What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

lonely in the burbs

We moved to the suburbs away from a close-quartered, close-knit community of immigrants and locals about five years ago. School was 200 yards away, the subway just around the corner. My elderly neighbour on the left passed me tomatoes and roses and told us stories of the street back in 1952 when they bought their house for $2000. My neighbour on the right passed me peaches and swore in Portuguese at the raccoons.
Here in the quiet, leafy streets of Oakville, I still don't know many of my neighbours names. I do know the ones on the left don't like kids, especially don't like kids drawing chalk pictures on "their" half of the driveway. They only leave their house to mow, shovel, rake or drive away. They never even look up to say hello so I am left talking to the tops of their heads-brief one-word exchanges. On the bright side, they are very quiet and I can play my music in the backyard as loud as I wish since they never come out just to "relax". The lady on the left has two grown sons but I only ever see one of them when he is cutting the grass in the summer. I see her when she leaves for work in the morning but all she says is HI. She has a lovely back yard but I've never seen her in it. The Austrian widow across the street shovels her snow, rakes her leaves and cuts her grass like she's 25 years old and when I look out my window on lazy winter mornings to see her battling away, I feel old and guilty. She always gives my girls treats and German chocolate on holidays. She walks her dog faithfully three times a day. He's an unlovable terrier named Benji who barks and growls at anyone who'll listen. We always stop to chat but she refuses any gifts or offers of help.
I am used to them, as they are probably used to me, to our yard with its endless array of kids bikes and helmets, scooters, chalk, stuffed animals and general untidiness. Our lawn is not pristine and our driveway is cracked beyond dignity. Is it love? Or is it just a matter of time until we give up and move back to the noise and buustle of city life?


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Have a Next-Door Neighbor Story?

As part of our new webcomic, Next-Door Neighbor, we thought it appropriate to have a little contest. Tell us your best true next-door neighbor story, and the winning tale will be matched with an artist and transformed into a webcomic and included as the final installment of Next-Door Neighbor.

About Next-Door Neighbor

No matter how close or how far, we all live next to someone, and we all have a Next-Door Neighbor story. With that in mind, editor Dean Haspiel asked some of his favorite storytellers and cartoonists to create their favorite NDN stories so we could share them with you.

The Fine Print & Contest Rules

By submitting an entry, you are granting SMITH the right to reprint or republish that entry online or in print, as well as make any necessary edits. See SMITH's terms of service for complete details.

This contest ends September 1, 2008. Prizes are not redeemable for cash and must be accepted as awarded. Winners are decided at the discretion of SMITH judges and all decisions are final. SMITH reserves the right to change the contest rules. Enter as often as you want. SMITH reserves the right to reprint or republish all entries.

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