Our Neighborhood Tradition
Our Neighborhood Tradition
Stephen A. Peterson
The third day after we moved to our house in a town thirty miles east of Oklahoma City, our doorbell rang. A woman was standing at our front door with a friendly smile on her face and in her hand was a tray with a bottle of limeade, plastic cups, a bowl of potato chips, and a plate of small neatly cut triangle shaped ham sandwiches. She introduced herself as Mrs. Edwards, my neighbor across the street. Inviting her in, my wife and I chatted with her as we enjoyed the snacks. She told us about the town, the names of the neighbors up and down our street and some details about them—who had children our son’s age, where the couples’ worked, their occupations. Because she and her husband were retired, she offered to care for our two year old son if we wanted some time to ourselves or had to work. She also stated that she was a grandmother and looking forward to becoming a great grandmother very soon. When she left, we felt welcomed in a neighborhood where we knew no one. As we settled into our new home, unpacked, prepared our first meal, checked our new appliances, we talked about her visit.
Around six o’clock the telephone rang. The voice, a woman’s voice asked to speak with my wife. After fighter minutes she hung up the telephone. My wife told me her name was Mrs. Goddard, our next door neighbor. She called roughly twenty minutes following Mrs. Edward’s visit. Another neighbor called to welcome us to the neighborhood who said her name was Mrs. Knight. Mrs. Knight stated she was our next door neighbor who was about my and my wife’s age. She told us where some stores were to purchased food, baby items and that if we were not registered to vote that she could get us registered as she worked for the county election board. She indicated she would hang up as it was family time and that we were only in our house a couple of days.
The next day another neighbor called to get acquainted. His name was Mr. Mobley. He mentioned where churches were barber shops, gasoline stations close to our house, good restaurants, hardware stores even the YMCA. His wife gave us a typed list of doctors, dentists, optometrists as well as the numbers to the police, fire and utility departments. By the end of that first week in our new home, every neighbor called to welcome us. At the end of that first month, we received at least one visit.
My family learned the friendly spirit that our neighbors showed us—the new family on the block. The feelings of the Oklahoma good neighbor outreach did not go unnoticed or by the wayside. Since that day nearly thirty years before, we have attempted to welcome families who move into our neighborhood. It is our hope that those who move into our neighborhood continue the Mrs. Edward’s tradition of approaching new families in her friendly, Godly manner.
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