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From Yesterday to Today: Someone's Knockin' at the Door

A Long Time Ago

I was eight, maybe nine, back sixty years, give or take a Christmas, and the measles struck.

Knocked me on my butt for two weeks.

Not terribly unique, me being down sick as a kid. I was sick an ungodly amount back then, the flue, measles, bad colds, aches and pains and fevers followed me for the first twelve years of my life, truth be told. It got so bad one year they threatened to hold me back a grade at St. Patrick’s School. My parents and the principal, Sister Mary Catherine, had a long discussion about that topic, “Billy needs to catch up soon, work harder, make up for lost time, tote that barge and lift that barrel, “ and “you can count on it, Sister, he’ll get ‘er done, no worries about Billy.”

And I did get it done, but it was a struggle for a number of years, always playing catch-up, you know?

Anyway, this one year, I was down with the measles, one sick little buckaroo, Dad off at work and Mom home taking care of me, and on the second day of the measles there was a knock on the door.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Who Was It, Mom?

Mom answered, I could hear from the back bedroom, talked awhile with Mrs. Mertz, one of our neighbors, German lady with seven kids of her own, big-boned, strong personality, hard edges but a heart of gold, and soon after I heard the door close and Mom came into my bedroom holding five new comic books.

“Look what Mrs. Mertz brought for you, “ she said, and put them on the bed next to me, Batman, Superman, Archie, all of my favorites, all new issues.

The next day same scenario, door knocked upon, short conversation, Mom coming to me with a pot of chicken noodle soup, a gift from Mrs. Lerum, across the alley, young, pretty housewife, truth be told I had a crush on her, and the next day more comics from Sally Norlin across the street, and a couple puzzle books on Day Five from Mrs. Gordon.

When the going gets tough . . .

The Neighborhood Pipeline

Now I want you to stop and think about what happened during those two weeks, long ago, because I think, compared to current times, it was pretty remarkable. I came down with the measles. Phone calls were placed. Neighbors visited out in their yards. Within forty-eight hours those same neighbors were planning their gifts for the sick little boy on the corner of 18th and Monroe, and for the next week those gifts were delivered and phone calls were constantly made checking up on that little boy.

It was like that back in my neighborhood, back in the Fifties and Sixties. People watched out for each other. We had a Neighborhood Watch before Neighborhood Watches were a thing. I would walk a block to my buddy Karl’s house and six neighbors knew where I was. We would start up a game of ball on the empty lot, and kids would just appear because word spread through the grapevine. That’s just the way it was. We knew who was sick. We knew who was having a tough time at school. We knew when there were deaths and weddings and victories and defeats.

When I was twelve, and I remember this like it was yesterday, I won Most Valuable Player on my Little League baseball team, and I hadn’t been home an hour with that trophy when people were knocking on our door and calling us up to congratulate me. Truth! Adults taking time from their lives to congratulate a skinny twelve-year old on his victory – blew me away then, and blows me away more now.

Sickly kid!

Sickly kid!

Lend a Hand

Dad out front building a rockery; big dump truck dropping off a load of landscape rock; lift by hand, adjust positions to make them secure; back-breaking work, for sure, and on the second day two neighborhood fathers came over and started lifting rocks and fitting them in position. No one asked them to help. No way Dad would ever ask for help, but asking wasn’t necessary in that neighborhood at that time.

Mrs. Hoffman, widow, down with a broken ankle, neighbors taking turns mowing her lawn, bringing the mail to her daily, other moms bringing prepared meals to her, the Pipeline functioning quite nicely.

My dad dies, January of ’69, a veritable flood of well-wishes and caring hearts surround us, prop us up, and help us to function until we are ready to resume living.

That’s just the way it was, no romanticizing, no hype, just the facts, thank you very much.

My hero!

My hero!

And I Think of Today

Truth: I do not know the names of two of the five families on our block. I know three of the six across the street. They’ve all been there at least ten years and yet I’m clueless. I’ll wave when I see them outside, while I walk by with the dogs. I’ll offer small talk (how ya doing? Nice day, ‘eh? Hope it doesn’t rain), but actual conversation? An actual connection?

I’ve dropped the ball. That’s on me, and all the rationalization in the world can’t change that. I can hide behind my introverted nature all I want, but I was a shy introvert back in the 60’s, too, and that didn’t stop me from being part of the 18th Street Pipeline.

I’ve dropped the ball, plain and simple!

And you know what?

So have a lot of other people in this village of 350 million we call the United States.

I Think About Things

How did that happen? When did so many become isolated? Why did that happen? When did so many become so absorbed with their personal stuff that they lost the willingness and ability to bond with their neighbors?

Of course there are some of you who know your neighbors and have a good relationship with them, but I’ll bet you are a small percentage of the whole, and I wonder how it became the norm that we shrink our contact with those around us.

And I wonder if COVID-19 will change all that. I wonder if we all will begin to care more about each other. I wonder if we will all begin to see the wisdom in connections rather than isolation.

I wonder!

I really try to avoid sounding like an old man tenaciously holding on to the past. I really do. I don’t have a vendetta against the present. I rather like technology, and I embrace many of the changes which are happening. But I also think there were things which happened fifty, sixty, one-hundred years ago, which were important parts of our socialization and growth as a country, and I think they need to reappear.

I think we need each other. I think we need connections. We need to feel like we are part of a bigger picture. Man is a pack animal. We function at our peak performance, as a species, when we are bonding with others, and I’m not talking about the social media bonding everyone embraces. That’s surface connection, not real connection, much too easy and carries no risk at all, the perfect way for a convenience society to form bonds with the consistency of ready-mix cement with too much water added.

Can You Hear It?

There’s a knock on your door. Someone wants you to answer the knock. Someone wants to be allowed entry.

Will you answer? Will you embrace the opportunity? Will you become part of the new pipeline?

Will you?

I have no answers to the questions I’ve raised, but I believe them to be important questions worth a ponder or two. I certainly not pushing any agenda. I’m just tossing noodles against the wall and waiting to see which of them stick.

Just random thoughts and observations from the front porch of a home many years in the rearview mirror.

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping human beings to spread their wings and fly.”

H.O.W. (Humanity One World)


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 09, 2020:

You are a good man, Chris! I'm in no position to judge anyone about anything. lol I'd be afraid they might look closely at my history.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on June 08, 2020:

I first read your comment to me as , "Chris, You ARE a hermit." I deflated. I thought, "No, that is not what I want." Thank you for seeing deeper into people than they can see into themselves. I'll be me. It's all I can be.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2020:

Chris, you aren't a hermit. I know you are in contact of some people from time to time. It is in those moments of contact that we help to change the world, or so I believe. :) Keep being you, buddy.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on June 07, 2020:

Love each other. Do good. Give. Be a friend. But my tendency is to quarantine even when it isn't necessary. How can you change a world when it is made up of folks like me?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 02, 2020:

Mike, those two words make my blood boil. Its' like acceptable collateral damage in the military. What the hell?

I chuckled about your neighbors. Good luck with that, buddy.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 01, 2020:

Hello Bill. We have come a long way. Much of the distance misdirected. You capture the times we where united well.

The other day I heard the term 'human capitol' enough to make my blood steam.

I am starting a new get to know my neighbors program, the moment I have neighbors..

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 01, 2020:

Genna, you are a good person, a caring person, and a loving person. I'm happy we connected through HP, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 01, 2020:

I am in complete agreement, Dora. We all lose when we shut people out, me thinks.

Thanks as always!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on June 01, 2020:

I had the measles as well. Not pleasant. I remember I had to wear sunglasses and shade the blast of sunlight from the front windows of my bedroom. Mum read me stories from my books (I loved my books...I had to know how to read before I was allowed to watch television), and kept me well supplied with ice cream and goodies family friends and neighbors were kind enough to bring.

Your wonderful story brings back memories of a better time, when neighbors and friends actually did look out for each other. Where did it go? Where did we go?

"I think we need each other. I think we need connections. We need to feel like we are part of a bigger picture." So very true, Bill! Especially today. :-)

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 31, 2020:

The research shows that similar to your situation, people nowadays know a smaller percentage of their neighbors than they used to know. Most spend their time indoors leaving less time to talk over the fence. Also people are far less caring than previously. Quite a loss to our personal lives as well as to our community.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2020:

Thanks William! I'm going to go meet a new one today, by golly! Challenge taken!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2020:

We can always do our part to change things, Linda. I've got faith in us.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2020:

It sure is rare, Nithya. I wonder if we can change it, each one of us, one person at a time?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2020:

You are so kind, Sha! I feel the same about you, you know? I hope you do.

Toby for sure! That's what I told her, too. And the sequel? I'm writing it in my head right now. I may move it up to the next in line after I finish this latest Shadow. I have a hankerin' to write about Sheila again. :)



Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2020:

Denise, you and my wife are two peas in the same pod. She cannot say no to a salesperson who comes to the door. Costs us money when she answers a knock. lol

Blessings always


William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on May 31, 2020:

Times certainly have changed, Bill. Sad to say, I don't know my neighbors as well as I should. Thanks for the challenge. May we see it through.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 30, 2020:

This is an interesting article, Bill. It got me thinking about my childhood. There was a closeness in the neighborhood that I don't experience today. It's a sad change.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 30, 2020:

Those were the days when people cared for and helped each other. Today people are not willing to come forward and get to know who lives next door or across the street. If we are lucky, we may find neighbors who become friends, which is rare nowadays.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 30, 2020:

Message relayed, Bill. Paula has on her long skirt and a blue flower in her hair. She's waiting for us to pick her up. With Delilah as the navigator, we're sure to have a pleasant and eventful ride.

BTW, have you been working on the sequel?

Another BTW: When I read Lora's question to you on your latest Mailbag, my mind croaked through my mouth, "Resurrecting Tobias". I'm so fortunate to have known you as long as you've been on HP and to have become friends outside this webpage. I'm honored to have met you, Bill. And I'm happy to call you a true friend.

Love ya, Bud!


Denise McGill from Fresno CA on May 30, 2020:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I know I'm too sensitive and kindhearted and don't want to answer the door in case it might be another salesman. I can't seem to turn them down. It breaks my heart. I always buy the girl scout cookies and whatever wrapping paper the school down the street is selling now. I can't help myself. But I hate that the neighbors come and go in this apartment complex so fast that I barely got to know their names before another family moves in. We just don't plant roots the way we used to.



Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 30, 2020:

Sha, you crack me up. I'll have to go out into the garage and see if the engine will even turn over. If it does I'll call you. Deal? Tell Paula I send my love. Delilah is all set to fly.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 30, 2020:

Mary, best wishes to you. I'm not sure it will ever revert back to the way it once was, but it's up to me to at least try to be more social.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 29, 2020:

Bill, society certainly has changed. There are three houses on my street where we do what your neighbors did for you when you a little boy. We mow each other's lawns, we share home grown food, and do whatever one or the other of us needs. However, there are eight dwellings on our road and only three of those dwellings share camaraderie, concern, and friendship.

The other day Paula and I were having a conversation. I told her we need to organize a love-in. "How do we do that?" she asked. My response was this: "Simple. We gather all our hippie friends and protest singers of the '60s and '70s and hop on board the 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today, spreading love and peace around the world. I'll call Bill and tell him to get the shuttle ready."

Whaddya think, Bill? Ready to fire it up?

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 29, 2020:

You made me think of when I was growing up and we knew everyone and looked out for each other. We have a bit of this in our cottage area having known our neighbors for many, many years but once back in the city, it is a bit difficult. We are more suspicious of people when we don't know them and we also don't bother to really know them. Time to make a difference.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 29, 2020:

I don't either, Bill! Times they are a'changin', for better or for worse. Thanks for weighing in on this.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 29, 2020:

Heidi, it's an interesting dynamic, and I appreciate your honest appraisal. Obviously, even though I was raised in a very caring neighborhood, I have chosen, as an adult, to separate myself from close relationships. I don't feel bad about it; it's just who I am now and that's all right!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on May 29, 2020:

While I can say that we have some very good neighbors it’s just not the same today as it was in the 60s and 70s when I grew up. Some of my parents best friends were their neighbors and I can’t say the same today. As kids we were outside a lot playing and I see much less of that today. Perhaps it’s due to technology or protective parents who want to know exactly where their kids are at all times? No matter the reason I don’t see things returning to the way they once were.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

Susan, thanks for weighing in. It's an interesting change in society, and I suspect we will never again see the neighborhoods you and I grew up in, and that truly is sad.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I wonder when they will reappear, Meg, or if they ever will. I hope this forces us all to reach out and form a village, you know?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

Very true, Rajan! I'm not sure if these changes are good for society, but there is no denying they are our reality now.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

Thank you, Lora, for sharing your thoughts. If you lived in Olympia, I would say hello always. :) We could walk dogs together and force others to say hi to us as we passed. lol

I hope you are well. Stay safe, and thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

MizB, as always, it's good to hear your thoughts. All of our family is in this area, so we are never really alone and I don't see us moving in this lifetime. I like this house. I like my life. Uprooting at this point makes no sense to me at all, and thankfully Bev is onboard with that thinking.

All is well, my friend, and whatever the new normal becomes, we will be fine. Blessings to you always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

You might have hit the nail on the head, John! We are all too busy trying to get ahead, and we are leaving very important stuff behind. Thanks for stopping by.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

It is sad, Flourish, and I really don't see an end to this strife in the near future...if in my lifetime at all.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

That is a great hope to cling to, John. I'm glad to hear you haven't been touched personally by all of this. It's the same with us, but the trouble is swirling all around us here in Washington.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

Manatita, I'll go to my grave believing we are much more alike than different, and love binds us all together. Thank you sir!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I reckon I'll do my best, Eric, and that will have to be good enough. The country doc, eh? That's a job of love for sure. I see where you get it, buddy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I hope so too, .Shannon, although I love that you see your state as one where people still hold onto manners and helping each other. I want to think that of our community; the jury is still out on that. lol I hope you are well, my fellow introvert.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 28, 2020:

When I lived in Chicago as a kid in the 60s & 70s, the community scenario that you described was already gone. We barely knew our neighbors. I think it might be a city thing. Maybe it was my parents' wariness since they came from small town roots.

When I officially became a suburbanite, it wasn't much different. Although now I have made "go to hang out" friends with a couple of the neighbors in our area. We're texting and calling until this is over. But otherwise it's the same as always with everyone else. Just friendly greetings, small talk. And that's okay. There are lots of wonderful people in our area.

In all honesty, it might be me. I don't feel that neighbors, random people who just decided to buy or rent a property near me, have any understanding of who I am. I don't expect them to understand me either. Being courteous and friendly is all I expect of them.

But online? I've found the community that understands me. So even though it's not a physical community, in mind and spirit it is.

Glad we have this community that you've helped make possible. Thanks for being there for us!

Susan Sears on May 28, 2020:

Wow, Billy you really nailed that one - I too was a child of the '60s and remember well the pipeline on my Detroit Street, Strasburg - we knew all the neighbors and as a four-year-old, I could go from house to house without a care in the world. I also, barely know my neighbors on a street that I have lived more than 10 years - it really is sad.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

Exactly, Devika. I think it is the same worldwide, that feeling of closeness in a community when people risk coming together.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I hope so too, Mary. And best wishes to you in Brazil. I hope things get better there soon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I agree with you, Imogen. This crisis is bringing people together and it is nice to see. But will it last?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I'm with you, Ruby! I miss having close friends too. They have all died or moved away. Part of it is my fault. I haven't tried very hard for close friendships.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I completely agree with you, James. I have not seen this kind of division in this country since thee 60's and Vietnam and the Civil Rights protests. We need to find some way to come together.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on May 28, 2020:

Yes, you're right. I know all my immediate neighbours and have offered to provide food for the man across the street whose wife died a few weeks ago. But his daughter is coming down regularly so he's good at the minute. A number of neighbours have disappeared behind their doors with covid.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 28, 2020:

You made me go into flashback myself and I see the same situation here. I believe it is very much the same the world over. Times have changed a lot, unfortunately some good things have been lost to progress, as we see it termed, which I just hope is not forever.

Lora Hollings on May 27, 2020:

I love your reflections on the past, Bill, and what it was like growing up in the fifties and sixties. I grew up in the sixties and seventies and I notice such a difference in peoples' attitudes and behavior then as opposed to now. Neighbors inviting one another for a backyard cookout, watching the fireworks together, going to school concerts together, inviting each other to their children's graduation parties and ice cream socials. I have to say, I often think about those days and wish that those friendly neighbors existed in the neighborhood that I live in now! I'm one of the very few that walks my dogs and I rarely even see a person outside of their home. Most people seem to stay indoors here and they just don't make an effort to get to know anyone. I often wondered if I was completely alone and needed help, what would I do? Like you, I feel like something vital is missing and I hope that when this covid-19 is over, that we can begin again by going back to a time when people really connected with one another and you felt what it was like to be part of a community. I hope that we can build those kinds of bonds again. Thank you, Bill, for sharing your thoughts and wishes for a better tomorrow.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 27, 2020:

Dear Bill, all this reminiscing brought tears. I don't want to live in the past, but I certainly miss some of its graciousness. We didn't just know the neighbors on our block. Coming from a small town of 4,500 then, everybody knew everybody for miles around. And back then, whether or not it took a village, a village did raise the children.

We've been in our present home for 26 years, and we still hardly know anybody. It's partly because, of the friends we made when we first moved into this neighborhood, most have moved away. We no longer have the neighborhood watch to help us get acquainted with the new ones. But alas, there's a group online called Neighborhood, and I've had a couple of posters from my street tell me they would help keep watch on my house after I'd complained that someone let the air out of my tires on Saturday night. Bless their hearts.

I think this problem started when jobs split the family unit and everybody moved to "better themselves." Also, we no longer live in clans. I find myself and Larry alone in this city now with no family unit here. My granddaughter suggested that we move to be close to her family and her dad (my son) and mom, but we don't want to uproot and move to Texas. Stubbornness on our part, I guess, but we own our home outright and there's no way we can afford anything comparable there with real estate being what it is. We don't want to start over.

But I don't think things will go back to normal after CV-19. I think survivors will have to adjust to the "new normal."

John Brown on May 27, 2020:

Your personal story is encouraging, and shows that with support we can always pull through difficulties. I am guilty of social isolation and think it is time we start embracing physical connections. My thoughts though, too much concentration on material gain have cost the traditional interactions.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 27, 2020:

Very nostalgic, Bill. I’m not sure if this pandemic will change things. The political strife and racial divisiveness seem to really divide right now and we would need a common purpose and vision for pulling together even for a small period of time. Sad.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 27, 2020:

I know where you are coming from Bill. Growing up we knew everyone in our street and most others close by. Now, I only know the name of one neighbour, and only have casually occasional conversation with him and one other.

We do have other friends here but not in the immediate vicinity. Though, I do find this a very friendly town. People will say “hi” when you pass them in the street and those who work in the stores, banks, hotels, cafes etc are very polite and friendly.

The virus hasn’t had a lot of impact here other than observance of social distancing and some businesses being closed. Hopefully, we all emerge from this more accepting and appreciative for what we have though.

manatita44 from london on May 27, 2020:

One world all right, lest we forget. We are all inter-dependent. Never mind, Love has sent a 'friend' to teach us. In spite of your struggles, you did learn at school, so let's hope we do. Peace Bro.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 27, 2020:

Bill I got a happy and a chuckle from the start. My Dad was the country doc and my mom a nurse. We got sick and neighbors would bring their kids by to get it with us --- better the devil you know I reckon.

'round here I swear ain't no pipline leaving the station. Be as good to yourself as you are to all of us -- tall damn order.

Shannon Henry from Texas on May 27, 2020:

Aw, you made me tear up a little here, Bill. Several thoughts were going through my mind as I read this. I am naturally more introverted, too, so I get what your point about dropping the ball and hiding behind it. I was having similar thoughts just last night. In the past, I was isolated more by circumstance and bad decisions than by choice. Although, I suppose I can say that choice had a major role in that.

It's nice to know my neighbors as more than a casual hello every now and then. However, nice as that is, I also can't really be friends with my immediate neighbors because we are the property managers and it creates problems. I do have a couple that I consider friends and yet I know in the back of my mind that friendship could easily end if we are put in a position where we have to treat them like every other tenant. And we do. When people don't like what we have to do, they tend to not like us. That's the norm of it. If all is well, we're all right, but if it's not well, it's usually means anger directed at us. Mostly for just doing our job.

On the other hand, it all makes me grateful to live in a state where waving at strangers and holding doors is still the norm. Offering to assist people who don't ask for help isn't that far out of the norm here. Even during this pandemic. Sure, there's social distancing and some people wearing masks, but common courtesy isn't completely over. I wondered about that when it all started and we'd see people walking, carrying bags of groceries. Used to be that they'd be offered a ride by at least one person with no questions asked. I think it will go back to that eventually, though. At least I hope so.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 27, 2020:

It is great to know of such experiences when growing up it makes me think of mine. Often a small event made me excited and fun to be with friends.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on May 27, 2020:

Times have changed to be sure. It is good to have that wider support group to call on when necessary. My mother lived in a cul-de-sac for 40 years. Many of her neighbors were there before her. Everyone looked out for each other and it was a comfort to know people were keeping an eye on her.

I hope this crisis will bring people together even after life returns to normal.

Imogen French from Southwest England on May 27, 2020:

Food for thought indeed. It sounds like you were raised in a wonderful neighbourhood and I too mourn the loss of such a society. However in the modern world of transient workers and a faster pace of life many such communities have been lost. There has been a glimmer of hope though, through the current Covid-19 crisis, and many people have been looking out for each other, being generally more caring and neighbourly. It's a shame it takes a crisis, but I just hope it contines.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2020:

What wonderful neighbors, Pamela. Cherish them for sure. They are few and far between these days.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 27, 2020:

Bill, I can relate. I well remember when we didn't lock our door's. We shared with others. This was in the 40's and 50's. We lived close to the railroad and bums found out that my mother always had something for them to eat. They sat out on the porch, I was a kid. but I loved hearing their stories. I am friendly with my neighbors, but I don't know how they feel about anything, of course they all work away from home. Ray's son and his wife were here last Sunday, they both had on masks and stayed at least 6 ft. from us. They wouldn't come in the house, they said that they just dropped by to say hello. I wonder if we will ever go back like it used to be? I miss having close friends. I loved your lookback at the good ole days.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2020:

I suppose that's it, Ann, although if you met me in person you wouldn't know how hard it is for me to be social. I dive right in with conversation if cornered. lol


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2020:

I knew you would remember, Linda! We both grew up in the same situation at the same time, and we've both seen the same changes over time. I miss those days.

James C Moore from Joliet, IL on May 27, 2020:

We have become too tribal as of late. You can't put that on technology such as Facebook and other internet sources. Those are just the means by which today's tribe mentality is expressed. I was born in the '60s. I began the '70s in grade school and ended as a high school senior. I enjoyed a variety of "networks", my church, the "Y", family, scouts, school and yes the neighborhood. We weren't all the same race, religion, economic status and political party but we could get along. Why? Because when you know people personally, you know their differences doesn't make them the Devil. That's my rant. Peace be with you.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2020:

I remember good neighbor experiences when I was young as well. A few months back peopel bought the house across the street from us. They were very friendly and my husband baked an apple pie for them around Thanksgiving as a wecome gift.

They have brought dinners over for us several times. We just love these neighbors. They have 2 adorable children who made a get well card for me and they brought a gorgeous bouquet of flowers over for me after my 5 day stay in the hospital for pneumonia. Sometime the 8 year old girl will bring out mail to us. It is such a pleasure to have thoughtful neighbors like them. We should all act that way and what a better world it would be.

Ann Carr from SW England on May 27, 2020:

It always surprises me when you say you are reserved and retiring in character, because when you write you are open, friendly, helpful, considerate and humorous. I suppose it's easier on paper than in person, when strangers are involved, is that it?

Anyway, I loved this and I thank you for sharing your memories.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2020:

Wouldn't it be nice, Rosina? We can only hope it returns.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2020:

Ann, thank you! I think we need a little bit more innocence. I would love it if there was a desire to grow closer. I'm not sure that there is. Of course, I have work to do on my own shut-in behavior, so I'm careful not to blame others. :)


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2020:

I agree with you, Liz, about lockdown. I don't have an answer about where it all has gone, but I miss it.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 27, 2020:

Bill, I grew up in a neighborhood much like yours, on the south side but the same town, same time, and same sort of people. Like you I wonder what changed? What happened to separate us from each other, so put up the walls and barriers?

I know my 3 closest neighbors; I know every inch of their homes and they know mine. We've been here almost 30 years. But the others? I don't even know their names. That's on me. We all need each other.

Rosina S Khan on May 27, 2020:

I agree that actual conversations and pipeline functioning have gone rare nowadays. More of these should happen to make our lives lively and real. Great hub, Bill!

Ann Carr from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Funny how our latest articles have a connection! Yes, it was neighbours and friends making sure all was well, wasn't it? I remember similar instances when I lived in a small village. I wondered later why Mum and Dad weren't particularly worried about me going off on my bike or round to a friend's but now I realise that the network of neighbours was flourishing nicely - better than our www!

We are lucky in our neighbourhood but I know others who don't have any connection with their neighbours, in the bigger cities mostly. I do hope that we've gained from our recent experiences and that we return to valuing that sort of thing more highly.

Great reminiscences, bill. It took me back to innocence and playtime and I like that!


Liz Westwood from UK on May 27, 2020:

This is a challenging and thought-provoking article. I love your reminiscences about the neighbourhood community of your youth. Where has all that gone? I think we have all got busier and caught up in our own lives too much. In some ways lockdown has seen some positives of neighbours checking on others that they hardly know, offering to run errands for them.

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