I can hear laughter and the giggles coming from my window. When I walk outside I see the girls playing “catch me if you can”, the boys playing football, basketball in the yards. Some of them just sit around their corner with their own group and talk about girls. As for the Grown-ups, they’re always gossiping about the next door neighbor. Mr. Carter, you will never forget his name. He’s always wearing a green shirt with long black pants. And he’s always in every one’s business. “I am the father of this neighborhood; it is my job to know what comes in and what goes out”. If you ever have a concern about your kids or the neighborhood, you know that Mr. Carter is here for you. He was like the Undercover of everyone’s childhood growing up.
My aunty Anabel, can’t forget about her. Everyone in the neighborhood knew her as the “queen of the neighborhood”.
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You may ask why, well it’s because she used to cook for the entire neighborhood whenever there was a festival. I remember one day it was Mr. Carter’s 90th birthday. He made sure everyone knew about it, he made Mrs. Carter backed small cookies. At 4:00pm sharp he walked around and gives every house in the neighborhood one cookie, believe it or not that was your invitation. As soon as my aunty heard the news, she got everything together and started a huge barbecue party for him. There wasn’t one person who stayed home that day.
That day I remember me and my best friend Ana sitting next to Mr. Carter for the first time. We were really scared of him, since we were five learning how to walk. We never wanted to approach him; well we taught he wouldn’t like us. Just because he would tell on every kid in the neighborhood. We approached him slowly, trying to wish him a happy birthday. “Well well well who do we have here” he said with a firm voice. “Happy birthday Mr. Carter!” we replied. He gave us a smile and said “for six years, you two never come to me, don’t even talk to me; I think I’m blushing” we giggled. We sat on his lap; he told us some old stories about when he was a kid. We were surprised because he was born in the same neighborhood. Sadly two days later Mr. Carter passed away, it was the worst news for everyone. I remember going to his funeral bringing him a single flower crying.
In my neighborhood where I grew up, that’s where everything good happens. People with good heart that donates any kind of things to each other. You would know everyone in the neighborhood, starting from the youngest to the oldest. Not to forget how the oldest can be a pain, they will make sure that every kid in the neighborhood knew that they were watching them in case you wouldn’t know. Saturday morning was the day that you would see every kid cleaning every corner of their house. The women would be out in the market getting ready to cook a big family meal. The male would be either in their own yards cleaning it, or in the house fixing anything that was broken.
Well that’s my neighborhood; where everyone knew each other. Where the elderly had the right to punish you without your parent’s permission. When Mr. Carter was the chief of the neighborhood. May his soul be rest in peace. My neighborhood where I was raised by the village, where I learned everything. Sadly I had to leave to come to the US, but one day I will go back and re-live everything that happened in my childhood.