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Livin' Good in the Neighborhood

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2005-06-27


I’m proud to say I live in an old school neighborhood. If you want to put up a clothes line to use the sun and wind to dry your clothes, go right ahead. If you want to have an above-ground swimming pool in your backyard, that’s great.

And, if you want to put up a six-foot inflatable Thanksgiving turkey in your front yard to celebrate the pilgrims’ brave journey to a better life, well, the neighbors might roll their eyes, but they probably won’t say anything. How could they complain, when they have a four-foot concrete basket in THEIR front yard, which they decorate according to the seasons?

Sometimes, this laissez-faire approach to subdivisions can backfire. A trampoline in your backyard is one thing, but in the front yard? Yet just minutes from my house, there it is, in someone’s front yard, right across from a school no less. Why they couldn’t put it in their back yard, behind the fence, is beyond me. Then there’s the camper’s corner, the people who have one of those pop-up camper-trailer things sitting in their driveway. Problem is, their house is on a corner, and there’s no way to camouflage anything. Add to this the front yard-as-driveway trend, which makes me wonder just how many people are living in the house that has five cars in close proximity. Can’t they draw straws for driveway space?

Despite the occasional neighborhood eyesore, even if someone gave me $200,000 and told me to spend most of it on a house, I would refuse to live in the Yuppier neighborhoods sprouting in Northwest and Southwest Allen County. These all have names like the Dells of Crystal Creek or Villas of Stillwood Lake. I like to call these subdivisions “Village of Bankruptcy” or “Dells of Foreclosure.” For “only” $150,000 (lot extra) you too can have a home that looks like everyone else’s on your street. Choose from exciting light beige, medium beige or dark beige exterior! Basketball hoops attached to your garage are not allowed, but during the summer months, you can have one of those robotic-looking portable basketball hoops in your driveway! Your mail will be delivered not to a mailbox within easy reach of your porch, but to a two-foot by three-foot metal box conveniently located halfway down the street. Sidewalks are optional, so watch out for children playing in the street (when they get tired of watching cable, surfing the ‘Net or playing Nintendo.)

Oh, and watch out for the neighborhood code Nazi who has nothing better to do than to make sure the flowers you planted are within subdivision rules for color and height range.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating. But live in Yuppie land? Forget it. I guess my thinking is, if you shell out $30,000 or more just for space to plunk your house on, you’d better damn well be allowed to build a house in the shape you want, and in the color you want. And if you want that inflatable Turkey come Thanksgiving time, the neighbors just better learn to deal with it.

And for those guiding visitors to the house around holiday time, what better way to give directions to your house than to say, “yeah, we’re right across the street from the giant inflatable Frosty The Snowman”? Sure beats saying, “we’re the beige house next to the light beige house.” Or if all else fails, just park your SUV on the lawn. The neighbors will understand.

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