This is always lots of fun! I honestly can’t remember a year, since we moved in that there hasn’t been one. They started out small with just a couple of families, sometimes they were in backyards, but over the years they grew and now we set up in someone’s driveway. Back in our younger days some of the BBQs were pretty wild…..but only a few complaints and visits by the cops….those were the days! We always seemed to have a musician in our midst….guitars would come out, songs would be sung…the kids always liked that. Some years the kids would put on little shows for us….just lots of fun.
There are 8 houses in the cul de sac, but other neighbours come too and people that used to live in the CdS also come back each year.
Over the years, since 1980, not too many people had come and gone…..we were all CdS oldtimers. The location was the best…..two houses away from the school that most of our kids went too, two blocks from a major highway but far enough that it’s really quiet….quick and easy access to wherever one had to go, and a short walk to a market, restaurant and of a course a Starbucks or two, or three! The street that you come down to the CdS dead ends into the school grounds…so, other than Moms and Dads dropping kids off on weekdays, very little traffic to deal with.
Our kids were very lucky to grow up here. At one point there were 18 kids between the ages of 3 – 8. Most of us back then were stay at home Moms. We Mom’s were very lucky then too. We’d have tea or coffee most afternoons at someones house…towing all the kids along or leaving them, quite safely then, to play in a yard or out in the CdS. In the summer we’d use the CdS as a central play area….we’d set the little pools up in our front yards….sit and have our ice tea or lemonade and the kids would play. They would be all over the place then…even the little ones….it was pretty safe back then. We babysat for each other, took turns driving the kids to preschool, piano lessons or whevever they needed to go. Those were the good old days.
Most of the kids are married now and have kids of their own. The friendships they made have lasted (best man at each others weddings), BFF’s forever, as has our friendship with their parents. Some of these neighbours are our/my best friends now.
We did lots of stuff together…..camping trips, holidays, picnics, parties….there always seemed to be something going on. Birthday parties for the kids and adults, halloween parties and fireworks, New Years parties…..when the kids were little, we’d bring them all and they’d crash on couches or the floor…none of us could afford babysitters too often in those days. It was just so much fun back then.
We all helped each other too. All these kids didn’t just have one Mom…they had at least 4 or 5 at any given time. If one was doing something they shouldn’t be….a Mom, any Mom, would let them know. We always knew our kids were somewhere close by and well looked after.
There were toys, sports cards and video games shared and traded among the kids. There were certainly squabbles too, but they all got over them and were buddies again 5 minutes later. They could ride their bikes, play soccer and hockey….whatever they wanted in that CdS. Those were happy times.
The adults helped each other too. Tools were shared, decks built, cars repaired, piles of topsoil shovelled….someone always had a spare set of someone elses house keys, just in case. Someone always looked after pets, gardens and plants when others went on vacation. Yes, definitely we have all been lucky to have found this place and the people in it.
We’re the only originals left now….the rest are “newbies”….they’ve only been around 20 years or so! Even more newer “newbies” now since two couples sold last year to downsize. The oldies that have moved still come to the CdS BBQ too….our group grows and grows. I hope there will continue to be these annual BBQ’s….even after all the oldies have moved….will the newbies continue the tradition?
I’ve been asked many times, since Ken passed away, if I’m going to sell. No, I’m not, at least not until I can’t manage the upkeep on the house, physically or financially. Lucky for me, my house isn’t very big, so hopefully I won’t have any problem maintaining it for quite a while.
My neighbours are the best neighbours in the world and we’ve been so lucky to have them all. Now, at this time of my life is when, more than ever, having these neighbours that I love and trust, is even more important. I know that any one of them would be there for me in a second if I needed them….they are a phone call or yell across the yard away. If my alarm goes off…someone would be there in a second. We’ve all been very good that way….someone usually always has an eye out if something is going on that shouldn’t be. When Ken wasn’t able to shovel the driveway if it snowed, there was always one of them out there shovelling away for us….. often my garbage and recycle bins were put away by the time I got home from work….. I called them my “fairy god-neighbours”. They were watching over us, as we would do for them.
If I moved, what are the chances that I would find such an idyllic spot to live? I think very slim, so staying put is what I plan to do for as long as I possibly can.
Tonight we’ll have lots to eat and drink and lots of fun. Last year we even had a fire pit (gas) and roasted marshmallows later. That was fun for our newest CdS additions ….they are fairly new to our country and had NEVER roasted marshmallows!! This year we’ll have two more new families, one with little kids, so that will be even more fun.
I’ll miss Ken a lot tonight….I wish so much that he was here…..