When we left New York, my old aunt wished us well and said that she hoped we found good neighbors because, “good neighbors are better than family”.

 Dear Neighbor,

Neighbors are an integral part of our daily lives, more so than our families because our neighbors are the first on our doorsteps in our times of need.

After living in New York for over fifty years, my husband and I retired and decided to leave the cold winters of New York and move South for the sunshine and a quiet life.

We had the best neighbors anyone could wish for in New York. They even took care of the cats and the plants when we left for a holiday. We still talk often and visit once per year.

Well South, here we come! Florida was too hot. So, we chose North Carolina because it is centrally located between New York and Florida. We have children and family in both states.

How or why we landed in Salisbury is a mystery.

The day we moved into our empty house was a rather scary experience for two old people. An hour after we walked through the front door, still pondering our moving madness, the doorbell rang. My husband and I looked at each other, we did not know anyone, we were not expecting anyone, so we both went to the door. A beautiful young woman was at the door with a big box containing milk, bread, cheese, cold cuts, tea bags, etc. etc. etc. 

She said, “Hi, my name is _______, and I live next door. I wanted to say welcome.”

We exchanged a few words, thanked her for the food, and so began another “best neighbor” experience of our lives. 

After our darling neighbors – J & D – in New York we thought we were on our own in this new town. 

Later, we met her husband, and what a heart-warming relationship began. We do many things together – share meals, tend to the garden, take care of the animals.

My husband loved to make wood “things” and the young man is a master woodman with all the tools and machinery you can think of in his garage. And so, an old man and a young man formed a friendship based on their love of wood work.

My beautiful young lady – who is now my adopted daughter – and I also share many interests. We enjoy drawing and painting, crafts, card making, and have taken a few trips together. Our strongest bond is our love of the theater, and strangely, tea parties.

When she retires, we plan to open a tea shop. How is that?

When tragedy struck and my husband left this world, all my neighbors, left, right, across the street, were so caring and considerate. I had so much food and so many hours of company for which I can never thank them.

Some weeks ago, when my cook-top blew-up, the neighbors again stepped in and helped me find the right stove, installed it, and made sure I could cook for Thanksgiving.

My neighbors are very dear to me. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without them. My husband is no longer here, but I am sure he would agree that our lives in transition would not have been as happy or comfortable without these two wonderful people around us.

When we left New York, my old aunt wished us well and said that she hoped we found good neighbors because, “good neighbors are better than family”.

Well, she was right. In the absence of our family being here, our new life would have been a dismal experience. So, thank you God for blessing us once more with warm and gracious neighbors.

Dear Neighbor” authors are united in a belief that civility and passion can coexist. We believe curiosity and conversation make us a better community.

Evelyn Uddin-Khan