fried bologna & wheel of fortune

I grew up next to the Phillips. A street separated our houses, but we were on the same side of the road and they had the cool house at the bottom of the cul-de-sac, which just happened to be at the bottom of a hill. This arrangement caused their yard to be “the” yard. The yard we’d crash our green machines, big wheels & later, our big kid bikes. Their driveway hosted the H-O-R-S-E games. And they were the cool family with the camper. Of which we had to sneak into more times than not.

The house was owned by Tom & Dar. Tom was the cool guy that worked at Oscar Mayer and during the summer the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile would randomly show up in his driveway. HELLO? Could life get any cooler? Riding around the neighborhood inside the Weinermobile? Nevermind the lack of air conditioning or the pop up 2 inches hole in the roof that was to cool the thing off….we were riding in the frickin’ Weinermobile!!

Then there was Dar. Dar made these cool fried bologna sandwiches. Dar had a TV on top of the green fridge and was “always” watching Wheel of Fortune. Dar had sugar cereal to spoil us after a slumber party. Dar has the most spectacular laugh and such high energy. She was a fun mom to grow up with next door!

Their son Chad was my best friend when we were little kids. My childhood memories are of us always playing together, sprinkled in with a little Jan, Nick, Amy, Gwyn, Shannon & Gina and a few others. I spent so much time over at Chad’s house playing – basketball, bikes, frogger (cool family with Atari), lincoln logs in the basement. As we grew up Chad and I grew apart but always randomly talked to each other through the years. I still remember Tom & Dar, Chad and his wife Jenny showing up at my rehearsal dinner and wonderfully surprising me.

Growing up with the Phillips next door was the best! Now that I’m all grown up and a Mom, I think I appreciate them even more. A few weeks back, I went home for a high school class reunion. My husband and I stopped by to see Tom & Dar. We spent a couple of hours with them and it felt like 5 minutes. LOVE when that happens after having not seen them in so many years! (Chad & Amy – I love the gigantic photo of you two in the living room. One of you should really take it!!!)

As newbies in our neighborhood, I’m so hopeful that my kids will have a “Tom & Dar” and a Chad in the neighborhood. The house where they will always feel safe in and welcome in, away from their own home. A place where all the friends gather knowing a good time is about to be had. We had our neighborhood party last night and there are a ton of kids in this ‘hood. I hope as school starts and the people become more familiar, my kids start exploring the neighbors houses.

I hope they are as lucky as I was as a kid in my neighborhood. And now that I’m a Mom, maybe I will also be some little kids’ “Dar” when she’s all grown up.

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