Eighteen years ago, we made a fortuitous move. Who would have known what a great neighborhood we would move in to? We started in Blackfoot in a little house over on Bingham, but the time came to find something that had the potential to be bigger. So we moved to Shilling Street. The people of Shilling Street are now and have been in the past, awesome.
I have a great old house that sits on a corner, it was not as big when we moved in as it is now, it’s drafty and cold most of the winter, but it stays cool in the summer too. It was built in the 1920’s and when we moved in, had the tiniest kitchen and every other room had not been redecorated since about 1944. The living room/dining room was green, like army green, every surface – floors, walls, ceilings. The kitchen and bath were bright yellow, and the rooms were tiny. We piled all three kids in to one room and we took the other bedroom. We weren’t there a month before Mike took the roof off and put a second story on – in December – in the snow – but it was worth it.
That first winter, every time it snowed, I would get up in the morning and my walks had been magically cleared for me. I started to get up earlier to see how that happened and discovered my neighbor, Bill, two doors down from us, cleared everybody’s sidewalks whenever it snowed. Wow, how great was that! As Christmas approached, Bill and his wife, Margie, invited us over for Christmas Eve. That first year we were so surprised when Santa showed up with presents for all the kids. Not just mine, but all the other neighborhood kids and all of their grandkids. The kids were so impressed that Santa knew our names. It was beautiful and so festive, that event went on for years, when Margie passed away a few years ago, the heart went out of the Christmas Eve celebration, we miss her. Our walk still magically gets cleared, but it’s Bill’s grandson who does that now. Bill is in his mid-80’s, still walking his dogs, but now he does it from his scooter.
The house between ours and Bill’s was the home of Meggo, Haley’s best friend. I have pictures of Meggo and Hal from the time they were under two until today, mostly running around the yard with their swimsuits on, or playing in the leaves in the fall, or building snowforts. These girls knew how to play. Their favorite tv show was Teen Titans, and Meggo would sneak over to our house to watch. Megan had an older brother, Matt who has just graduated from college. Matt wore the same green and white striped cloth belt every day for what seemed like six years, when he graduated from high school I gave him a new leather belt and a lighter – so he could burn the green and white one. He gave me back a signed photo of the belt so I wouldn’t forget him, how could I forget him? This family moved to the country while the girls were in high school, heartbreaking for the girls, but a great move for them. I am proud to call Jim and Tammy friends, still.
The new neighbors have little kids, adorable little kids, we have really enjoyed having them next door, the laughter that comes from a house with kids is one of the best sounds in the world.
Across the street are a few more people that make a neighborhood great. Dine and Steve are next door neighbors, they jointly host a party every full moon. Full Moon Friday happens on the Friday night closest to the full moon. It doesn’t have to be calendared, it already is. The beer keg shows up, the bonfire is lit and folks just come. The crowd will be different every time, but the fire is always beautiful. Last Friday it was only 20 degrees out, and the weather was perfect around the fire.
One of the best things about living on Shilling is the Eastern Idaho State Fair Parade. The parade goes right down Shilling past the house, so each year friends come over to watch the parade and when we have ditched them (lovingly, of course) we walk across the street to Dine’s. Us and half the city, Dine puts a barbecue on that would shame most rib places. There is brisket and brats and lots of salads, some beer and lately a band, or at least some musicians. It is a wonderful, relaxing day.
Cari also lives across the street (Dine’s wife), she is one of those people who can help you out with any problem, kids gravitate to her. On more than one occasion, my kids have traipsed in to her house for help with math homework, or costumes, or cooking. She’s that kind of woman, so talented in so many ways.
There are a few more who deserve mention, as part of the kids of Shilling Street, Matea, Erin and Anthony, Eric and Cetera, Sydon and Avry, and all the pets they’ve all had. Thank you for making Shilling a great place to grow up for my kids and a great place to call home.