Anyone who really knows me can testify to my 70’s and 80’s television nostalgia. Numerous thematic elements dictated the success of these shows, but one in particular stands out for me—THE NEIGHBOR. Ah yes, that busybody who either lived next door to the star of the show, or perhaps the seemingly non-essential character who always made an appearance at just the right (or wrong) time. I can think of a few off the top of my head—Eddie Haskell, Lenny & Squiggy, Rhoda, Larry and Mr. Roper, and of course…Fonzie.
Benson was the butler for the governor; which means the show probably should have been called, “The Governor”, right!? No, because when the governor had major political decisions to make, he often ran into his butler and received an anecdote or an insult that helped him run the state more effectively.
On The Jefferson’s, it was Mr. Bentley. He was the kind-hearted man with an English accent, always disrespected by George, yet never discouraged from bringing a treat, a gift, or lending his therapeutic talents by walking on Mr. J’s back.
While growing up in the Northside of Milwaukee, if someone rang our front doorbell (ding-dong), it was usually a REAL guest—relatives, the newspaper delivery boy saying “COLLECT” so he could get paid, a package being delivered for my mother from QVC, a politician asking for our vote, or a Jehovah’s Witness. But if someone rang the BACK doorbell (one ding, no dong), everyone in the house knew who it was: our neighbor, Bobby Joe Harvey. He always took his shoes off before he came inside, and his voice could be heard no matter where you were. He was a bit eccentric; the true definition of comic relief. He called my brother, “MACDONALD” because my brother worked at McDonald’s for awhile as a teenager. He called my sister, “TREE” because she once dated a Milwaukee Bucks Basketball Player who (when he came to the house to pick her up) was as tall as a…….(you get the picture). He called me, “LITTLE TREE”, saying I was a younger version of my sister. And he called my dad, LEMON—I cannot even remember THAT story. He was invasive, nosey, loud, silly, crazy, and a boundary—crosser. All the time. But he was our protector. Our eyes. He cheered us on. He greeted us no matter the day or the time. He inserted himself into our household dynamic; stopped by to visit during most family gatherings. There was NOTHING he would not do for my father and for our family. Period.
One thing about folks today, though, is that everyone wants privacy. The first thing people want to do when they buy a house is PUT UP A TALL FENCE. The RING doorbell is undoubtedly a multi-trillion dollar business because no one really wants to open their door—like EVER. Blackout curtains are a hot commodity. No one would DARE borrow a cup of sugar from across the street in 2021! It’s not that I don’t understand that this world can be a scary place, but I definitely resist the idea that ignoring everyone that is not already in my circle is the proper way to defeat fear. I fight to maintain that there is true VALUE in getting to know other humans. There is growth in learning new people—their names and their paths; there is integrity in offering your kindness to even those who do not ask for it. Stop believing your circle is complete simply because it’s comfortable. Be open to a new face, and be willing to walk on someone’s back if necessary.
OnMyQ—DO ANY OF YOU HAVE GREAT NEIGHBORS? DO ANY OF YOU ATTEMPT TO BE GREAT NEIGHBORS TO THOSE IN YOUR CUL DE SAC? This message is also for those that can benefit from passers by on this life journey who may have something to swap with you. She can be your trainer, you can be her realtor. He can do your taxes, you can do his marketing. Don’t just wake up—BE PRESENT for others. It feels so good to be back, although the guest bloggers we have enjoyed this summer were absolutely amazing. I hate that my host website discontinued commenting, so please visit my blog Facebook page to chime in! Thank you all!!