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When Did We Move to the Suburbs?

My friend Katie and her husband live on a tree-lined country estate. They thought they had an ideal private spot—until recently. She writes:

When did we move to the suburbs? I began to wonder a few weeks ago because every morning when I fed the wild birds, I smelled grilled grease. But this week has confirmed my suspicions: we are now suburbanites.

For years, our neighbors were from the greatest generation or were baby boomers. I remember when Mr. Chinn called to ask if he could put up a bat house on his property near ours. Or the time Mr. Woods asked if his workmen could drive across our property if the ground were dry. His workmen chose a day when the ground was soggy—and Mr. Woods filled in the ruts.

And I fondly remember when Mr. Cone called to say that he had gotten my mail and was worried that I might need it immediately.

The Shooks celebrated holidays with us for many years. And if you checked a reference book for “wonderful neighbors,” the Smiths’ pictures would be there.

Since then, Mrs. Woods told workmen that they could drive across my front yard; it was her property anyway, so I bounce away mowing the yard. A new neighbor has discovered the wonders of a rifle. My husband was in the garden when a bullet whizzed by and hit the tree beside him. Not Vietnam, not Iraq, but the garden.

The new owner of the Chinn house dumped his used kitty litter under my tree; he said he was told he owned it. The area in question is about thirty feet from the property line.

But this week has been the top. The Woods (next generation) tore down a plastic fence and put it behind their shed on our side of the line. The new owner of the Shook house came home about 2:30 in the morning, ran his siren, blared his car horn and slammed his door. I guess we aren’t supposed to have our windows open.

The new owner of the Chinn house placed mulch on our property, explaining that it looked better. He also was concerned that we didn’t mow as often as others in the neighborhood. Why, he even saw a coyote with a rabbit, and we certainly would need to prevent such vermin in the area. And the Smiths are moving to Florida.

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