The House Where No One Stays

I had a dream last night that someone was hitting golf balls at our house. I kept hearing the thumping sounds and when I looked out the window I could see colored golf balls bouncing off the siding and the roof of the garage. I went outside to see three young boys in the yard next door, practicing their golf swings. I asked them to please stop hitting golf balls at my house. I was afraid they’d break windows. But they just laughed and kept golfing. Their mother came outside and said in a not-very-authoritative voice, “Now, boys…”

I think I know why I had this dream. My friend from down the other end of the neighborhood was walking by earlier this week and stopped to talk. She told us about her crazy next-door neighbor who calls the city to report those who leave their trash barrels out on non-trash days. He calls my friend constantly to complain to her that her dog is barking, even when her dog is in the house and not barking. We live in a neighborhood full of dogs! Dogs bark! What does he expect?

I think I had the dream, not just because my friend told me about her cranky neighbor, but because we are getting new neighbors and I am nervous.

No one stays in the house next to us. It’s a nice enough house with pretty decent yard. But it’s a starter house. It’s not that big and it only has two bedrooms. The kitchen is really small and narrow. You know how everyone likes to hang out in the kitchen when you have company. It’s not fun having a small kitchen.

We’ve been really lucky. We’ve had great neighbors in the house next door. First there was Dan and Julie. Julie left and eventually Dan remarried another Julie. They were great. We became good friends. They started having kids. Their little boy, John was Kacey’s age. Then Julie got pregnant and they decided they needed a bigger house. They didn’t move that far away and we promised to stay in touch. We did for a while, but then our lives got busy and went in different directions and… well, you know.

After Dan and Julie left, Dean and Ellen moved in. They were great and we became good friends! Ellen got pregnant and soon Baby Caitlin joined the family. A few years later, Abby came along. Our kids were always running next door to help Dean with yard work or bake zucchini bread with Ellen. When Caitlin and Abby grew up enough to run between the yards, they would come ring the door bell to ask if Kacey would come out to play with them. Kacey was “too old” for the girls, but she was always willing to make chalk drawings in the driveway with them and eventually she became their favorite babysitter.

A house just three blocks away went up for sale. Dean and Ellen looked at it on a whim and the next thing you know, they were moving out of the house next door. We promised we’d still get together for impromptu summer suppers on the deck but… well, you know. At least we still wave when the other drives by.

After Dean and Ellen left, Kevin and Kelsey moved in. We were getting old. Kevin and Kelsey weren’t too many years older than our oldest child. But they were great and we became good friends. A couple of years after they moved in, Kelsey got pregnant and soon Ethan joined the family. We always seemed to catch up with Kevin and Kelsey as we were all returning home from work for the day. It was always fun to coo and smile at Baby Ethan. He grew up over the winter last year and this spring he was running and talking. On any given day, I could look out my family room window and see Ethan in his toddler crouch in front of my water fountain, washing the landscaping rocks. Lately he’d taken to peeking in the lower level windows to see if I was around and willing to come out so he could “drive” my car or play “dunk” in the driveway with the basketball.

And recently, Kevin and Kelsey decided they needed a bigger house. They put theirs on the market, but didn’t have much luck. We were secretly happy. We didn’t want them to go. For a while it looked like they might just settle in for a while longer, but then an offer came on the house and they accepted. The closing was coming quick and they would be out of the house by the end of May. We were bummed. No more chatting with Kelsey in the front yard after work. No more laughing and chasing Ethan. No more watching Kevin lift Ethan up to the basketball net so he could dunk the ball. No more watching Ethan grow up next door to us.

The closing was today. Kevin, Kelsey and Ethan are officially moved out. We’ve promised to stay in touch…

The new neighbors arrived tonight. They didn’t stay long and all I really saw was their car in the driveway. I don’t know if we’ll be lucky enough to get good neighbors yet again, but I’m hoping. I didn’t see any little boys with golf clubs, so that’s a good sign anyway.

19 thoughts on “The House Where No One Stays

  1. Crazy dream but true for me. Back then in Miami almost everyone had fruit trees and I can remember the oranges and grapefruit bouncing off the awnings during the hurricanes of the early 60’s. Felt like we were in Ft McHenry. And with the lightening we had the rocket’s yellow white glare…


  2. Getting new neighbors is always stressful. You never know if you are getting the Cleavers or the Munsters moving in next door. But with the luck you’ve been having, I am sure they will be a great young couple starting out in life and looking to their “seasoned” neighbors on how things get done. Good luck with the new people.


  3. When my kids were growing up, I used to tell them that when I was their age I knew EVERYONE on this street and what boat their ancestors came over on too! And the first part of that was definitely true -the latter part, okay a tad of an exaggeration. As my kids grew up though there was a little bit of change that went on here with older people passing on and new folks moving in but still not all that terribly much change. Now, things have changed a whole lot here and there is a SOLD sign on the house 2 doors up from us, two houses have For Sale signs and a third place is probably going to go on the market sometime this year too. And I still don’t know the names of the people who moved in the last two houses that were for sale in the past year! Times -they are a changing, huh?


  4. We have had the same neighbours for 11 years, ever since we moved into our current house.

    In the previous place we went though a period of rapidly changing neighbours on one side, and that got quite “interesting”. The best one was the woman who turned up and told us that her boys might break in and steal stuff from us. Mrs RC told her that if that happened they would suddenly find that they had broken legs. The woman seemed upset by this reply but the boys never broke in. The woman ended up leaving after she had a knife fight with another neighbour.

    Good luck! :-)


  5. Yeah, the folks who live next door can make or break your experience of your own house, not to mention the neighborhood. Love the dream you had–and good luck with the new neighbors. They, at least, will be fortunate to have you next door.


  6. Yes, not much you can do about neighbors. They are who they are and you’re stuck with them…hopefully for the good. Probably what all my neighbors are saying about me!


  7. I hope it all works out and can sure relate to how stressful it is to have new neighbors move in. We’re going through this now and I struggle with balancing being friendly with being too friendly and becoming someone that others depend too much on. Ugh. I just hope for polite people who care about their home and don’t mind hubbs watching the Tigers games in the garage .. and sometimes hollering after a play … MJ


  8. I can so relate to this. Our street seems to be in a constant state of flux. We’ve got a few rental homes, and it seems like one of them is getting new tenants at any given time. I always get a little nervous when one family moves, but so far we’ve had pretty nice people to live with. Crossing my fingers for you!


  9. Here’s hoping you get another family of good neighbors! It’s hard to see the good ones go — whether by moving, divorce, or death. All you can do is hope their replacements are friendly and not disruptive!


  10. Interesting difference to living in the big city. While I do have neighbors in my condo building (5 in total) we have dozens of “neighbors” to the building. You don’t get to know many of them well, but you also are less concerned when they leave. I can relate a bit though since we do live in close proximity to 5 people in our building.


  11. We have been really lucky to have nice neighbors, and I am thankful for that! I hope things go well for you. It sounds like you have been very lucky so far! I am looking forward to hearing about your new neighbors.


  12. The interesting thing to me is that the many neighbors moving in and then moving out of that house next to you have been good neighbors. All your neighbors have been compatible with you and your family and you made friends with them while they lived next door. That is unusual in my opinion. Let’s hope the new people are just as great and their predecessors.


  13. Yes, change often brings anxiety. We’ve been in our house since 1989 and fortunately have had the same neighbor all these years on one side and almost as long on the other side. Both are single and we rarely see them. One has a dog but we rarely hear it. Some other homes up the street seem to have regular turnover for some reason.


  14. You have had some pretty cool neighbors! We still don’t know ours very well, but haven’t had any trouble with anyone in the neighborhood and haven’t heard of anyone complaining about stuff. So far, so good! Hope your new neighbors are nice!


  15. I am always nervous when a house next door is for sale. We haven’t been that fortunate … only a couple of our neighbors turned out to be friends … but I like things quiet and worry about the worst. For the most part, we’ve been lucky, other than a crazy teenager who partied when Mom and Dad were out of town.

    In our last house, we were awakened for about a week in the middle of the night by something hitting the roof, usually about two in the morning. Finally, I decided to stay in the yard until it happened. I heard something hit the roof and saw a rock roll down, then another. I scanned the yards on the hill above us with my spotlight and saw two teenagers duck into the bushes. I shouted, Stop, police. It never happened again but it was another week before I slept well.


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