Slice of Life: Here Comes the Neighborhood

(Slice of Life is a month-long writing challenge to write every day in March, with a focus on the small moments. It is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. This year, I’m going to pop in and out, but not write daily slices, as I did for the past ten years of Slice of Life. You write, too.)

If you have been doing Slice of Life for long enough, you start to notice the cyclical nature of the season — of how some things recur in March. I’ve not written much about Quidditch this year, mainly because I used to write about it so much in other years (although, with our Quidditch Tournament coming on Thursday, more writing is surely to follow).

Leeds Block Party

Our neighborhood Winter Blues Block Party/Pizza Party is one of those recurring events, where our entire neighborhood community is invited to the local country club to gather together after a long winter, chat up our lives and have pizza and a yankee raffle full of unnecessary items.

What is necessary is the reminder that we are more than our own house, more than our own yard. That we are connected to the others in our streets and cul de sacs and driveways. This year, the longtime MC — our good friend, Jim — asked for people to show hands over how long they have lived here, and the amount of hands for “under ten years” was pretty startling, a reminder that our part of the city is undergoing another cycle of turn-over.

We — my wife and I, and then our children — were part of a similar turn-over more than 20 years ago, coming into the established neighborhood block, surrounded by the old-timers. For a stretch of time, my wife and I were the only ones with a small child, and then suddenly, there were kids everywhere. And we are not the longest here, either, as a few of the elders were born and raised and stayed here. They had their hands up, too.

This turn-over now happens again, and it is a process of renewal, and an event like this allows us time and space to connect a bit with some of the people we meet during the cold winter walks, where everyone is so bundled up we can barely recognize the other. When a neighborhood comes together, it’s a reminder of how we are bound together by land and by identity.

Peace (around the block and back again),

PS — I was navigating through our civic association website and found this video that my youngest son had created six years ago, when he was eight years old, about our community.

  1. My neighborhood has three gathering a year – it is such a great tradition. We don’t do winter and it would make a lot of sense. You have me thinking about adding one next year. Thanks.

  2. Love the words you weave to capture the importance of community, like these: “…we are more than our own house, more than our own yard.” Well said. You’ve got me reflecting now, as I now reside within a nature preserve with no neighbors. Beautiful, but it lacks the community you describe. This sounds like an awesome event.

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