Monday, January 02, 2012

First Impressions and Property Lines

Our house is on the corner. We have new next-door-neighbors behind us. When the family was checking out the place, their sons (maybe age 10 or so) were running through our backyard. No biggie, I told myself, they don't know what's their yard and what's ours.

So this weekend the moving truck appeared and left and re-appeared. Yesterday afternoon, the boys came running through our yard. I told myself "No biggie; they're boys; they're playing outside; they haven't figured out what's theirs and what's the neighbors' yet; the parents are busy with moving and unpacking." But then they came running straight up to the house and onto the deck. "Oh, maybe they're coming over to say hi, to meet us, to ask to borrow something." I headed across the kitchen toward the back door to answer the anticipated knock, and before I was halfway to the door, they'd already turned in their chase-game and were jumping off the deck and careening through the yard back to their house.


Now I'm recalling (from when we lived up north) the gang of kids who would raid the neighbors' berry patches. The only time they refrained was when an owner was physically present to catch them and shoo them away. Even when we neighbors would tell the kids to leave someone's garden alone, they didn't care; the kids were always gone by the time the police arrived. (Yes, the kids' behavior grew to be that big a problem.)

I don't want the neighbors' first impression of me to be a cranky old woman asking them to keep their kids out of my yard, even if I am showing up on their doorstep to welcome them with smiles and a loaf of fresh homemade bread. And yet, if we say nothing and allow it, then what? I could put a "best construction" on it when they were coming into our yard while running and playing. But halfway across our deck? They're old enough to know better. I'm afraid my first impressions of them have already colored what will show through when they get their first impressions of me.

PS: Gary says kids won't steal things like spinach and potatoes and tomatoes and asparagus. But we have grapes, apples, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries too. Hmmm. I hate it that I'm already so suspicious.

1 comment:

  1. I share your suspiciousness. I hate that I twitch at kids running through our yard, but I do, largely because I've had peony shoots trampled and freshly planted garden veggies stomped.

    I've usually waited until it's been a consistent problem before saying something, though, simply because even good kids make a mistake, and maybe the kids' parents did holler at them when they went back inside.