Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor

Amazon Prime released a series called “Them”. It is set in the 1950’s, and it tells the story of a Black family that moves into an all-white neighborhood in Los Angeles. Watching this show reminds me of the fact that my parents were the second Black family on our street. This was well before I was born but I’ve heard the story all my life.

The female neighbor next door told the other neighbor on the opposite side that since N-words lived there now she didn’t want “their” plums falling in her yard. So the other neighbor cut the plum tree in our back yard down in the middle of the night. My daddy, being who he was, burned the man’s storage shed down and cut his fig tree down. This kind of thing went on for a few years.

By the time I was born, there was another plum tree, fig tree, and storage shed. The neighbor who didn’t want the N-word’s plums in her yard ended up babysitting me after school, and her grandchildren who spent the summer with her stayed in our house and back yard most of the time. We played,fought, and got spankings together too many times to count. We even painted them black with charcoal and dog poop once and all ended up in the bathtub together.

Over the years, TWO men who originally hated one another got older and sickly, but by this time they both had spare keys to each other’s homes in case of an emergency. The man who had cut our plum tree down at one point had the pleasure of cleaning up after my dad after he had soiled himself, and he stayed there with my dad until my mom got home. He also cooked for him on dialysis days.

My dad would sometimes ride his wheelchair down to the other man’s house to take a plate of food my mom had made, or they would have a cup of coffee standing out on the property line they once cursed at each other over.

Both of those neighbors are long gone now. All I have are fond memories of them both. When my brother passed, the male neighbor was the first person to hug and kiss me and tell me he loved me. The female neighbor left me my favorite one of her tea cups that she used to use for sun-tea and allowed me to use for my after school snack. Until the male neighbor was well into his 80’s he helped my mom in any way possible without her having to even ask. His family still sends her greeting cards and gifts from time to time.  

The show “Them” is a trigger for many reasons, but from a cinematic perspective, it is very suspenseful, and this can make it easy for us to forget the advice to love thy neighbor. If we all put ourselves in our neighbors’ shoes and committed to truly loving them, imagine how much greater we could become as individuals, families, and communities.

How diverse is the neighborhood you live in? Are your neighbors a big part of your family’s life?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Disha Ellis. Photo credit to the author.

Interview with #WorldMom Yolanda Gordon!

yolandaWhere in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I live in Fort Mill, SC.  I am from South Carolina.  I was born and raised here, and I attended public schools here.

What language(s) do you speak?
I speak English.  I can understand Spanish, however, I can speak very little of it.  I also know American Sign Language.

When did you first become a mother (year/age)?
I first became a mother at the age of 19 in 1999.
Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work from home or away from home?

I work full time as a Licensed Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.  It’s a wonderful job.

Why do you blog/write?

I originally started a blog because I had all sort of ideas in my head that I wanted to share.  Then it became more than that.  I was able to share the day in and day out of being a mom of three children with different disabilities. It also turned into a place where I could share about social good and being a single mother.

What makes you unique as a mother?

What makes me unique is that I am the mom of two children on the Autism Spectrum. In addition, my oldest child was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 13.  In spite of these challenges, I advocate for those who have less than I, for children, and for a variety of other causes.

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

One of the biggest challenges of raising children today is not knowing my neighbors.  People are not concerned with creating lasting relationships with their neighbors these days like they did when I was a child.  Everyone knew each other back then even if we didn’t live in the same neighborhood.

How did you find World Moms Network?

I found World Moms Network through Jen Burden and Shot@Life.

This is an original post to World Moms Network by World Mom, Yolanda Gordon in the USA. Welcome, Yolanda! 
BRAZIL: On the Move, Part II – should we stay or should we go?

BRAZIL: On the Move, Part II – should we stay or should we go?


This is the Part 2 of a two part post.  The first part is available here

We are thinking about moving.  Yesterday we visited two very nice houses at great prices and relatively close to where we live. I loved the first house in the sense that it has a practical, easy to clean design and would be great for the kids. However, there isn’t a single tree in the property! Also, it is completely exposed to neighbors and people in the street, which is something I do not like at all. The second house has lots of lovely trees, yet had an unpractical format that is not too child friendly. Among other things, it includes a high mezzanine that would be quite hard to keep the kids away from.

Basically, I would like to have the first house in the second house’s lot, which would be by the forest we live next to now!

Nevertheless, even though neither is perfect, either one of them would give us the chance to move and have a more organized, cozier home without undergoing the stress of home improvement projects. Plus, one of the advantages of moving – although it can also be a stress factor – is having a chance of reorganizing all of the stuff one has accumulated along the years and donating a bunch of items that are no longer necessary. Some even say that there are huge psychological benefits, as going through all that accumulated stuff can even stimulate the re-evaluation of an entire life and life style.

I believe the single greatest reason for staying, both for my husband and I, is the forest. I also like to think that living the way we do – with such close contact to the forest and all of its fauna and flora – will give our children a different perspective in life.

In his excellent book, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, Chinese geographer Yi-Fu Tuan discusses how one’s home and its architecture influences the perceptions of and relationship with the environment, comparing the case of China and the USA.

Another thing that bothers me is that the new owners of our house might not “take care” of the forest as we do. Of course we only “look after” a tiny piece of the forest right behind our house, but some of the animals have almost become part of the family. For example, there is a sloth that our daughter has named Melissa…but also the tiny squirrel that makes its chirping sounds early every morning, the tegus that live in a hole in our backyard, plus the humming birds, chameleons, possums, agoutis, and so many others!

The sad truth is that surprisingly, many of our neighbors don’t care much about the forest.  We often ask ourselves why they live here.  They place high walls between the forest and their properties. Sometimes they illegally cut down the closest trees out of fear that they may topple over their houses (even though rarely a professional is summoned to check if there is truth in that fear), or they clear the bushes and smaller trees because they believe it will ward away snakes. More than once we have patiently talked to people about these issues only to be repelled off angrily in a menacing tone.

On the other hand, I also worry about the possibility of an unhealthy attachment to the house itself on my part. I don’t think it is healthy to be overly attached to any object. I recently saw how difficult it was for my mother to move out of her huge and decaying house, even though she was living completely alone, widowed for the second time (and now the difficulty to sell or do something about it). Similarly, my mother-in-law lives alone with her eldest son in an old eight bedroom house which almost everyone in the family is extremely resistant to sell due to their childhood memories and attachments.

Thus the question remains. Should we remodel our house and make the best of it? Should we take the “simple” path and just move?  What have your experiences been with house remodeling and moving? Please share below!

This is part two of an original post to World Moms Blog by Ecoziva in Brazil.

Photo credit to the author.

Ecoziva (Brazil)

Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog.

Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.

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