I remember growing up and knowing everyone on my block, including their pets. All of us neighborhood kids would go on epic bike rides (sans helmets of course) or play group games such as “Manhunt,” “Ghost in the Graveyard,” kickball or Wiffle ball. As darkness fell, we waited until our parents yelled our names before we even thought about heading home.
Some of my favorite memories were created with my childhood next-door-neighbor. Her parents owned a furniture store, and we would spend hours playing “house.” No dollhouse could ever compare to those life-size decorated rooms. I remember calling each other on large rotary phones every morning to see what adventures lay ahead of us that day…
Front Porch Forum is a great way to get recommendations, communicate important information or to simply connect with neighbors for a common interest…
Here are the top ten reasons I believe why neighbors no longer know each other:
#10. Lawn services
Back in the day, the only people working on lawns were the homeowners. This created a great opportunity to run around with the neighbors while Mom and Dad were outside working. Today, hanging out with the TruGreen guys just isn’t the same.
#9. Decline of the front porch
This is another social tie that has gone by the wayside. People now hang out in their backyards on their decks. They probably don’t even know what kind of cars their neighbors drive or what time they get home from work. I used to be able to tell that it was almost supper time when I would see Mr. Whitcomb’s car pull in. Likewise, when I heard his car start up in the morning, I knew it was 7 a.m. without even looking at the clock. Today, if I wanted to be aware of my neighbor’s coming and goings, I would have to follow him on Twitter.
#8. The Internet
Many people can now work from home, do all of their shopping online and even have their groceries delivered. You can conceivably never leave your house.
#7. Gym memberships
Health clubs weren’t really around when I was younger. People would get their workout the old-fashioned way walking/jogging/biking around the neighborhood. So, if you were out on your front porch or doing your own yard work, you would see them. Today, people head to an out-of-town gym or work out in their own homes with a slew of fitness DVDs. In the past, there were only so many times we could rewind those Jane Fonda VHS tapes before we gave up and headed outside for a walk.
#6. Dual-income families
There are simply fewer people home during the day. The adults go to work and the kids and even the dogs go to daycare.
#5. No free time
We have so many “time saving” advances, yet we don’t seem to be any more efficient. You’d think not having to get up and walk across the room to change the television channel or adjust the volume would give us at least an extra hour a week!
The media has scared us so much that we may actually fear strangers. They constantly remind us there could be predators or meth labs right next door to us. This doesn’t really encourage people to bring a fruit basket to a new neighbor.
If we get to know our neighbors, they may actually (gasp) ask us for a favor. We don’t want to water their plants while they’re away or help them finish their basement.
#2. School bus stops
It seems like the buses these days stop at each child’s house. We had one stop that the entire neighborhood walked to. That’s where we always met the new kids and got to know each other’s parents.
Another reason….play dates. We never needed an appointment to play when I was growing up…we just walked outside and knocked on doors to get our friends to come out. We at least have one neighbor in our ‘hood that still uses that method…gives me hope.
Amen, Julia. We’ve banned the term “play date” from our household… yuck.