The ripple effect

Earth Day. It came and it went, signified by lots of yellow garbage bags at the edges of parks and school yards around the city. Kind souls scooping up waste on the public walking trails. Classes of students and teachers doing roadsides around their schools. Cleanup was everywhere!

Our street was littered by a huge windstorm a couple of weeks ago and we had somebody’s supply of used diapers all over the place. That was my Earth Day contribution… shovel and bag and they’re gone! Our 3 year old grand-daughter was fascinated by diapers in the street and would willingly have leapt right in there to do her bit so I gave her a shovel.

Our neighbourhood is changing. We’ve changed neighbourhoods four times since buying our first house in 1973, six times since moving to Barrie in 1971. This is what we hope is our second last neighbourhood before our kids move us in to Grove Park Home some time in the distant (hopefully) future. But right now we’ve spent the past five years in a post war subdivision carved out of the old Newton farm in the early 50’s. Housing was in huge demand after World War Two and these little bungalows signified a changing time.

When we moved here we were struck by the diversity of our neighbourhood. We still have residents (now grandparents and great grandparents) who moved here as newlyweds, paying in the neighbourhood of $15,000 for their homes in 1951. We have several young families who have moved in and we try to keep track of all the kids’ ages and stages. For instance, Marshall just had his second birthday and his new baby sister arrived two weeks ago. Mason is growing like a weed and is now in grade one. Seems like yesterday I hauled our son’s big wheels down for him to play with. We also have a few folks like ourselves, downsizing from bigger homes, seeking a simpler lifestyle and a manageable yard. And we are all grateful for each other and our shared understanding of this new phase of our lives.

We have some snowbirds in our neighbourhood, and they’ve all just arrived home.

We’ve lost neighbours in the past few months… sudden deaths, moves to long term care facilities, marking the end of a very incredible era., after the war. We still have our street captain, Jack, who fills us in on everything from purchase prices, to street names, to closed walkthroughs, to who owned what house when.

The children of one elderly couple who have left their house are emptying out the memories… the third dumpster just arrived this week. It’s a tough time, looking back, remembering your parents as younger, healthier people. It’s hard to deal with belongings, with the memories of a special cup and saucer, or a painting that always amused you.

The ripple effect of dealing with your parents’ house is coming home and decluttering your own!

Soon, these two empty houses will have their contents redistributed, their windows washed and new residents moving in. And our neighbourhood stretches to embrace new folks.

It’s the ripple effect.