My husband and I moved into our “starter” home more than 25 years ago. Two renovations and three kids later, we’re still here.
Soon after we moved in, we met our neighbors Marilyn and Danny who lived behind us. We shared a chain-link fence in our backyards. Years later, Marilyn would retell the story of how we met with the same excitement as our first meeting.
After having just lit her Friday night candles on her window sill, she looked up to see the reflection of her candles in our window. Or did she? It turned out that I, too, had lit my candles. We came to know each other at our shared fence. Danny built cinder block steps on his side so that I could more easily get my pregnant body over to swim in their pool. We helped them in their yard while listening to their stories.
My neighborhood was developed for GIs after WWII, on rolling farmland where suburbia now sprawls. Plots were divvied up, separated by chain-link fences just over three feet tall.
The chain-link fence allowed all the neighbors to have a continuous green vista of the whole block. Our kids saw who was playing outside simply by looking out the window. Dogs sniffed each other and ran alongside their shared fence. We saw if Mrs. Babington needed help mowing her lawn. A stray ball could easily be retrieved. Tomato plants wove in and out of the chain-link, not knowing which side to call home.
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