In my last blog post, I wrote about my childhood home. Today, I want to talk about the street that our little red-roofed house is situated in.
I grew up in a cul-de-sac. You know, a dead-end street, no through road, etc. etc. This may not seem like an important detail, but only those who grew up in a cul-de-sac can attest that this was a huge advantage to your childhood. Living in a cul-de-sac meant that there was less traffic and your front yard extended far beyond your own front lawn.
The street has 13 houses in it, there’s a street light half-way up the street and our house is halfway down the street. I wasn’t allowed to play past the street light and I had to go home when the street light came on. Our neighbourhood community was one with generous hearts and kind spirits.
One of my neighbours used to look after abandoned koalas and possums and occasionally we’d be allowed to cuddle them. We don’t have a swimming pool, so in summer the neighbours would let us use theirs. We’d have Christmas BBQ’s where everyone from all 13 houses in your street were invited and we’d sit out in the middle of the street, the kids would ride their bikes or scooters and we’d share nibbles, drinks and laughs.
It isn’t a particularly affluent street; our neighbours aren’t rich, and we don’t boast what we have. We all live simple lives, but what I love about that cul-de-sac is the small moments that made our neighbourhood so enjoyable.
There’s a lady that lives in the house directly opposite ours, she would have to be well into her 80s and every day she walks the 600 meters to the closest shop and back again. If one of us ever saw her walking to or from the shop, we’d give her a lift or help her carry her groceries to her door. There’s been many a time my dad has helped one of our neighbours start their car, or there’s been a knock at our door and one of the boys from across the street is telling me I left my car lights on.
I suppose, I’ve gotten very nostalgic because upon reflection, there’s lots of things I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t grown up in that cul-de-sac. I’m sure there’s plenty of other streets across Australia that hold such memories for others too and unfortunately, I think we’re losing our sense of community. We all commute large distances to work, our kids don’t simply go to the school around the corner and we’re hesitant to make meaningful connections with strangers. If you take anything away from this, can it be the encouragement to open up your front doors, introduce yourself to the neighbour you may not know and begin to cultivate a community right in your front yard. I guarantee you won’t regret it.