A story of a changing landscape
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 with herds of cows resting under the trees. Oh, how beautiful it all was then. Our children ran around barefoot. They’d play 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.
Years passed and the district became urbanised with street lighting, paved roads, schools and shops. Sadly 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 has 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. I asked him if he needed a hand the first time I saw him doing it, concerned for his survival, as he wobbled across the red tiles.
He simply informed me, he was getting the dust off, as if everyone dusted the roof of their houses.
Over the fence is a lady who loves nothing more than a bonfire in her garden. The smoke fills our house when she lights up if we don’t close all the doors and windows. My wife calls her Mrs Pyro. Margie reckons we should pop around with some marshmallows to toast on the flames. She’s okay though, the pair of them often have a good chat over the fence
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 to them, but ignoring us. Her husband puts the chickens away every afternoon, sometimes stopping to water the lemon tree, I’ve heard that urine is good for citrus!
We are someone’s neighbours too. They’ve probably got names to describe us, maybe they call us the 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.