I’ve always been blessed with good neighbours, almost from birth.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s we lived in Burlington, Ontario and our next-door neighbours were the Walters. Their son David taught me how to swear, and Mrs. Walters used to give us banana popsicles.
When we moved up to Carlisle, our neighbours on both sides were good, generous people. The Southams, on one side, used to let us swim in their pool, and we were babysat by several of their children over the years. The Dunhams, on the other side, passed on their paper route dynasty to our family, and kept all of us boys in pocket money through our early teens.
When I lived in Peterborough, post-university, I tended to live with groups of weird and wonderful people, and I was always pleasantly surprised with how forgiving our “straight” neighbours were of our youthful eccentricities. The ultimate Peterborough neighbour, of course, was Catherine, who was the archetypical “girl next door.”
My first day as an Island resident I managed to drive my 1978 Ford F-100 truck into the house next door to our apartment on Great George Street. It wasn’t 5 minutes before every neighbour within a 2 or 3 house radius was out to offer aid.
In Kingston, we were blessed with the Yeos down the hill and the Dobson/Doyles up the hill; both of them made living in the country a much better experience, and all were willing to lend a hand whenever we needed one.
Here in Charlottetown we’ve got the kind, resourceful and watchful Kelsey Todd up the street. Kelsey has watched our house while we’ve been galavanting around the world, blown out our driveway like clockwork every snow, and has gamely put up with the ruckus brought on by our near constant renovation projects. He’s the kind of neighbour you know you could knock on the door of at 3:00 a.m. and he would get dressed and take you to the hospital.
Today we learned that the house on the other side has just been purchased by local electric power guru Angus Orford and his family. Angus has always proved a ready and willing correspondent when I’ve flung electricity questions his way; I’m sure they’ll make good neighbours too.