We lived in Mequon, Wisconsin for 10 years. Recently while visiting friends there, I had an opportunity to walk to our old house. I visited with our former next door neighbor and got caught up on kids and grandkids and what the new neighbors are like – actually there have been a couple of sets of neighbors since we left but that’s another story.
No one was home at our old place so I walked through the yard and it felt strange and wonderful. I realized then how much I miss that place and that time. Of course there’s no going back but the memories are nice. Our kids were in grade school when we moved there and this fall our oldest granddaughter begins kindergarten and time keeps marching on. Blink of an eye – yesterday and today. Walking across the lawn took me back to a time when our kids were at home and there were backyard ballgames; sleep-overs with their friends; bonfires; dinner table discussions (and debates); cub scout den meetings; graduation parties; first dates; etc., etc.
It’s funny how most memories are a little fuzzy; especially the good ones. Maybe it’s the fuzziness that makes them good. In my happy memories of Westfield Road, the house is always clean and supper is on the table. The kids are well-behaved and we all live in peace and harmony. No one ever has hurt feelings; the bills are all paid and life is care-free. That’s mostly true. Well it was sometimes true. BUT the good times there were good and that’s what I choose to remember. We had a good life. And we could not ask for more. There was love and laughter and that made up for “the not so good stuff” that we sometimes had to deal with.
Mequon was an interesting place to live. It is a very affluent suburb of Milwaukee. We bought the last affordable house – we affectionately referred to our place as the ‘little house in Mequon’. That way everyone from Mequon that we encountered at church or school or the local market would know at first meeting that we were not normal Mequonites. Most folks were CEO’s or CFO’s or COO’s of the companies that they worked for; if they didn’t own the businesses outright. You couldn’t ‘swing a cat’ in Mequon without hitting a doctor (mostly specialists), a lawyer, or a local news celebrity or sports star. Let’s just say: we were out of our league.
And yet somehow we fit in. Our kids made great friends (although I suspect some of their parents were a little leery about dropping their kids off at our place initially – no three or four car garage; no swimming pool; no tennis court; not even a paved driveway). We found a great place to worship. We found fabulous schools. And a funny thing happened along the way – we found out that we weren’t so different from most of the people that we came to know. Our daughter’s best friend is someone she met her first day of school there and I suspect that they will remain friends for life. We also learned that being rich isn’t always about having money. Some of the saddest people that we met were some of the wealthiest. Everyone knows that “money can’t buy happiness” but somehow you just think it should at least prevent heartbreak – but it can’t.
We learned pretty quickly that people that who judge you by where you work or how much money you make or what university your child attends aren’t really worth knowing. And we found wonderful life-long friends that have accepted us for what (and who) we are. So we may have been poor by Mequon standards but we were always blessed abundantly by God with family, friends, a good home and lots of love.
Please forgive my nostalgia but sometimes we all need to look backwards to face the future. And of course I realize today that we are still blessed abundantly and will continue to be…