Here, I'm talking about the deep sense of caring that we remember - or think that we remember.
The value system, at least as we think we recall, wasn't quid pro quo.
Anyone needing an adult to watch the brood of kids would find one. There was no exchange of money, of course.
Maybe that was because no one had money.
So, our mothers made it their business to pass down our out-grown clothes to the family next door who just arrived from Poland.
The person with the nicest living room would offer it for anyone's wedding reception or repast after a funeral.
That was then.
We went to college. We moved to efficiencies in Boston which didn't allow pets. Then it was off to the suburbs. We told therapists how lonely we felt.
But somehow we did find our way into some kind of Dogville. Those are the sections of residential developments which allow pets. Here in Austintown, Ohio, it's the G and H sections of 400-unit Hillbrook.
First, it's our dogs which get to know each other. Next, we pet parents venture just a bit out of our guarded self. That takes about six months. Eventually, it's the ethos of the old neighborhood.
For the first time since I moved from downtown Jersey City, New Jersey, I know that I can get help from neighbors. For anything and everything.
And it's as if money didn't exist. Probably it doesn't after we pay up all our monthly bills. This old neighborhood feel likely couldn't exist pre-The Great Recession. Back then money was so important.
In Dogville, there are the silos, though, among generations. Generation Z and Millennials orbit their own universes. But that was the situation in the old neighborhood too. Teenagers steered clear of us grade-schoolers. Grandmothers hung with other grannies.
Even the dogs don't bring the generations together. It's almost as if youth is afraid we will try to befriend them. Aging might scare them. In the old neighborhood folks died before they became old old.
Question: Can Dogville happen on blocks with single family homes, only some of which have pets? It never did for me. There has to be the total commonality of everyone being a highly involved pet parent.
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