Neighborhood Valentine No. 7

“I grew up as a military brat on several different bases and installations. The only constant in a place where everyone you meet eventually leaves is the sense of community. People were often outside and conversations were started with neighbors during dog walks, car washing, gardening, and porch sitting. When I grew older I believed the suburban myth that there was more safety behind a privacy fence and knowing one’s neighbor became a random event rather than a joy. When I moved into our neighborhood in the East End the first thing I noticed were the porches and stoops. Sherry and Geoff live around the corner and it was not uncommon to see community happening right before my eyes on their front stoop. There are several people who feel the stoop is a welcoming respite from a long walk and they sit and talk to one another. On Ohio Street where I live it is an honor to be invited onto someone’s porch. It is where community happens and it is not uncommon for crowds of people to spend the day or the evening in laughter and deep thought with one another on the front porch. Gone are the fences that divide. Passing by one shouts a hello, smiles, and waves and in an instant…connection. People ask you questions. They speak a hardy “How y’all doin” and I know my neighbors by name. For the rest of my life I hope to live in a place with porches that facilitate true community and create friendships that last a lifetime.”

- Valentine by Tanya Torp

As February draws to a close, along with the Lovin’ the ‘hood series, I look back to see a portrait of the neighborhood captured by a collection of creative contributors.  It is a fresh composition of this place’s long-standing qualities.  We have heard from all ages, through various media.  Each voice has demonstrated a unique perspective and displayed a heartfelt affection.  Enjoy a final taste of this blend of thoughts and, remember, keep lovin’ the ‘hood!

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