Here Comes the Neighborhood

Storytelling Parties

Here’s a story. In the 1970s I grew up in a neighborhood. Middle class, kids freely going back and forth between houses, one parent worked, the other stayed home, everyone talked to each other. This neighborhood no longer exists.

Three of the ten houses on the tree-lined street have been purchased by a corporation and were torn down, two more are set for demolition in the next year (there is some sort of Star Wars landing pad on the spot where my childhood home used to be). The trees were cut down. No one goes outside. There is a street, there are houses, there are people living in those houses. There is no neighborhood. Neighborhoods require you to respect neighbors and invest in the people rather than treat the neighborhood as an investment. It is much easier to be alone together.

In a round about way, I realize storytelling creates a neighborhood. We’ve got some amazing stories, my childhood friends and I, that no corporation can cut down. Storytelling foster a neighborhoods and connections. Real ones. Being truly connected to the neighborhood goes way beyond waving as you drive past on your way to work.

I now have the good fortune to live again in a real neighborhood. Some of us own our houses, many of us rent. Both parents work outside the home. We have Friday night block parties and congregate on a shared lawn and at the community pool, we talk, kids play. We share stories. My next party will be held here.

My hope is that someday Buckingham Dr. will become a neighborhood again with real people wanting to share their lives with one another through stories.

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