Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.
Every year on Bissell Drive, they would put up police barricades on both ends of our small street and we would have a block party. Everybody came, even people that were friends from those “other” streets were invited to join.
They would set up volleyball nets, come up with games for the kids, I think I remember a dunk tank one year, and we would all just come together as a community and just enjoy the day. I remember a kids pool filled with what seemed like thousands of ears of corn on the cob bathing in sugar water, just waiting to be put on the grills for us to pig out on. We would walk around the block eating corn, and by the time we got back to the grills, there were more ready for us. Burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, and everyone brought something to the party. Homemade cole slaw, potato salad, macaroni salads, and of course a huge dessert table.
We would be out there all day, from noon until sunset, at which time the kids were banished from the street so that the parents could have their own party. Of course since everyone in the neighborhood knew everyone, we would all figure out someone’s house that we could all sneak to so that we could spy on the grown ups. Now this was before cell phones so it was basically a word of mouth thing, but we all figured out a way to get where we needed to be.
Then one year they just decided not to have one. W-w-wha-a-t-t-t??
“Too much work and too many people have moved away, just not the same.”
End of more of our innocence, back when neighborhoods actually meant something, when everyone knew everyone and took care of each other when we needed help. When kids could not get away with anything because even though your mother wasn’t watching, there was a good chance that somebody’s mother was. Kept us all out of trouble mostly. When any day of the year you could find something to do or someone to do something with. Hanging out in people’s garages to play ping pong or talk about the little league game last night. As we got a little older the games of spin the bottle in someone’s basement.
Hey, maybe we can look at starting a block party where we live now. . . . . but we really don’t know the neighbors that well and kids are probably too old, just wouldn’t be the same.
And maybe they are right, it would be a lot of work.