Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois

Good fences make good neighbors. Words of wisdom by Robert Frost. Words I can live by. My neighbors who complain about me not mowing my lawn until Memorial Day also complained to me when the fence between our properties was blown over by strong winds. It was an old wooden fence and the posts rotted from the moisture. Well, her husband put the fence in my yard. They insisted it was my fence, but I didn’t know because the fence was already there when I bought the house. So I took the fence apart and slowly threw it away with the weekly garbage. The wood was rotted beyond repair. Since I didn’t have any small children or pets, I didn’t think I needed to replace the fence between our yards. But my neighbor would sneak up behind me while I was doing yardwork to insist that we get a new fence. I really couldn’t afford a new fence and I told her. But she insisted that we had to get a new fence and we would each pay for half of it. I said I wanted a three-foot chainlink fence because it would last longer than a wooden fence. I had a red cedar wooden fence at my old house and the wind blew it over after about five years. What a shame that I had replaced the thirty-year-old chainlink fence with a wooden one that didn’t even last five years! I insisted on a chainlink fence, but my neighbor ordered a six-foot wooden fence for privacy. And I was supposed to pay for half. I reluctantly agreed, but when I contacted the contracter in order to pay for my half, he told me that the neighbors had already paid in full. I just didn’t understand. Normally, I don’t get that inolved with my neighbors. If my house would have come with a good fence, I could have avoided dealing with my neighbors on this issue.

When I was in high school and we lived in the Marquette Park neighborhood, we had a nosy neighbor. There was a huge apartment building right next door to us with some wooden stairs and porch in the back. I had to go up to give some mail that was mistakenly delivered to our house by mistake. I was startled by someone sitting completely motionless, and seemingly unconcious. The very first time I saw this neighbor, I was mystified. This neighbor was obviously oh so very old. However, I couldn’t tell if he or she was a male or a female, black or white, or, even dead or alive! I thought I would have to call an ambulance, until she greeted me. As I later found out, she was very nosy. Once, a friend came looking for me when we weren’t home. Our nosy neighbor looked down from her back porch and told my friend, “They’re not home. They went to the beach. They’ll be home about ten.”

Hey! Where did my fence go?