Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tie-Dyed Talent and a Little History






Hey, I don't want to be prideful or to make you experience the sin of covetousness, but we do live on the greatest street in town; simply stating the facts here. Tonight was the first annual "Our Street" Talent show and BBQ, and we had a blast! The talent show was planned by neighborhood kids with scheduled rehearsals and the final show tonight. We parents were only responsible for the food for the BBQ afterwards, and of course, the cheering and applauding.

There were music acts, dancing acts, skits, sing-alongs, and of course, the Macarena with audience participation. What a riot! :-) The older kids weren't asked to be in it this year as the talent show was planned by the younger kids, but I think we may have them interested enough to participate next year. I know it will come back bigger and better, so I'll be looking forward to it.

One of the reasons that we bought our home originally was the fact that we wanted to raise our children in an "old-timey" neighborhood. Ours is a neighborhood where some of the original owners still live in their 1920's to 1950's houses. The house directly across the street was built in the 1940's (the original owner/builder still lived there when we bought our house) and the current owner is only the third owner! The second owner of that house moved two doors down to her grandmother's house, so they're still in the neighborhood.

Our house was built in 1927, and it used to be on the edge of town. My father-in-law delivered the local newspaper to this house when he was a boy, and he remembers that the street ended at our house with a field immediately beyond it. Believe it or not, we are only the third family to live in this house.

The neighbors next door (the ones who hosted tonight's talent show) used to deliver the local paper to the house that he now lives in; the original owner sold it to him partly because she was glad that someone with a connection to the house bought it. So, you can see the longevity of those who live here. We're not a transient people on this street.

That's one of the wonderful things about my neighborhood; there is a history here. Generations have grown up riding their bikes up and down this street, babies have been born, elderly neighbors have passed away, remodels and additions have been done, sons have gone off to war, children have graduated from high school and college, families have walked to downtown for an after-dinner ice cream, generations have listened to the Friday night high school football games being announced from the loud speakers in the fall, and mostly, families have simply called the houses on this street "home." Heck, we've even had the same mail carrier for all the years we've lived here, and he doesn't want to give up his route! The couple at one house has a cup of tea waiting for him each day; another individual leaves packs of gum for him every other day; and I think he makes out like a bandit at Christmas time! :-)

One of the things I first loved when looking at this house was the old, not perfect, asphalt street which ran in front of it. When we bought our first house in Fresno, it was a new house in a new subdivision. Yes, the street was brand new, but none of our neighbors became close friends. Everyone had a garage in front of their house, and at 7:30 AM all the garage doors would open as people left for work, and at 5:30 PM the garage doors would open again as those same folks came home from work. Once those garage doors closed in the evening, it was as if everyone was again in their own little worlds. Of course, we would give a friendly little wave when we drove by and happened to see them outside, but there was never any real connection with any of them.

That's not the case where we live now. We purposely looked for a home in an established neighborhood with some history. We love our huge sycamore trees (even though they wreak havoc with our pool) and our large yard. I think the history of this neighborhood has helped to encourage all of us to connect with one another. We want to continue the "community" feel of our street. Our children run back and forth between homes. Six of our high school students walk together to school each morning. (One mom was able to sneak out after they had left for school to take a photo of them from behind as they all walked together down the street; I can't wait to get my copy.) Each of us values the connections we have with one another, and we work hard to provide times for us to get together. We have neighborhood (basically, our street) Valentine's parties, fourth of July block parties, Halloween blow-outs, Festive Fridays in December, and now the talent show. Tonight there was even discussion of a float for the downtown Christmas parade; wouldn't that be fun?!

So tonight, I'm thankful for this old house of ours, for tie-dyed talent, and for great neighbors. We are blessed.

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