They say the only thing that is constant is change. I don’t know who “they” is, but it is certainly a true statement. I only have to look in the mirror to see that I have changed a great deal since I was 17 years old — the same age as our eldest grandchild.
Every evening when we sit out on our patio, we hear the sounds of the neighborhood. The sounds this year are somewhat different from other years. More kids seem to be playing outdoors. Lawns are being mowed in the evening. There aren’t as many cars driving down our street. I think the quarantine plays a large role in this reality. Only the sound of the ice cream truck sounds the same. The kids running for ice cream are wearing masks.
We moved into this house — and this neighborhood — in 1993. In the 27 years we have lived here, we have seen a lot of changes. The neighborhood elementary school was shut down when we moved in. Court was 12 years old. He’s now almost 40. Our neighbors across the street also had a 12-year-old boy, as well as a boy about a year or two older. That was about it for kids living on our neighborhood street. The same must have been true throughout the neighborhood, accounting for the closed-down elementary school.
The neighborhood stayed like that for quite a few years. And then little by little, people began getting older and putting their houses on the market. The houses were purchased by younger families who wanted to bring up their children in the City and County of Denver, but didn’t want to live in the inner city. Our neighborhood fit the bill.
Pretty soon, the elementary school reopened. Now there are so many young kids living in this neighborhood that I have to be very careful when I’m backing my car out of the garage. Especially now that families are riding bikes and walking baby strollers and playing basketball in the street.
I admit that I love the sounds of the neighborhood these days. There is a house catty-corner behind us. Though we could toss a baseball to them over our back fence because they are on a cul de sac, we can’t see them. But judging from the sounds I hear every evening, they have a swimming pool, a trampoline, and a number of children. One evening Dave was over smoking a cigar with his dad, and I sat with them (no cigar). I could tell they were playing some sort of game that included both kids and adults, but I couldn’t tell what game. When I wondered out loud, Dave said, “Cornhole. I can hear the thumping sound when they miss.”
On either side of us, and across the street, our neighbors are the same as 27 years ago. We have all aged in place thus far. We all enjoy grandkids now. We also do all of the things older people do. We get gray hair. We have lots of doctors’ appointments. We talk about our health instead of our kids’ activities. We show photos of our grandkids who live far away.
I wonder what this neighborhood will look like in 10 years. Constant change.