Eugene sat on the front porch, or stoop, of his house on this
Saturday afternoon. His neighborhood was blessed with lots of
children who played their popular games in the street. It was a
highly desirable neighborhood in which to live. Neighbors looked
out for each other and pulled together in support of one another.
On summer evenings, both adults and children decorated the
house-fronts through-out the day and into the evening hours. It
was highly populated due to the large number of children that had
been created. It was a lively street with constant activities for the
In many other populated American towns, the problem arose
when children grew into adults, with little or no promise of
Eugene’s neighborhood, Bellerose, New York, was not one of
those other towns. It had a large young adult population that
enjoyed numerous and prosperous job prospects.
However, Bellerose, has a different issue. It’s young
population found independent living quarters to be a scarcity.
Sure, there was life with Mom and Pop, but . . .
Bill and Mildred Winston had lived on Eugene’s street for
thirty years. Their two children had relocated to El Paso, Texas in
1978. Their daughter, Catherine, delivered their first grandchild in
1981, exactly nine months to the day of the marriage.
Catherine and Jim had sweated that one out!
Mildred and Bill had thought about retiring and moving to El
Paso to be with their children. To be with their grandchild would
be a home run!
Afterall, Long Island, New York was quite a way from El Paso,
Following intense discussion for over a year, they were still
deadlocked on whether to relocate to Texas.
Bill was already retired, while Mildred continued to work.
She was finding it difficult to leave the job that she found so
Suddenly, fate intervened!
Mildred collapsed while at work. She spent five days in the
hospital and received five blood transfusions.
The doctor strongly suggested that she end her working
So, she gave it hard thought as she lay in her hospital bed.
“It’s time for you to enjoy a different aspect of life. There is
your grandson,” Dr. Pierce reminded her.
She decided to resign on her first day back to work.
So, they would!
The dynamics of this situation had to be considered. There
were many young adults, known to Mildred and Bill, that would
jump to put an offer on their house.
“We watched all these children grow up. Many of them
would be eager to buy our house. “So how do we handle this, Bill,”
Mildred questioned. “So many with good jobs, and looking for a
good house to raise a family.”
The large garage sale had made it obvious to the
neighborhood that a “move out” was in the planning.
Many young adults in the neighborhood watched and waited.
How would this event unfold?
“Well, how do we do this, Bill?” Mildred asked with sarcasm.
“I’m not sure I want to sell the house at all. This is our house.”
Mildred teared up often over this discussion.
“Mildred,” Bill explained with sensitivity. “It’s time to move on.
Time for a new adventure, a new chapter in our lives. We have a
grandson in El Paso.”
The neighborhood watched and waited.
“Let’s ask a fair price. The kids are our extended family.
Together, with our children, they created our memories,” Bill
offered. “This is important. What we do, I mean our manner of
doing it, could damage, or even ruin, long-term friendships.”
“I realize that,” Mildred replied.
A few days passed.
“Mildred, I have it! Here is how we go about it,” he said.
We pick a day, and a time, and I will go out to the front yard
and post a “For Sale” sign. You can pick one, and I’ll pick the other.
“I’ll pick the day,” Mildred said “This Saturday.”
“Then at 3 P.M.,” Bill pronounced. “At 3 P.M.”
It would be a go!
Eugene sat in front of his house on Saturday afternoon. Hot
and sweaty, he held a cold root beer in his hands.
His younger brother, Johnny, was engaged to be married.
Johnny was one of those neighbors who had been watching
and waiting. He was just inside the front door of his house
studying for his calculus exam.
Eugene’s eyes perked up.
Bill Williams just walked out from the yard and hammered a
“For Sale” sign into the ground.
Eugene jumped from the chair, ran to the front door, and
“Johnnie, it’s up for sale. Johnny, hurry!”
Johnny burst out the door and went running down the street.
The mad dash!
The neighbors, sitting out in their front yards, thought that it
was another common neighborhood mini-drama in progress.
On average, the dramas occurred every other day.
Johnny nervously knocked on the front door. Then he rang
the bell anxiously.
The door opened.
“Mr. Williams, I want to buy the house,” Johnny managed,
almost out of breath.
“Then, come in, Johnny, and let’s discuss the matter,” Bill
Bill asked Mildred into the parlor, and they discussed the
There were more doorbell rings during the dialogue.
All finally smiled.
Bill shook hands with Johnny. Together, they taped the notice
over the sign that read “SOLD”.
Life moved on.
Johnny and Giselle felt lucky to start a family in the same
neighborhood, on the same street and in a very fine house.
Mildred and Bill had done the same in El Paso. They had
bought a house on the same street as their son.
It worked great.
Bill loved it.
Mildred hated it!
“Where are all the people?” she would remark as she scanned
the street. “I hate it!”
Texans sat in their back yards rather than their front yards.
“We could do just like the Grahams did,” Bill said.
“Open up the Atlas,” Bill directed.
“Turn to page 54.”
West Texas and Southern New Mexico.
“I’ll swirl the Atas, and then you will drop the penny on the
open page. And we will move to that location.
Mildred dropped the penny.
The penny chose Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“Let’s set to packing,” Bill goaded.
“What, leave the kids and our grandson behind?” Mildred said
“Why sure. You don’t like El Paso,” Bill rationalized.
“If you think you’re going to make me leave El Paso, you are
out of your mind.” Mildred snapped.
“Alright, if you insist, we’ll stay in El Paso,” Bill said with a
“What the hell was he thinking?” Mildred mumbled as she left
Happiness, it seems, was both in the front and back yards,
whenever family was nearby.
Life is dynamic!
LIFE IS A MAD DASH!