Each time I drive up Centerway hill with my kiddos they're used to me turning left on Eisenhower Avenue instead of jumping directly onto Milton Avenue. They know the reason. It's about a neighborhood. While I didn't grow up on Eisenhower I learned about the fabric of a neighborhood through those that lived on a slice of it. Grandma and Grandpa Galbrecht lived on the 400 block and I spent a ton of time on Eisenhower as a kid. It wasn't just Grandma and Grandpa but it was Mary and Veronica McBride. They lived next door and I spent a considerable amount of time at their house as well. It was about this time of year when Grandpa and I would make our semi-annual trip around the house taking out Mary's air conditioners. Vivid memories. It shaped my sense of neighborhood.
That neighborhood didn't just help shape me as a kid but it helped mold me even as an adult. Monday nights meant supper with Grandma and Grandpa. That tradition started as a kid and continued well after we had our son. We lived a few blocks away on Garfield and would pack up Ian in the stroller and head over for supper after work. It was very common for a McBride to be at the table enjoying a meal with us while Grandpa would play with our newborn Ian. The neighborhood? If I happen to drop a sock or glove or whatever on the way inside I'd typically get a call from the Hainstocks letting me know to pick it up when I left. Dwight and Mary Lou lived across the street. Neighborhood.
My childhood neighborhood had a signifiant impact on me. I've written about my time on Beacon Hill Drive and how there wasn't a better place to be for me. The friendships and relationships forged in that neighborhood are still strong today. My chiropractor lived 2 houses down and I still look up to his parents. Even though we've drifted off Beacon Hill, families still stay in touch—from Florida to Cottage Grove and back to Janesville.
It brings me to now. My current neighborhood. Yes, the world has changed but there's still a bit of 'normal' in my world. I enjoy walking across the street to console Brad when his Seminoles or Lightning take it on the chin. I don't know what my day would be like if I didn't have a chance to at least say hi to Ken and Sharon. Steve and Kathy? They are the neighborhood. And Kim and Kurt—how in the world did the boys up so fast? My neighborhood.
The world has changed, Janesville has changed, but I've found one constant and that's the neighborhood fabric that has been woven tight in our city for many generations.
Would you mind sharing your neighborhood fabric?