I remember back in 1966 when my parents purchased our first home. While i was only three years old, the drive there was so memorable. Mom telling us about each of our rooms, and the yard. She told me and my older sister that we had to share the lavender room, but there would still be plenty of room for everyone.
What she didn’t tell us about was the neighborhood. Every home had at least one child one of our ages. The fathers were all working class and the majority of the mothers were homemakers. Each adult brought something to the neighborhood that made it more like a family. Mrs. Hendren always had something delicious baking, the aroma filtered through the yards like wildflowers. Mrs. Smitson was a seamstress, if you needed something let out or taken in, or just made from scratch, she was just across the street. Mrs. West was the one we took our boo-boo’s to, since our mom was one of the working mom’s.
Just because our mother worked did not mean she did not contribute to the community. Our house was the hang out. She was one of the few parents who allowed us in the house. Everyone loved coming to our house because mom was so sweet and giving of herself. She never saw a stranger.
That was the generation that I grew up in. A neighborhood was a safe haven for all those who lived there. We all had a sense of ownership and belonging. My parents sold that house in 2004, but we still have that same sense of community with those people.
When I moved to Tampa in 1990, we purchased a house in a middle class neighborhood, also. It took us no time at all to develop strong bonds with the families there. We had Mrs. Edenfield, who was a school teacher and helped our kids when they needed it. Then there were the Woolevers, Larry was the computer guy and Dixie was the one you went to who knew a little about everything. Mr. Cox was the old guy next door who grew fruit and vegetables to distribute throughout the neighborhood. I was the stay at home mom. If someones child was sick or needed to be picked up from school, i was there. My husband was father to the fatherless, helper of divorcees and widows, and a friend to all.
In my experience with communities, its not the houses, nor the locations, or schools or any external influences that makes it family friendly, its the attitude of the residence. If when you get home from work and go straight into your house, and have nothing to do with the people who surround you, you will live your life in a house, not in a community.