Short story about life and change.
“My name is Samuel Green, I’ve lived in this old house for fifty years, and in the district all my life. I carried my beautiful bride Margery, over the threshold after our wedding many years ago. This house has seen everything that life can bring, tears, joy, laughter, dramas. We survived it all.
We were alone, the only house on the street. Our vistas were fields and herds of cows resting under the trees. Oh, how beautiful it all was then. Our children ran around barefoot, swinging on the old tyre swing that hung from the ancient Morton Bay fig tree at the bottom of the street.
Over the years more folks arrived, but the lots were large, and we still had our privacy. Our first neighbours were the same age as we were.
James and Sarah were ‘greenies’ I suppose folks would call them today. They arrived in an old caravan, in which the family lived for two years, as they built their timber house..
We all became great friends over the years, our children growing together. They shared the swing on the old fig tree, hid in it’s huge branches, playing secret games.
Over the years the district became urbanised with street lighting, paved roads, schools and shops, and after many years of being our neighbours, dear friends James and Sarah left to live with their daughter.
Their old house was sold to a developer, and in its place a retirement village sprung up. We now have sixteen units right up against our fence line.
Behind us they built a new primary school, the playing fields overlook our backyard. The sounds of hundreds of children playing and screaming intersperse our days, with sports days almost in our bedroom!
We collect the balls which fly over the fence, returning them at the end of each term.
The Morton Bay tree is fenced off from our use, it sits alone in a back lane, no longer accessible for young children to enjoy.
What a difference fifty years can make, Margie and I have been enclosed against our will.
But we have become used to our neighbours, most of them are great, often giving us a laugh.
The man in unit eight at the retirement village is ninety if he is a day. Once a week he climbs on to his roof, vacuum cleaner in hand.
“What are you doing John?” I asked him the first time. “Need a hand mate, something wrong?” I asked, concerned for his survival, as he wobbled across the red tiles.
“No thanks Sam, just getting the dust off!”
“Mmmm, okay,” I muttered, “silly old bugger.”
The neighbour on the other side of our property we call the chicken lady. We know her name, although never introduced, it’s Claris. She comes out in the morning to let out the chickens, wearing her nighty and wellies, calling out “Chook, chook, chook,” ignoring us if we offer a “Good morning.” Her husband puts the chickens away every afternoon, sometimes stopping to water the lemon tree, I’ve heard that urine is good for citrus!
Our favourite neighbour, we call Mrs Pyro, she loves a good garden fire and we often sniff the air. “Mrs Pyro’s lighting up again, where’s the marshmallows?”
We are someone’s neighbours too. They’ve probably got names to describe us, maybe “those old weird people in the red house.”
So we’ve progressed during our married life from having no neighbours at all, to many. Our little red brick house stands, as it always has, a happy home whether alone or in a crowd.