This weekend our street had an ice-cream social – A great way to commemorate the end of Summer, and a wonderful way to bond neighbours by more than a common address. Nina mentioned this idea to me the week we moved in, which was not so long ago and so I can distinctly recall her saying “I will have to organise an Ice-cream social so you can meet everyone.” and then before I knew it, Nina had printed out fliers and walked up and down the street delivering invitations. So upon the 1 month date of moving into our little house, we met approximated 60 of our neighbours. We feel like we are in a pretty good spot! All of a sudden our house has become more than a house, it has become a home in a great street.
Nina did a wonderful job at co-ordinating everything and and I have to say, I really felt like a pea in a pod with her. The two of us enthusiastically jumped into the event – and it turned out to be so much fun! Nina had tables and chairs and tableclothes, and drink coolers and all sorts of things I have yet to acquire, but I was able to add my special touch, and my thoughtful ideas…
The moment Nina placed the invitation in my hand I decided would make cardboard ice-cream cones for all the children to paint. I saved all of our moving boxes when I unpacked as cardboard is so handy for creative projects, and so it only made sense to use what I have a lot of. Bit by bit the tally grew and so I ended up cutting out 15 cardboard cones, tops and cherries, and I could have made another five as there were a few little ones who missed out! At one point in the afternoon, when Cam did a head count there were 23 children running around the street – mostly Girls! Funny enough, not one boy stopped to paint an ice cream. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see the line of girls along our pavement, heads down, brushes in had, painting away. They all enjoyed decorating their ice-cream, and it was a nice focus for them to balance out the crazy wild running around time events like this can lead to for young ones.
Nina had Montclair City deliver sanctions and so we blocked off the street so we could set the tables up on the road. Our house is on the most level part of the street, and also has the most shade, thus the best spot for an ice cream eating gathering. I loved that I could string my flag banner between the two old oak trees in our yard, and the children could sit and paint on our path. I also loved that the children could run back and forth from each others houses care free. Needless to say, I had two exhausted Girls at sunset!
Our street is special in that it only runs two blocks long – one end is the train tracks, and the other end is the Reservation. The fact that it is a small street, gives it a cozy neighbourly feeling as everyone knows each other – this was evident as I listened to people talk. Many people came to the social, and many of them have lived there 20 years or more. There was much talk that this was how the street was 20 years ago when their children were small. All of a sudden the street has turned over and we are the next generation. The ’empty nesters’ as they referred to themselves were all remarking it was so nice to see so many young children back in the block again.
There was lots of delicious home made desserts, beer, wine, juice, and of course a large assortment of ice cream and toppings. Maya was literally a kid in a candy shop, her eyes bigger than her stomach! To her, a table full of sweet treats to try is just too much temptation, she is such a foodie. When I suggested to her that she had had enough she made herself a plate of things to take home “For tomorrow ” she told me, that she had not tried yet.
Another neighbour brought along Japanese water yo-yo’s which are like super thick water balloons on rubber bands. They stretch up and down and bounce from the weight of the water, but they are so thick they do not burst. The children had a lot of fun bonking each other and everything with them!
It was such a fantastic afternoon, and a great bonding experience. I can’t thank Nina enough for bringing this all together. I have no idea how long we will live in this little street, but I have feeling that the day we leave is going to be a very sad day, with memories like this it feels like a special place to live.