It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor. – Fred Rogers
During school hours, Devon’s neighborhood in the Proctor District of Tacoma is quiet and unremarkable.
Yet in the afternoon when school lets out, this small community in the heart of the city springs to life. The air fills with the stirring and riveting sounds of children unleashed and at play. The giggles and squeals give way to thundering footsteps as the ice cream man makes his predictable nightly appearance.
Devon knows and loves the people who live in the houses she can plainly see from her windows. This neighborhood is the home to her family and the subject of many of her wistful and nostalgic images.
This community was not born in an instant. Devon’s husband bought the house before they had even met. She moved in and after they got married their relationship with the neighbors consisted of awkward greetings as they made their daily trek between house and car.
When she and her neighbor, Liza, became pregnant at the same time, things began to change. Eggs were politely shared. Plants were kindly watered when they went out of town. Trips to Starbucks with strollers were made. Slowly, the relationship grew until they were no longer knocking on each other’s doors before entering and the kids were making play dates themselves by yelling over the fence between their houses.
When Devon’s son, Taylor, wakes from his nap he immediately asks whether or not King and Adan are awake as well. Similarly, the moms check in with coffee some mornings to corroborate on all things parenthood: tantrums, potty training or nap strikes. Children and adults alike have their own cronies in this neighborhood. Devon shared a poignant memory of life in her hood and how she hopes the kids will remember this extraordinary community.
When the weather in the Pacific Northwest was starting to warm up, Liza and I were laying on a blanket in her front yard. I took notice of their front porch and how the roof came right up to their upstairs window and I could just imagine our kids, as teenagers, sitting out on that roof on summer nights like they might have from that show “The Wonder Years”. We hope we can carve out something truly unique, and a little nostalgic, about how these kids grow up. Not just with parents, but with people all around them that know them and have a heart to invest in their wellbeing. If we can give them this one thing, a foundation of what a safe neighborhood feels like, what will they remember as adults? What kind of legacy will they want to give their children?
While we can’t pick and choose the legacy we leave behind, the neighborhood that Devon has helped build is certain to imprint itself on the young hearts and minds of these curbside kiddos. The candid way she documents the big and small details of this blip in time will prove to these kids that every bit of what they remembered was real.
Follow Devon’s neighborhood adventures online here and there: