I moved 500 miles away and it seems that every time I turn around, I am with family of some sort. Sitting on the love seat at the end of my aunt and uncle's bed the other night, my aunt in her nightgown, I said "I received a phone call from so and so in Cleveland. All that time I lived there, and I probably saw them six times a year...." It's odd, isn't it?
As an adult, I feel that the relationship with family changes. I know for some people, they have the tie to their parent, grandparent or sibling. The text/phone/e-mail all of the time type of connection. I guess I never got that before.
But when you all live within about four miles of each other, it is easy to "drop in." And in Madison, people still do drop in on each other.
I recently had a conversation with someone about overbooked children. I said, "What kid just sits on the grass and looks at the sky these days?" They are busy, busy, busy. But then, I pictured the neighborhood kids in Madison. In their bare feet, stopping by the neighbor boy's house to see if he can come out and play with squirt guns. It reminded me very much of how I grew up in the mid eighties - fond, fond memories.
And then I started to think about how often I see my family here. Or how I can't get a moment to myself when I want to at times, because someone is at my door unexpectedly (part of the reason I try to always keep everything clean).... These are things of the past that still go on in Madison.
If I am in the neighborhood, I am stopping by. And you can, too. Sometimes I have the door open to my "french balcony," and I just hear familiar voices. That's all you need to hear and you have evening plans.
None of the excuse of "I have eight million things going on." Yes, we do. We are busy people. But it is too easy to not see each other in this condensed city with a million different activites to choose from - most of them walking or running distance.
The 1950s, "open door" policy still exists in Madison, Wisconsin. In fact, my neighbor just asked me to let their dog out, as they left their door unlocked and to "help yourself to any beer" - as I sit here drinking a beer and having squeaky cheese curds from the Coop. Ahhh.. Wisconsin....