It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Paul Morrone |

By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA

Growing up in a 1960’s neighborhood was wonderful.  I have so many fond memories from that time when things were simpler and safer. We rode bikes, played in the streets and there was always someone around to hang out with. We did not have cell phones for our parents to call, but the parents in the neighborhood watched out for one another and the children were never out of eyeshot. We knew to be home for dinner or before the streetlights came on, whichever came first. Again, it was simple and safe.

When Cathy and I were raising our children, we were fortunate to have also lived in a neighborhood with a community feel. We would go for walks and there was always a friendly face along the way. We would stop and have conversations with neighbors, no one was in a rush. The kids rode their bikes, played sports and they always had friends around. The feeling was the same, but aesthetically things looked a little different. The roads were wider, the cars went faster, and the houses were farther apart. It was not as simple and not as safe, but still a neighborhood.

When we finally moved after 28 years to our new home in Branford, we were fortunate to have found another tightly knit community. Our new neighborhood, Pawson Park, looks visually more like where I grew up compared to where we raised our children. It is simpler, the roads are narrower, the cars go slower and the houses are closer together. Now, it is the adults that are the ones riding their bikes. We take Buddy for walks and he gets to sniff his way around the streets. While walking, there is always a friendly face, a wave from a window or a beep from someone in a passing vehicle.  There is usually a conversation that occurs along the way with a fellow neighbor. We talk about our pets, our children or grandchildren. There is always something going on in the neighborhood, the community or the town that inevitably works its way into the conversation. You feel like part of something bigger than yourself.

Most of our neighbors are very close in age to us and are at the same point in life’s journey as we are. Whether it be having grandchildren, travel and or vacation destinations, the daily aches and pains of aging, health issues or contemplating retirement, we’re in it together. And much like my neighborhood growing up, there is always someone to hang out with. There is always another set of hands if needed to help with a project, large or small. I would be the first to offer my assistance to someone and would not feel funny about asking for help. It is very comforting.

The waterfront location of our neighborhood has created a community of people who appreciate the beauty and charm that our unique location has to offer. There is always someone going out in their boat or someone else looking for a kayaking companion. Sometimes we just sit around and enjoy the view with a glass of wine or a beer and solve all the world’s problems (and maybe create a few more). We are now playing like kids and acting as adults at the same time. More importantly, while we hang out together as neighbors and we also look out for each other as friends.

Living in a neighborhood was wonderful as a child, great for raising children, and even more fabulous as an adult. I think I will “go out and play”.

Until the Next Tom’s Take…