Driving and Biking in the Big City

Neighborhood rises from the dead (especially on Halloween)

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too long to find Waldo

Took too long to find Waldo

Kids coming

Cute kids coming and going at the front door

The life of a neighborhood ebbs and flows.  You know what I mean. “There goes the neighborhood,” you think when the yards get trashy and the houses need painted. (I’m guilty of both so no judgment meant.) Good friends come and go to more lush yards with bigger houses. Family activity becomes prank-ish as the kids grow into teenagers. Sometimes the pranks turn into vandalism. Cops are called and burglaries occur and you wonder if it’s time to find a new, more peaceful home.

I’m surprised to learn of a neighborhood’s revival because I’ve never lived in one house for long. But, now I have. Last night’s Halloween in my neighborhood was the liveliest ever in my 20 years here and compared quite favorable to the days when I led the fun with my scary-but-friendly husband and my superhero, princess and pirate-costumed kids.

Most of my neighbors had open houses and block parties down every cul-de-sac — adults gathering in front yards about every five houses or so.  Parents pulled out lawn chairs and sat in driveways to welcome trick-or-treaters. One family served a never-ending casserole of pasta and salad to offset the sweets. I biked around and around with invitations shouted from everyone. A couple of dads had zombie movies going in one garage; another had some kind of not-so-scary spookhouse. I’d say I had as much fun as possible for an empty nester on Halloween.

don't say a word

Don’t say a word, but we’ll be keeping our eyes on these guys

It was just last year that we made the decision to stay put in this house and neighborhood  after looking for two years for a new home that never quite met the qualifications we were after — one story, cool swimming pool and closer to Texas 59 and my route as a commuter to the Texas Medical Center. It just didn’t happen for us.

We had lived through kids growing up, horrible hurricanes and personal disasters with the same neighbors on either side of us. Then, in a blink of an eye, one family moved. The market was turning over quickly so they were gone before we could say much of a goodby. We could go, too, if we could find home elsewhere.

Robin hound

Buster, the hound, as Robin, the sidekick.

We are fortunate in a cookie-cutter ‘burb to back up to an excellent, spacious natural gully. Not even a bigger yard could make up the difference, in our minds, so we were tough home-buying customers. We have plenty of space for two so that wasn’t it. But we needed open space and  tons of updates. So, after an unrequited search for new digs, we settled in, put in our own pool and began reconstruction of some important and failing upkeep.

Last night confirmed, once more, that we made the right decision for us. Although we don’t know most of our neighbors any more, the adults were making the same kind of effort we did when our kids were young. Everyone was out and about, supervising what had to be a hundred or so kids from all over. I gave out 300 pieces of candy so I know it was a big crowd, even if I doubled and tripled up treats for the especially cute or young kids.

The kids who came to my door were as polite as could be. Even the older, rambunctious boys eventually let down their cool to laugh at our “where’s Waldo” skeleton. We saw mostly princesses, superheroes and Army guys with a few dress-for-success doctors and nurses. Everyone had made a pretty big effort so no casually clad teenagers just popping by for a treat.

The only other time I lived so long in one house was my original neighborhood on 14th Street in Port Neches — many decades ago. I’ve carried those neighborhood kids and adventures around with me my entire life, teaching me rules of the road that were especially useful as a longtime cop reporter in some of the roughest cities in the nation.

My kids

My kids from a couple of decades ago


Superheroes who visited this Halloween

You learn a lot about survival and about being kind from your neighbors. I’m glad to see my current crew has positive lessons to impart. If they can keep me entertained so nicely for Halloween, I’m ready to knock on a few doors and introduce myself  . . . again.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 1, 2015 at 9:57 am

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