The neighborhood I live in hasn't always been fabulous. We've had break-ins, loud neighbors, street fights, drug busts, prostitutes, even violence too close for comfort. However, our end of the street is much better than the other end and we have lucked out with some pretty fabulous neighbors.
The street we live on has always had a strong Italian history. Our house and many surrounding us were established in the 50's by Italian families and the heritage here is thick. As this older generation passed away or moved into nursing homes, their houses went up for sale and in the last few years it's slowly transferring over to predominantly rentals with a few strong holds keeping the street homey.
I think we've lucked out with our surrounding area and have quite a few good people around us to buffer the rest of the trouble.
Across the street we have a nice family who has made the biggest impact, I think. Dennis and Michelle live here with an ever-changing mixture of their 4 kids. Hannah, Lindsay, Sarah, and Adam. Their granddaughter, Gwen, is a few weeks younger than Nathaniel and they always loved to play together. They are a very sweet family. You can always see them helping out the neighbors. When Nate was born, Michelle brought over a present and she always ADORED the boys. She had such an infectious spirit and they loved her back. Sadly, Michelle passed away last Fall. She was in her 40's and had a brain aneurysm that took her far too early. She was a fabulous woman. Very kind and caring. High energy, and so sweet. Her license plate on her car said "2cis2luv". That pretty much sums it all up! More on this family at another time...
Gloria is a sweet old lady who lives across the street and is one of those strong holds I mentioned. She comes out and stands in her driveway from time to time and religiously drives to church every Sunday. She's always been very nice to us!
Mary lives next door and we rarely ever see her. She never comes outside and is seen once in a while pulling in or out of her driveway. I think I've had one or two conversations with her in the whole 6 years we've been there. She definitely minds her own business. She has been slipping, health-wise, in the last couple years. She hurt her back or knee or something and hasn't been able to mow her lawn in a while. Dave tries to keep up on it and keeps it in check. I worry about her once we're gone. Hopefully the kids across the street will help out without Michelle to prompt them.
*Update (7/7/10) - Since writing this TWO days ago, Mary has passed away. I arrived home from work today to find the Medical Examiner in her driveway. It seems she hadn't been seen in a few days and they found her in her house this afternoon. May Mary be in a better, pain-free, happy place.
The house on the other side of us has provided some serious entertainment over the years. It started as a nice gentleman who maintained the house very well. He apparently lost his job and the house went into foreclosure and that's when the "fun" began. After that an older woman bought the house for her alcoholic son, Ron, to live in. He provided years of interesting stories. That could be a post all its own! Sadly he passed away in the house, the mother went to an institution of some sort, and the house was sold to a landlord who rents it out to another couple now. I (sadly?) don't know their names but between Dave fighting with them about snow blowing their snow into Nate's windows and the incident where they shot at a woodchuck in their back yard in the middle of the day and put a bullet hole in our fence just inches from where my kids play, I have no interest in being friendly.
Ah, Ernie and Phyllis. Such dear, sweet people. Ernie would be the neighborhood busy body, I think. He always has to know what's going on and will often times come over to see Dave and ask him what was going on with cop cars or what to do about troublesome neighborhood hoodlums. He's great!
Good friends of ours, Tom and Amy, work with Dave at 9-1-1 and live kiddie corner from us. We talked about having them over all the time but it rarely happened. It was nice to have them there to keep an eye on things though. They'd stop over if they saw the garage door open or wave on their way out.
Intermingle in a few rentals with ever changing faces, loud music, and broken down cars, and you have our neighborhood. Out in the country I won't have many neighbors so I will certainly miss these!