What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Trailer Noise

My mother was insane. I say this not in the way an ex-husband calls his ex-wife insane. My mother was literally insane. I was a child and it was all I knew. As long as she was not coming after me with a belt or a fly swatter her actions were normal. Looking back I can see just how insane she was.

We lived in a trailer park. Each trailer was ten feet from the next. With the windows open we could carry on a conversation with our neighbors in our inside voices. Voices carry when you live inside a tin can.

My mom never understood this. Every noise she heard from the trailers surrounding ours she took personally. The neighbors were just trying to annoy her, to set her off. She would store the anger for days and she would wait. She would wait until all was quiet in the other trailer, which meant the occupants were most likely asleep. She would come into our rooms and wake us up, hand us each a pan and wooden spoon and send us marching down the hall that ran along the outside wall of our trailer. She would order us to hoot and holler at the top of our lungs.

“Wake up the Pope in Italy!” she would yell and she would grab her own pot and pan and begin to march with us.

As children we loved this. We were on her side and she was on ours. The yelling was directed at our neighbors instead of us. In an insane house this was fun. This was normal.

Our neighbors never complained. I often wondered what they thought. Did they know my mother was insane? Did they think we were having a spontaneous party? Did they know this show was for their benefit?


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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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