Tuesday, October 7

Goodbye Mrs Nextdoor

Today I said good bye to my childhood neighbour. Even though I have not seen her for many years I felt it only fitting to attend. After all many of my early memories include Mrs Nextdoor.

Things were different back then. Children were respectful and all adults were referred to as Mr and Mrs. As youngsters we had trouble remembering our neighbour's surname so they were Mr & Mrs Nextdoor. A term which over the years grew great endearment.

Mr Nextdoor died many years ago. Time is not always my friend and the years seem to blur so I can not place an exact number on them but it would be over a decade. He fought a brave battle with the dreaded cancer. For some reason the final time I saw him is one of my most vivid memories.

After his death, Mrs Nextdoor moved with her son Steve, to somewhere smaller. I am not sure why Steve never moved out of home. I remember being facinated by him as a child. Still to this day I have no idea how old he is, only that he is much older than I. My memory of him bears an uncanny resemblence to Jesus. Seeing him today shows that my memory is in tact.

Though he no longer has the beard his whole demeanour and presence still makes me think of an iconic Christ. The tall slender body, long face and flowing hair. While his stature may appear frail there is also an overwhelming sense of strength.

While my mum was never the type to just 'let us hang out at the neighbours', she could not stop my brother and I from climbing the big old wattle so we could spy at them coming home. Or hide behind the cars and whistle, trying not to giggle as they searched for the latest hiding spot.

The Nextdoors were also guaranteed invites to any party that we had. My sister, Mrs Nextdoor and I all shared the same birthday. It just seemed to make the celebration more special.

It is strange that for nearly 15 years these people lived nextdoor to us, we were not by any means strangers to one another. However after they moved we never saw them again. Well that is not completely true. We would occasionally bump into one another at the local super market. Nothing more than idle chit chat and a smile though was ever exchanged.

I would love to write more but there is a storm here fast approaching and given the weak power of late I daren't risk a power failure!