Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Neighbors Next Door

When you purchase a new home there is always the nagging questions about the new neighbors potentially next door. Who are they? Will they be friendly? Will they be quiet and maintain their properties?

As a married couple we have lived in six different houses in two different states, New Jersey and North Carolina. Our first home was a small Cape Cod style. When we finally moved in, still naive and awe-struck to be owning a house, we looked out our front window and realized we had purchased a house across from what looked like a junk yard and a home in poor condition. There were parked cars, an old travel trailer, and junk galore. It looked like the vehicles had not moved in ages. We learned later the property was a source of contention with the rest of the neighbors.

When we purchased our second home just up the street, our neighbor trapped squirrels and showed our young children how to “dispose” of them. I would not be surprised to hear that our children may still be experiencing nightmares from that encounter!

We then built a new home across town where we met our first “party-animal” neighbors living next door. With the new neighbors’ two young teens, there were parties almost every weekend. The noise level was unbearable and the parties never seemed confined to the neighbor’s property. It frequently spilled over onto our property. We had to install a high fence to keep the partygoers on the right side.

Our next home was a duplex, still in the same town. You could see our first and second home from our then fourth home. We ended up with our best neighbors … our daughter and her family. They were fun years having grandkids next-door.

Our fifth home was at the seashore, ten blocks from the ocean. One neighbor always had an issue with us. He was a curmudgeon of sorts who did not want anyone stepping foot on his property. There was a 100-year-old sycamore tree in our front yard that would give me nightmares when nor’easter storms came up the coast. When we had it removed the neighbor would not allow anyone to step on this property to facilitate safe cutting. We almost caused a blackout when limbs began hitting the electrical lines and lights flickered.

When a new concrete driveway was about to be poured, the elderly man had me reduce the size two inches, claiming it was infringing on his property. I acquiesced to avoid a conflict.

When we moved to our home in North Carolina, we prayed we would have great neighbors on both adjacent properties. Well our prayers were answered, and we ended up with two great neighbors.

I believe there is a lesson in that experience. Before we embark on any journey ask the Lord to make a way, protect you and provide great friends.

Happy adventures. Hope you meet some great people along the way!
Robert Parlante
February 2017

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