Mr. Rogers neighborhood, or equivalent

An old house in El Paso
There’s nothing like proximity for building community.
I recommend you get a house in an old neighborhood.

Not just a house in an old neighborhood. A house in an old neighborhood where the houses are close.

I know, you like your yard. Your field of fire. Your vestigial instinct to run to the cave if you see a predator approaching across the plain.

And who wants to take a crapshoot on neighbors who live that close? They might be meth heads, or something.

Actually, meth heads prefer the suburbs, too. They especially like their privacy. Their field of fire. Their vestigial instinct to run to the cave if they see a predator approaching.

Old neighborhoods are real neighborhoods. Communities. You may not know your neighbors, but you know what they do. And they know you know, because they know what you do, too. I’m not saying that there aren’t any secrets, but mostly, they’re the details, not the big stuff.

You need a front porch, so you can sit on your front porch and share a bottle of wine while the neighborhood kids kick their soccer balls and learn to ride their bikes. You need to be able to walk to the little corner store and buy a bag of tostadas and a forty, and an onion if you’ve unexpectedly run out.

You need to get rid of all that crap in your garage, and then you need to get rid of your garage, too. It’s not what you own, it’s what you do that’s makes you happy, and all that crap in your garage is holding you back. It’s psychic inertia is tugging on you like Jupiter’s gravity. Cut it loose. Set it free.

One of the things you’ll be able to get rid of is that 46 inch Husqvarna riding mower with the twenty-two horsepower Briggs and Stratton V-twin engine. Or maybe you can keep it to ride down to the little corner store.


  1. That is so true. Old neighborhoods have a certain charm and character especially those where the small mom/pop or family-owned grocery stores can still be found within walking distance. Neighborhoods where the houses don’t all look like replicas of each other, there is something different whether it be the garden, the porch, an addition to the house, or a brilliant paint job. I loved those with bright colors. You can always count on one of your neighbors to bring in your trash can after the pick-up on those super windy, dusty days you all get in El Paso if it just happens that you are late coming home. No asking, some neighbor or another just does it.

    Another good thing is that in these old neighborhoods you don’t have to be a member of some bloody association that dictates what you plant or build or not build or colors you may use. Color! Reminds me of Sandra Cisneros and her fight due to her Easter egg purple (or was it pink?) house. Different type of association though. If you want tendederos to line dry your clothes you most certainly may have them.

    And don’t forget the alleys. These you can always use as gardens or fix them up nice. The best alleys are the ones that give you can access to your driveway/garage so you don’t have the driveway out front.

  2. El Richiboy
    I completely agree with you on this. Front porch parties in close knit neighborhoods are great! I’m going to try buy one on the new trolley route before the price of that real estate skyrockets. It would be great to take the trolley from the Barmuda triangle, grab a bite to eat, then back down to the ball park and catch a game. Or jump off with the circular to meet you for a nacho plate at the Tap. Brilliant idea. I’m sure that tax base downtown would rise too. Bravo. Great idea Rich!

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