Sunday, May 26, 2013

Old Friends and Former Neighbors

We were feeling nostalgic the other day, so we pulled into our old neighborhood, just to see how it looked 16 years after we built our "dream home" there.   Wasn't it Thomas Wolfe who said "you can never go home again"?  Was he ever right.   The neighborhood that was once vibrant and alive with beautifully manicured homes full of friendly faces was not to be found.  Houses were empty with newspapers for curtains, For Sale signs were a common sighting and lovely landscaped lawns were overtaken with weeds.  We drove from our cul de sac to the other one in the neighborhood, hoping to see some familiar faces out in their yard.  We were pretty close to one particular couple and wondered if they still lived in their home.  We had lost touch with them after we moved as people often do, but now I felt the urge to contact them and reconnect, especially after I saw what our subdivision had become.   The people in "our home" removed every tree and shrub that we had planted the first year we lived in our home.   We had a beautiful river birch and an ash tree, which had grown to amazing heights, but they were no more - gone, and for what reason?   Shrubs and beautiful hostas planted at the foundation, all gone.   Glorious, green sod replaced by hard clay and crab grass.   What had happened?  Could my former neighbors shed some light?   I needed to know.   We had spent thousands of hard earned dollars to make that house on the corner a beautiful home and now it was a shell of it's former self.   How sad and depressing.   Yes, I truly believe houses can be happy or sad and this one looked like it required some much needed therapy.   Well, when we returned home, I tried to contact our friends using the last phone number I had but all I got was a generic answering machine, the kind with the computer voice that you don't recognize and don't know if it even belongs to the people you're trying to reach.  It's Friday, said I.   They're probably working, I'll try again Saturday morning.   Guess what?   I got a human voice on the other end of the line.  It was the husband and he asked who was he speaking to and all I could do was laugh.   Well, anyone who knows me knows my laugh and that totally threw him a curve, he sounded totally perplexed and kept saying "no way, is it you, really you"????   I assured him it was and the next thing he said totally blew me away.   He said they were told I was dead, that I died a few years ago.    Dead, me?    I know I had battled the big "C" last year, but I didn't feel like I was even at deaths door.   When I assured him that the reports of my death were greatly exaggerated to quote Mark Twain, we both starting laughing hysterically.   His wife had just got out of the shower and he yelled to her "babe, you are NOT going to believe who I have on the phone".   He put me on speaker phone while I was laughing and she screamed, "Oh, my God, we thought you were dead".   I'm glad I called and set the record straight!!  Anyway, our plans are to get together with these old friends on Memorial Day for a cook out and we can't wait to visit and break bread with them and catch up on everything that's happened since we last saw them in 2009.   I promise to take pictures and report back on our much anticipated reunion!

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