind, and generous.  They say I'm "brave" to get my head shaved.  Heck, that's easy and it will grow back, but all of these wonderful people who have given me support are the special ones.  Two more days till shaving day!