Guest writer: Margaret Lawrence Banning:
Photos courtesy of: Margaret Lawrence Banning:
Even though I’ve adopted the line from the October 19, 1903 Indianapolis Star, “…Irvington, the classic suburb which has an interesting way of turning up all kinds of freaks and strange things generally…”as my email tagline, there was nothing freaky or even generally strange about our Labor Day Block Party.
Regardless, it was an iconic Irvington afternoon. My neighbor, Aaron Story, who was born to be a community organizer – he really can’t seem to help himself – decided we needed to revive an on-again/off-again tradition for our street. He made up some flyers, sent his oldest with a few of his friends to distribute them, and a party was born. The weather was certainly cooperative, in fact stellar, but all sorts of people came with covered dishes, brownies, salads, snacks, and more brownies. People I’d never seen before (hard to admit), some I’ve only waved to – yes, we’re big wavers – and well-acquainted neighbors. And folks stayed for hours, while kids raced in the streets, got toys caught and retrieved from trees, went back for seconds and third servings, and we all got to know each better or just got caught up.
One of the “veteran” neighbors – he’s lived in the house since he was three – commented on how great it was to see all the kids. Of course he moved here as a child, but he said there was a period, a few years back, when there weren’t so many families with children. I noticed that too when we first moved to Irvington. But now there are. I take that as a sign of a healthy neighborhood, when you have the full range of ages and stages in life living in the same area. I want to hear the squeals of laughter from one neighbor’s tribe and the see my retired neighbors sitting on their porches in the evenings.
And toddlers to grandparents came out on a busy holiday weekend to share a meal and say hello. With very little effort, a big jug of lemonade and a ton of hot dogs, we bonded a little closer to those who live closest to us.