These are the people in my neighborhood…

Monday Musings from Melinda by Melinda M.

One of the things I love about Hawaii in general and Hilo in particular is how diverse the neighborhoods are. I don’t mean “diverse” ethnically, because of course Hawaii being Hawaii, they are. I mean economically and age-wise.

Our neighborhood was built in the mid-1970s and maybe, like most new developments, it wasn’t initially diverse. My understanding is that it was populated primarily with young families: they would close off the entire development at Halloween, for example, and have a huge block party with the parents trick-or-treating for beers while the kids went for candy.

A neighborhood Easter gathering a few years ago.

Over the years, some families moved out, and some converted their homes to rentals. Many “original” families have remained, several young families have cycled through and others, like ours, moved in as a young family and are now getting ready to see their kids graduate high school.

I think it’s pretty neat, and kind of rare, to be surrounded by neighbors young and old. Where I grew up, families moved out as soon as the kids graduated from high school; property taxes paid for the school system so why stay if you weren’t using that system any more? I don’t think I ever really knew or maybe even saw any seniors as part of my community when I was a kid.

My colorful conversations with Uncle happen when he spoils my dog Daisy rotten.

That’s not the case for my kids: we’ve got Uncle on the corner who has doted on them since they learned to walk. Next to him is an older couple that calls them over to get the tangerines off their tree. There’s the family across the street, also original owners, whose puppy “grew up” alongside my older daughter. These families and others have watched our daughters learn to walk, run, ride bikes and soon will watch them learn to drive in the cul-de-sac.

Today, several mainland transplants are a part of our neighborhood, most of whom are retirees. Uncle noted this change to me recently when we noticed a big truck carrying lumber pass by. He said, “Plenny people from your nation moving in!”

Wait. Is he talking about other people who are Jewish? I had to ask, “What ‘nation’ are you talking about?” His response…? “Caucasian!”

LOL! Only in Hawaii could you say or hear a comment like that.

Make an effort to get together and get to know your neighbors. 

I’m grateful for him and that my children have a warm relationship with him. Uncle and others his age and older and younger make our neighborhood and entire community a vibrant and interesting place to live. They are a big part of “living Hilo style”!


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