I never thought I’d be a lady who lived in one of those “retirement” communities—and when Brooke, (who, for the record was in high school) and I moved in to this villa, we didn’t pay too much attention to the fact that our next door neighbors were well into their 80’s and that we rarely saw kids, except across the way, when two little girls visited their grand parents for an afternoon. No, for sure, I don’t live in a Retirement Community! Retirement communities have signs and rules, and uniforms for the Neighborhood Watch volunteers. No, that’s not what is going on here at all.
…why am I making such a point of literally defending my housing choice?…It goes back a few nights ago, I was talking to my friend Kait about Halloween. Newly married, Kait and her husband are buying candy and making plans to enjoy the little trick or treaters coming to their door. I remember how much fun that was.
On Halloween, I used to make a hearty soup in the crock pot, many times it was our first chilli of the season. I’d empty big bags of candy into my laughing witch bowl, and a stock pile of extra candy at the ready for fast refills once things got going. And, yes, we were the house with ghosts dancing in the front yard, and a witch who had unfortunately crashed into our tree in the front yard. People used to bring their kids around to see it. I’m quite sure it made me super popular with our neighbors.
Brooke used to host her friends on Halloween after school, they’d run around in their costumes, make crafts and play games. Sometimes we would go down to Main Street, where I’d pass out candy with my fellow City Commissioners. Small town politics and trick or treating, what could be better? It was just like a sitcom on TV.
…and then came the divorce, and the move…and it’s not a retirement community, already! We just don’t decorate the outside of our homes, nor does anyone trick or treat. People quietly walk their dogs, and make sure that everyone uses the new doggie waste cleanup station painted to blend in with the trees. I think someone also goes around to make sure that gnomes and other lawn ornamentation fit association guidelines. And there are monthly meetings, a newsletter (that I never read) and four potlucks a year (that I never go to).
No one celebrates Halloween…or any other holiday openly here…some people put a few gewgaws out at Christmas…but that’s the extent of it.
It feels funny, like something is missing. Like I should be planning something, buying candy and negotiating with Brooke about which costume she would wear—or is she too old to be trick or treating. I miss the chilli bubbling on the stove, taking pictures at the pumpkin patch and complaining about how expensive candy is this year.
It does feel a bit like a retirement community here, actually, and I wonder whether I am really ready to be closed off from the rest of the world in a sterile, cookie cutter—though luxurious, I must say, “community”. Which is definitely not a retirement community…