September 28, 2011

Celebrating Good Neighbors in Different Communities




Won’t you be my neighbor? —Mr. Rogers

     I did locate a holiday site, which stated that National Good Neighbor Day is always September 28 (initially, it was the fourth Sunday in September).

     The site* informed me that In the early 1970’s, Mrs. Becky Mattson from Lakeside, Montana recognized the importance of good neighbors, and started the effort to make this a National day. With the help of congressman Mike Mansfield, she succeed in getting three presidents (Nixon, Ford, and Carter)  to issue proclamations, along with numerous governors. 

In 2003, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution, sponsored by Montana Senator Max Baucus, making September 28, National Good Neighbor Day. Previously, this day was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of September.

     My husband Monte and I have moved a number of times. Although I can rejoice in many good neighbors we’ve experienced through the years, I can celebrate many good next-door neighbors we’ve had.

     When we moved to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, at the close of the 1960s our home we were the only persons not in the silver-haired golden years. My initial reaction was to be friendly with the neighbors, but to choose relationships from Slippery Rock University, where my husband was a physics professor. When our daughter Sandy entered our family, I felt somewhat cheated at not having other young families in the neighborhood.

     However, I soon learned to appreciate my neighbors, who embraced Sandy with all their hearts. She had so many grandparents! She would visit one elderly woman many mornings, sharing coffee and jelly toast with her. I didn’t like the coffee part, but the benefits of Sandy’s relationship with the neighbor overrode that issue. Another neighbor , a World War II war bride from France, came to our house and taught Sandy how to count stairs and other items—in French. Another neighbor had cats Sandy could play with. What a glorious situation for our daughter and son, Nolan!

     In Jamestown, Pennsylvania, several neighbors stand out. One made us a divinely decorated cake for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and refused payment. Two others—siblings Pat and Roy—became members of the board of directors of the Family Support Program, a Children’s Trust Fund anti-child abuse program in the community. Russ, who was blind and wrote poetry on a tape recorder, became a special friend. Norma initiated my becoming a photo-journalist, encouraging me to replace her at the Greenville Record Argus.

     In Connellsville, our elderly neighbor, who was feisty, became a close friend. My husband and I were the first pastor couple whom she accepted. The neighbors across the street, Rhonda and Tom, also became close friends. We ended up co-hosting a German exchange student. We provided the housing, they provided the teenage activities and evening meal.

     When we purchased our home in Laurel Mountain Borough it was a part time residence for almost three years. If it weren’t for my neighbor Peg things would have been pretty rough. She allowed me to use her computer, which enabled me to smoothly maintain my writing for the Fay-West section of the Greensburg Tribune-Review newspaper. She also encouraged me to rest, served me meals and/or tea as needed. We also played a mean game of Scrabble on her computer. This time, she was the one who moved, and we lost a good neighbor. But then, another good neighbor followed Peg.

     I could continue. Looking back there have been many more good neighbors in my life, both next-door kind and in the communities. It is these neighbors that I celebrate today, September 28, 2011.

     And so I visited with a former good neighbor today, enjoying coffee and sustenance, and good conversation. Fran was a near-by neighbor who lived in Laughlintown and now lives in a nearby community.  I stopped at a yard sale she was having. In it if found much New England stuff. We developed our  friendship due to our New England, our Rhode Island, connection. Perhaps we would have become friends anyway. Regardless, I value our friendship. Even though she lives in a different community now, she is still my neighbor. My life is richer for it.

A good neighbor-a found treasure.   — Chinese Proverb





“Good Neighbor’s Day” Quotes

David, Our German Exchange Student: Part 1

Three Women Wildly Battle With UNO Cards

The Isles of Shoals: Beauty, Mystery, Intrigue


Take Me Out to the Ball Game…So Reluctantly I Go

ALEXANDRIA, D. C. (Virginia) IN THE 1790s


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