Week 25. Neighbors. Who were your childhood neighbors? Have you kept in touch with any of them? Do you feel the concept of “neighbors” has changed since then?
I lived 3 different places as I was growing up. First was Mankato, Kansas. We lived just out side of town. Our house was about ½ mile from the road. Across the road, were the Walkers, they had 2 daughters, they were 5 or 6 years older than me, and 4/5 years younger than my brother and sister. I think they baby sat with me a few times, but that is really all I remember about this family. A mile or so down the road was the Scarrow family. They had Lloyd, Marjorie and Lynn. Since Lloyd was a classmate of my brother’s, and they meet almost every year for a class reunion, so there is still some contact with this family.
A couple of years ago, a new teacher came, in when I saw the name, I asked if she knew Lloyd. It happened that her husband was the son of Lynn. As he was the basketball coach, Lynn and his wife came down for a ball game, he and I reminisced about people from Mankato and Burr Oak that evening.
Another family lived about 5 miles away, but they were still neighbors and good friends. It was discovered we were neighbors when our mother’s were in the same hospital (in those days new mothers would stay in hospital 5-7 days). We visited back and forth; Gail and I played together, and started school together. Our family friendship continued after we moved to Burr Oak. They would come over for waffle and sausage suppers. After high school, Gail entered the Navy. When I was in college, I took one of my girl friends up to the area for a visit and we stopped in on the Badgers. It wasn’t long before Gail and Carolyn were seeing each other, when they announced their engagement, some of the parents were upset, because they always thought, he and I would get together. Gail died in a tragic accident, and his wife remarried. After Gail’s death I lost track of his family. I am still in contact with his wife as we were good friends in college as well.
Then in 1955 we moved to Burr Oak, again we were in the country. We were 1 of 5 families along this road. North of us, at the top of the hill, there was an older couple (in their 60’s). My parents would visit them on Saturday nights to play Canasta. They had a TV so I got to watch TV on those Saturday nights. Minnie had a parakeet. One of things I remember is Harry had ulcers, they would have him drink milk to help, but sometimes he would be doubled over because of the pain. (I know the treatment for ulcers has changed a lot since those days). After Harry passed away Minnie moved to town. Daddy and I would visit her after we had moved to Manhattan. My father bought an old clock (described in another post) from her, and now I have it. It will always remind me of the nights we visited their house.
Down the hill in the hollow was the Lowell McNichols family. They had 3 children when we moved there, a couple of years later they had another son. Another place I would go visit if I wanted to see TV, as we did not have our own set. This family was members of the Northbranch Friends Church; they would take me along for VBS and other special services at the church. Before we moved, Lowell had moved his house a couple of miles away.
Lowell’s mother and brother lived just down the road and across a small creek. Helen would let me stay at here house, if they folks were going to be late getting home. Merl, had Down’s Syndrome, he was a happy go lucky young man, and he loved music. I always enjoyed visiting and watching her tat, something I have wanted to learn, but never have. After we left, she and Merle moved to town, and I am not sure when they passed away.
Across the road from Helen was the Arnett family, they had a son Donald, and he was in my class in school. Mrs. Arnett gave me music lessons one summer. I would ride my bike down to their house, and then back up the hill. They were only there a few years, before they moved away.
In 1965 we made another move, this time to Manhattan, Kansas. We lived just a few blocks from the KSU campus. Our neighbors were the Quinlans, and Mrs. Barr. Mr. Quinlan was a retired horticulture professor. Mrs. Barr was in her 80’s when we moved there. She was getting close to 100 when she died.
Many of the neighbors of my youth were older, and when they passed away there wasn’t any family to keep in touch with. Our neighbors were not necessarily next-door or around the corner, they might be classmates, or friends met at church or other group meetings.
2 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.
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