Sibling Assignment #55: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

I gave the sibling assignment this week." Robert Frost said, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'Think back to all the neighbors we had growing up in Kellogg. Choose a memorable event that involved neighbors and share your memories." You will find Raymond Pert’s poignant story of friends and neighbors in our hometown here and Silver Valley Girl’s here.

When we lived at 14 E. Portland in Kellogg we had neighbors on either side of us. There was an alley that made a half circle behind us where more houses were located. In my case “good alleys made good neighbors”. Across the alley from Lenhart’s (see last week’s sibling assignment) lived a woman named Mary Pavelich. She was a good neighbor. Above is a picture of me standing in her front yard after Christmas.

Bunker Hill Mining Company was on strike the year I was in kindergarten. When I returned home in the afternoon Dad was there to care for me. The strike ended in the middle of that school year. Mary Pavelich volunteered to take over my care in the afternoons when Dad went back to work.

Most memories about the interior of Mary’s house are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember her husband being in a room bedridden because of a stroke. I was frightened about going in that room. I remember catching a glimpse of white: a while hospital bed, white sheets, and his white face. Mary would go in and close the door and care for him. I think I always thought I had to be quiet. Mary smoked Old Gold cigarettes. She was glamorous as she inhaled those long cigarettes from the gold pack while sitting on the rock wall by the alley or on the front porch. Her bright lipstick left marks on the end of the cigarette in the ashtray. She also drove a big sedan that must have seemed like a Rolls Royce in my five-year-old mind. She also had a camera that took color pictures like the one above. I thought she lived the good life!

I also believed Mary was rich because I got to eat sliced Kraft American cheese at her house. It must have been more expensive because we never had it at home. This was before the days of each piece being wrapped individually. When she made me a cheese sandwich using a perfectly uniform size slice of cheese and soft white bread plus a cold glass of milk I thought it was the best lunch in the world.

Mary must have had one of the first color TVs in town. At least I hadn’t ever seen one before staying at her house. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the modern invention on the half hour as a show was starting on NBC. I was able to see the peacock in full color. Even though the peacock changed through the years of improved technology it was that original peacock and the three bongs for NBC that stays in my mind. We used to watch “Queen for a Day” in the afternoon. The amazing thing about our neighbor Mary Pavelich’s is that it looks exactly the same today. I did a tour last spring of my old neighborhood and snapped these pictures. I remember when workers built this rock wall along the side of her house. Just looking at a picture can remind you of small moments, especially if the neighborhood has remained so much the same. This rock wall represented the good fence that made good neighbors. Mary would sit on the wall and visit with neighbors while smoking, other neighbors would join her, she would watch her son and his friends play outside. I loved to walk along the flat top and try to balance myself. I also lost a tooth (after it came out of my mouth) along that wall that brought on a search party of family and neighbors.

Growing up I was fortunate to have good neighbors that watched out for our family. Everyone knew each other and the neighborhood was safe. Later when we moved to Mom’s present house Woody, the guy next store let us come in and wait for Mom when we were locked out of the house one day. Lois, a nurse that lived on the other side came over and helped my sister when she stopped breathing as a newborn. All the neighbors surrounding my childhood home still watch out for each other. It is that way in my neighborhood here at Martin Creek also. We have a Neighborhood Watch program which makes me feel safe when I am home alone. When we leave it is good knowing you are surrounded by friends and neighbors that keep an eye on your place.I loved visiting next door at Hedvie’s to make no-bake cookies, Mary’s to watch color T.V. and have cheese sandwiches, and now talking over the fence to neighbors whether here at my home or back in Kellogg at Mom’s house. Whether a rock wall, picket fence, or a chain link gate good fences make good neighbors.


  1. Wonderful trip down memory lane, IEG. You asked how I found you. Since I am new at this, I was searching for bloggers with commonalities. I pulled up my profile and clicked on various links: movie titles, book titles, state names, etc. I think I found you by clicking on the "Teacher" link. So many memories. . .I gave my oldest daughter a Christmas gift of my personal history that she had been after me to write. I was surprised how digging through those memories unearthed so many forgotten ones...Those days are never really gone, as long as we can remember them. Actually, even when we can no longer remember them, they're still there. I'm hoping to have total recall in the next life...Love your site, Dawn

  2. Dawn, those memories are just stacked on the shelves of ones mind, just waiting for a nudge to come tumbling out......

    What lovely lovely memories this post has... I do love reading about others lives whilst growing up.... they always make me smile and they also nudge me shelves :)..

    ps.... I have this thing about wanting to live in a house with a white picket fence..... crazy I know, but it conjures up so many wonderful things in my mind lol



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