|Bridge Studio: Jason Schmidt|
via NY Times
Another good neighbor friend called me today to break the news that he's moving his family to Irvine. Their only child, a boy exactly Oliver's age, is one of several boys in our neighborhood whose families are either moving up and out into much bigger houses and fancier 'hoods or the opposite: simpler lives in smaller areas. This boy and the other boy live across the street and around the corner, and for the ten years we've lived in this house, our neighborhood has resembled Maybery of Andy Griffith more than a couple of residential streets in an enormous city.
I cried in the car in the parking lot of Trader Joe's when he told me. I cried because it means my boys won't have easy access to neighbors' houses -- the banging of doors as they come in and out -- the tribes on the trampolines and the wars in the front yards. Sure, new people will move in, but relationships take years, and most of these homes are small, starter ones -- I'd anticipate young couples with babies and toddlers moving in, not tweens and teen-agers. The trouble with living in this city -- for us -- is that we are not particularly upwardly mobile and most of the people around us are. People don't blink an eye at spending millions of dollars on homes and hundreds of thousands on private schools. They have the means to sequester themselves behind boxwood walls with pools and media rooms, and settle on sending their children to schools that are in distant neighborhoods. I'd venture to say that they don't live in neighborhoods but in beautiful houses on beautiful streets.
If they don't have the means, they have the sense to move out and beyond to where their lives could be simpler, easier on the foot, the planet and the pocket. I wish they wouldn't, but I understand their choices.
I'm wondering about all of this, feeling sad and not a little trapped. Even if I could afford it, I don't want a bigger house or a fancier neighborhood. I love my house and I love my neighborhood. I don't want my children to go to exclusive private schools in far-away neighborhoods and be surrounded by those who only know huge privilege.
But I don't want to be left behind, either.
(I loved the photo above from this wonderful article.)