Our little block is filled with long-time Montclarions, which we love! We have one “mayor” who takes daily walks and just turned 83 years old. He’s lived here for decades, and seems to know everyone.
Anyway, a neighbor got organized this year and invited fellow block dwellers to a combined Halloween and birthday celebration. Our honored guest came with long hair and sort of resembled Keith Richards. Other neighbors came out of the woodwork – ready to eat, drink and hang out.
It was so nice to meet and schmooze with neighbors on a beautiful Saturday night. We sat in our alley-way and called out to the few trick-or-treating families with lots of candy offerings. We also sugar-rushed together with all the cake, candy and marshmallows there.
Maybe this isn’t surprising, but everyone reveled in the “open secret” of the Oakland Hills. The hassles of commuting, security concerns and natural disasters were accepted as trade-offs. With decades of living in the Merriewood area, residents shared some memories as well:
- Good old days – Apparently the power outages we have recently experienced were far more commonplace in the past. The infrastructure’s never been that terrific, but hardiness gets worn like a badge of honor.
- Beyond cats and dogs – Our own “Mr. Ed” resided in a small stable off Nottingham, and several of his horse friends also lived in the hills years ago. There was a large menagerie of birds, along with dogs, living with the old Montclair vet (before he moved to Tasmania).
- Weather perfection – Everyone recalled the once-in-a-lifetime snowfall, back in the 1970s, when the snow actually stuck and looked beautiful around here. One couple starting considering retirement spots but kept discounting other locales due to, you know, weather.
As this motley crew chatted, we discovered how “place” drew us together. We all knew the gray and white cat who visited often, and found out where he lived. We complained about raccoons and skunks, and shared how we dealt with them. We stared at the nearly full moon and even howled a bit at it!
We’re not complete and total strangers anymore.