Editor’s note: Of all the factors that go into making a great community—businesses, schools, infrastructure and events—one of the most important doesn’t show up in the numbers, and that’s the neighbors we cherish. As Thanksgiving nears, we asked H-F residents to tell us stories about the neighbors who support them in ways large and small. These are two of the stories our neighbors shared with us.
My Homewood neighbors Melissa and Mark Schwartz have the most incredible parties. They have two young children in grade school and pre-K and a dog, McGuyver!
They host a massive Halloween party and a massive Cinco de Mayo party every year. They put up tents in the backyard and rent blow-up bounce houses.
They have games and food for all their neighbors, friends, the kids and their parents. Older empty nest neighbors like me are welcome for food and drinks, and the adults can kick back on their back deck.
Melissa goes all out for the holidays and she brings so much joy to our neighborhood. They decorate their entire house for Christmas, complete with a Santa climbing down the chimney!
She has had many serious health struggles and once nearly died in a car accident! She has no idea just how special she and her husband are.
Some of Sarah Gram’s friends were over at her Homewood house moving furniture when Gram wasn’t home. And they were being kind of loud, she said. Noticing the commotion, her new neighbor Tom Boersma walked over to investigate.
“He thought they were breaking into my house, so he went over there,” Gram said. “Some neighbors keep to themselves and just kind of watch from the windows or call the police. He actually came over to see what was going on. He was like, ‘Where’s Sarah?’”
They quickly cleared up the confusion, and Gram laughs about the incident, which she said made her grateful for Tom’s vigilance. He had no obligation to go over there—he might have even been in danger — but he did it anyway.
“How society is nowadays, I thought it was very sweet that he went above and beyond,” Gram said. “God forbid there was something really going on.”
Tom and his wife, Mischelle, also let Gram’s dogs run around in their fenced-in backyard. Since she doesn’t have a fenced yard, Gram said she’s thankful Louie and Duke have a place to play. Also, Tom plows her driveway and sidewalks in wintertime.
“I’m a young homeowner and I feel like they’ve always watched out for me. I’m so thankful that I have a next-door neighbor like that,” she said. “They go above and beyond. I feel blessed that it’s my first house and I have such great neighbors.”