LOUISE: Hello Neighbor!

This cold January weather brings some “moving” experiences to my mind. Though my family is far from nomadic, we have lived in 10 different houses during our 45 years of marriage. Our first move came when my husband Carl and I abandoned our tiny one-bedroom duplex in Tulsa for a 12’ x 52’ two-bedroom mobile home that sat between a creek that overflowed during heavy rains and the Arkansas River. My mother was certain her daughter would float away.

The move took place on our 2nd anniversary but since utilities weren’t on, we had to stay at a motel that cold March night. The motel attendant thought it strange that a young couple would want a room late at night, especially since Carl couldn’t remember our new address and wrote his parents’ address, which happened to be on Smith Street. Yep, Carl Jones on Smith Street, 10 p.m. and a young lady waiting in the car. Not a pretty picture to a motel manager in 1968. The last straw for Carl came when the man remarked about my tired husband’s “shiny new ring” (his wedding band of two years). Carl said, “I’ll get my wife out of the car. She’s eight months pregnant!” But before he got to the door the man handed over a key. An interesting memory to record in our scrapbook and eventually tell our son, Aaron who was born two weeks later.

Every move was memorable in its own way but one took place on New Year’s Eve, right here in Edmond, with some interesting results. Who would move on New Year’s Eve anyway with snow and cold weather? Well, we did and our friends Tom and Cheryl braved the elements and helped us move to our home in the Foxbriar addition. In those days (over 30 years ago) the little square of houses was in the country, sitting all to itself with only one entrance. No surrounding neighborhoods. Just open country on all sides—the reason we moved there. Problem was, you had to go up a hill to get out of the addition and January 1978, presented some major
weather challenges.

Our house sat at the bottom of that hill which proved to be a great way to meet new neighbors. Over and over stranded motorists knocked at our door, asking to use the phone—no cell phones in those days. I learned to keep a pot of coffee brewing and some homemade goodies around, not knowing who my guests might be on those cold, icy January days. Sometimes there would be more than one person sitting in my kitchen, sipping coffee while waiting for help or to have their cars towed. Some of those neighbors became long-time friends.

So it was only natural that many new neighborhood activities took place in our home for the first time. We started a bunco club, a neighborhood association and a monthly newsletter that my kids and their friends delivered. We had ceramic classes at another friend’s house and parades for most holidays. We lived in that cozy house and friendly neighborhood for 23 years and would have stayed longer had it not been for new housing additions crowding out our “country” perimeters, with builders cutting down huge old oak trees where my older children and their friends once built tree houses and a forested area where Jay and I used to walk which we called the Hundred
Acre Woods.

I’m glad we now have cell phones to call for help when we need it, but we still want good neighbors so I’m suggesting a simple New Year’s resolution. Let’s resolve to meet, greet and support our neighbors. When bad weather or hardships come, we need each other. My husband assisted many stranded motorists and I have learned first hand how helpful neighbors can be. And rest assured, whether you are the one giving or receiving, it’s a win/win situation!

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