NORMAN — A continuation of the discussion I want to have on designing and building age-friendly houses and neighborhoods came a while back at a welcome party for the new young couple that bought our house and are expecting their first child in March.
They bought the house because it reminded the wife of the home she grew up in and all the pleasant memories that came with those experiences.
The welcome party was at our neighbor’s house. They have lived on the street for 30 years in two different houses on the block. Others attending had been neighborhood residents in the neighborhood from 20 to 40 years, which is basically from the start of the neighborhood.
Everyone had such great stories of the experiences living on our street that included all the other people who had lived there and even died there. The discussion included stories of all the children who had grown up on the street, including ours, since we moved into the original house when the kids were 5, 11 and 13. The stories moved on to them returning with grandkids to see their parents and see the old neighborhoods.
It included my story of seeing these five “old guys” walking down the street, pointing at this house and that and obviously having a good time in doing so. When I stopped to ask them what they were doing, they responded that they just came back to Norman to see the old neighborhood and were remembering all that had gone on as kids and pointing out which houses they had grown up in.
The standing joke during this party was that this new couple, who were now living in the neighborhood, would stay for a long time. Just like everyone else, they would never leave. I think it made them uncomfortable, even though they were laughing along with the rest of us old folks. It was a great conversation, and it emphasized how important a neighborhood and the relationships that can be made while living there can make for a healthy life.