Our Neighbor

We always thought our next door neighbor was a crotchety old man. He told us over and over again to get off of his tamarack tree. Its low slung branch was so tempting to swing up on.

“Get down from there! You’ll break the branches!” he would yell at us. We would jump down from that old tamarack tree and run to the alley. We’d start climbing the huge pine that grew there, much to dismay of Mom. We would come home with sticky sap stains on our skin and clothes.

With two babies and two big kids at home, Mom had plenty of laundry to keep on top of. Not to mention the ironing she needed to do as a pastor’s wife. She had to stay on top of those wrinkles in the shirts Dad wore with his suits, and she dreaded the days he brought home his robes to be washed and ironed. So when we came home with sap on our shirt elbows and grass stains on our pant knees, she would just look at us and sigh. And out we would run, back outdoors, to find more trees to climb.

Our neighbor must not have been as crotchety as we thought. We would run across his backyard playing tag, and run onto his large front porch during games of hide-and-seek.

When the training wheels came off our bike, our neighbor was the one who took my sister and me to the alley. He held the back of our bicycle seats and ran next to us until we mastered the art of balancing on two narrow wheels without falling.

No, he wasn’t as crotchety as we thought. But we still couldn’t get away with climbing that old tamarack tree.

Mama's Losin' It

Written in response to the following prompt for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: A memorable neighbor.

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11 Responses to Our Neighbor

  1. Ginny, Thanks for sharing another memory. It made me smile inside as I remembered my mom and how much ironing she did. She even ironed our underwear, believe it or not! And she had a lot of laundry, too, with four kids and a husband who also needed ironed shirts for work. I can still see her standing there doing it. Me, I don't iron much at all anymore. Thanks for making me smile today.

  2. Sounds like your neighbor was pretty nice. Now we really did have a crotchety old couple next to us!Stopping by from Writer's Workshop.

  3. My mum and dad have a great system nowadays. Whenever my dad has a stain in anything, he wants to change, causing more washing for my mum. But in recent years especially, he has to do part of the washing, since my mother will be working away from home for up to a week at a time. Then one day the iron broke and he bought a nice new one. When my mum came home she found she didn't like handling that iron and got herself her own iron! His and hers irons and both doing the laundry!

  4. This was great to read. You have got me thinking back to my childhood and all of our neighbors. My aunt and uncle lived down the road and two of my best friends lived within walking distance from our house. I remember we had a neighbor who's house was at the top of a hill and would let all of us ride our bikes and big wheels up and down this hill. Aaahhh, great memories. Those were the days when we actually all knew our neighbors and they were all an extension of our own family.

  5. I have one of those neighbors on my street! He's always grouching at the kids, but i think he secretly enjoys them!

  6. Your poor mom! I would have climbed the tree too, though 🙂 Who could resist a perfectly good climbing tree!Enjoyed you post!

  7. This is great…that old man probably wasn't that old, but was probably afraid you would fall out of that tree and need rushed to the hospital. He was probably saving your mother from more work. He sounds like my day these days and he is always afraid someone will get hurt…so the grumpiness comes from concern.I loved this and it made me understand my Dad more.

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