I moved in to Crown Heights in Redmond, Washington when I was seven or so. I remember that we moved in to our new house in March, and my parents liked to joke that the house was my birthday present. Our house was (and is to this day) the most unique house in the neighborhood, designed a long time ago by the same man who designed Bill Gates’ house. All of the others were simple, cookie cutter, suburban homes. I always told people you could find our house because it was the only one in the neighborhood with a metal roof. Two houses to our immediate right and three houses to the left had kids me and my brother’s age who we quickly met and started to hang out with. We grew up with those kids, playing games, throughout our collective backyards, biking up to the school on the weekend, everything. All of them were always there save one, who moved out when I was maybe ten. Their family was Egyptian and they decided to move back to Egypt. But they owned the house, so instead of selling it they rented it to whoever needed a place to live at the time. Throughout the next eight years I think four or five different families lived there, and a couple of the families had kids our age as well.
It was nice having a neighborhood that rarely changed. A majority of my personality is resistant and not a great fan of change, so the fact that I can probably count on one hand the amount of aesthetic changes there were to the neighborhood throughout the twelve or thirteen years I lived there (I wish I could recall the exact year we moved in – for now I’ll ballpark it) is probably a good thing. I distinctly one year where it was a very big deal that a couple on the main stretch of the street wanted to build a fence to keep their dogs in. As the heads of the homeowner’s association, my parents were discussing it frequently. And honestly that’s one of the only changes that stands out to me. Aside from the occasional new paint job or new roof around the neighborhood, it feels the same as the day I moved in.
I feel like I can confidently come back home any Fourth of July to find the street closed off with cones, the families all huddled around the big curve before the cul-de-sac, sitting in lawn chairs and shooting off the fireworks everyone’s collected. That neighborhood is, in the end, like a very close family, and everyone’s going to be there for a long time.