I am not used to living in a community. As a child in Philadelphia, I was surrounded by a hostile group that verbally and physically attacked me and my parents from the time I was very small.
I will never forget being a child of 5 or 6 walking down the block, where the neighbors sat on the steps on summer evenings staring down at me and my mother as we walked down the block from the bakery or the library. They would yell insults, and sometimes the children, taking a cue from their parents, would throw things at me.
The person to the immediate right of us claimed that several inches of our yard(a tiny postage stamp affair) belonged to her, and she would place an overflowing trash can full of smelly garbage under our window in the summer. Since we had no air conditioner, we had to keep the window open or risk suffocation.
Now that we have bought a house, we are blessed for the first time with the most wonderful group of neighbors I could imagine! They are helpful and kind, and seem to be sincere. For example, a couple of nights ago, the neighbor helped me bring in a new nightstand for beside my bed from the furniture consignment store. He carried it upstairs, and I forgot to close the garage door. The cat didn't turn up after that for supper, and didn't answer my calls. I looked in the closets and outside. She has never been out in her life, so I was worried.
I told some of my neighbors, many of whom I had never met before, and they began combing the neighborhood looking for her, calling and poking into the bushes. It turned out she was hiding in the closet, afraid that someone she didn't know had come into her domain. But I was so touched by the helpfulness of my new neighbors! I hope I can overcome my customary aloofness, born of all the hostility I have experienced in the past, and be as good a neighbor to them as these people are to me.