at sunrise with its schmears of
cream cheese clouds against
the quince-colored morning light,
Mrs. Goldberg is out of bed ~
a military tactician in war-time,
no dust-bunny is safe, every
grease spot is enzyme-bombed,
the wash thrashed by machine,
then hung or folded, put in place,
her windows wiped, her floors scrubbed
and woe betide wee crawling creatures,
so intent is Mrs. G on genocide

© 2016, poem, Jamie Dedes; the 1908 Good Housekeeping cover designed by American illustrator John Cecil Clay (1875-1930) is in the public domain



Mrs. Goldberg lived next door to me when I was first married a hundred years ago. She’s long gone but remains in heart and memory. Think of all the neighbors you’ve had over time, many loved and many who remained friends even when things changed and life and geography separated you. Tell us in prose or poem about a neighbor and his or her signature characteristic, one that you remember with special affection.



  1. Hi, Jamie! Here is my poem:

    We ring her door bell

    Holiday slowly conquers my joints
    My knee, my thumb
    Little knife stubs
    Brown spots, coffin spots
    As my eighty years old neighbour
    Says laughing
    Her laugh healed her from cancer
    She lost a breast but this year
    She visited the Spanish Riviera

    When I am down
    When my spine is numb
    When all my ships are sinking
    We ring her door bell…

    So the Black Sea is in her best mood
    The holiday makes time insignificant
    We move around the pole
    Hunting the shadow
    A solar clock
    The kid spends hours in the greenish liquid
    Our skins darker and darker by the minute
    Soon to be the only sign that we ever been
    Away from home
    Where first thing first
    We’ll ring her door bell

    When I am numb
    When my spine is down
    When all the ships have sunk
    We’ll ring her door bell to borrow a smile

    Thank you, Jamie for this opportunity!!! It means the world to me!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My response Jamie :

    #Mrs . Brown :My Next Door Neighbour#

    My little garden was the envy of my neighbours.My father liked to enjoy his favourite pastime of gardening .Variant greenery of our little garden soothed eyes of every pedestrian passing by our beautiful grove . Ours was a street of Alloy Steel quarters assembled gracefully .As we lived at one end of the street my father could rehash gardening acquiring a lot of space with a temporary boundary of wires . Our small garden was a lavish decoration with flowers of varied colours like rose,hibiscus ,lily,petunia etc .Adjacent to the flower garden we had a little orchard too with fruits like mango ,pear, jackfruit etc .All day long chirruping of colorful birds echoed through our garden as well as little orchard inflicting vigorous pleasure flooding our heart and mind .

    The event took place long long ago .In one summer evening Mrs. Katrina Brown stepped in our street as our fresh neighbour . It was the first time I encountered such a gorgeous Christian lady .To our great amazement she became our next door neighbour .
    My parents were also happy getting their new charming neighbour .Everything was going alright for the first few days .It was the time of great amusement while I used to play Ha -do -do with Diana ,the sweet daughter of Mrs . Brown with the proximity of my age .Mrs Brown was an instrumentalist and till today I recall an intricate melody on her piano .She had a habit to attend a nearby church every Sunday along with Diana and her husband ,Mr .Brown as each inhabitant of our street used to call him .One or two times I accompanied them and noticed how heartily -how profoundly that beautiful lady engaged herself to the prayer of the almighty and at that very moment I kept a fixed look on her face entangled with a heavenly light of piousness .But I had yet to experience the other face of the coin .

    In one early summer evening a heavy downpour commenced a new era of relationship between the two families -the Das and the Brown family .The rainfall was really ponderous along with strong blowing wind coming from the Arabian sea .Almost all the buds and verdant mangoes of a special mango tree were spread out everywhere of the courtyard of Mrs .Brown as that mango tree of our orchard tilted towards the portico of the Brown family with its clinging fruits yet to be ripened .Next morning I awakened with an agitated blast of words from Mrs. Brown’s mouth .She was telling to my mother -“Mrs Das -you have to cut down this mango tree .It has been tilted more towards my courtyard due to the storm that swept through the place yesterday and if it is kept being unshorn then the roof of my home as well as my courtyard would have to face scattered buds ,shedded leaves and unripe mangoes each day onwards making my whole area dirty .”That was our favourite tree as it bore the sweetest fruits among all the mango trees in the orchard .Moreover my father treated each tree of the orchard as his own child .Therefore my mother answered ,”I understand your problem Mrs .Brown .But the tree is like our child .Every year it bears the sweetest fruits .Please don’t make us compelled to cut it . The harvesting time is coming nearer and during the ripening time you may take all of its fruits but let the tree be survived .”
    “Most of its flowers and fruits have been exuded -Mrs. Das .”-Mrs Brown said .
    My mother said ,”Some fruits are still clinging to the tree and I request you to taste the ripened fruits this season. Moreover -all the fruits are yours -this year .”
    Though Mrs Brown had some grudge against the tree but perhaps she agreed to my mother’s condition and departed without saying more .
    In that ripening season she tasted all the sweet mangoes except ten as she fixed to be allocated to us. .”The tree not only bears delicious fruits but also makes shady my terrace in these days receiving scorching heat of the sun .You were right Mrs .Das ,the tree should not be cut down .I have now begun to love this tree .I would not ever mind to sweep its shedded leaves and next time we would share half of its fruits .”We were really happy as afterall she could realize the value of the tree .Thereafter she never told us to cut the tree though at every turn we used to hear that she was scolding the tree for shedding so many leaves on her terrace . That year passed .
    Then it was the turn for the next mango season .The two families were awaiting for the sweetest mangoes of that very tree .
    Again a violent storm swept through our place .The storm was so fierce that it uprooted most of our trees , damaged electric poles and changed the course of the river at our place .
    Alloy Steel authority took decision to cut down the big trees touching the electric wires and they settled upon that the very mango tree of our orchard with the sweetest fruits to be trimmed as it touched the wires coming from the main electric pole of the area holding danger of an electric shock at any moment .
    Both my father and Mr. Brown requested the Maintenance Department under Alloy Steel Plant not to cut the tree but they paid no heed to them .
    On a day fixed previously two choppers came to our house .As soon as they had stepped into our orchard with their motive to cut down the tree Mrs .Brown rushed there like an arrow from a bow and embracing the tree like her own baby requested them again and again to be refrain from cutting the tree .But it was an order from the higher authority .They were helpless .The giant tree was cut down before our bleary ,watery eyes. Mrs. Brown began to cry as like as a baby .A gloomy surrounding engulfed in all parts of our orchard when the last part of the tree trunk was chopped .Thereafter the health of Mrs .Brown suffered a steep decline .Many a days we didn’t follow her fingers on her favourite piano .
    Then it was the turn for the rainy season .In one rainy morning we came out of our home hearkening an extremely melodious tune flowing out of her piano .It was really astonishing when our mindedness went to a sapling of mango that had sprouted out in that very place from where the giant tree was rooted out .Perhaps one of that lost mango tree ‘s degenerated seed took that place and the first shower of the rainy season provided it the chance to germinate with its two tiny leaves .Mrs. Brown first noticed it and with a reflection of getting back her lost mango tree which she treated like her own baby she placed her fingers again on her piano originating a new celestial melody enchanting the neighboring .Everyday she spent a lot of time to serve the sapling awaiting for the day when it would flourish with its unfurled branches with juicy ,delicious fruits as well as soothing ,tranquil shade .
    In the meantime my father got a transfer order and we had to leave the place .I don’t know how is Mrs. Brown for the time being or if she is on this earth till now but my innermost spirit throws its earnest glance today from a far away place at Mrs Brown ‘s lovely tree which may have remained standing in my nostalgic orchard still now bearing the dream and fancy of that fairy lady .
    © Kakali Das Ghosh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. third response….
    .. bara brith..

    quiet day, plenty to do,

    workwise. no home brew

    involved, yet he came to

    my door smiling.


    a bara brith.

    to share, he said,

    cut it in half,

    I shan’t come in,

    my boots are quite muddy.

    there is a fete in the

    village, sue won’t eat it,

    so I thought I will spoil


    they soak the fruit in tea,

    and alcoholic drinks

    if they have any.

    isn’t it heavy?


    Liked by 1 person

  4. second response…..

    #walking 4

    it really is very early, still the radio plays

    softly not to wake the neighbour. he is

    a quiet man. a farmer.

    reckon it was four miles up over the hill

    in a summer dress. settled that evening

    to watch the war

    of the worlds.

    slept early,

    woke early.

    it is raining today.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Jamie. The first response….


    we live rural.i have an immersion for hot water,

    and for work. along side research and hot baths

    keeps the days flowing.

    there is a gas pipeline crossing near us, yet not with door neighbour is the gas man yet not required

    locally.he has bottled stuff while i have not.

    mary was stuck behind a lorry delivering the latter

    so was later arriving here. today.

    i switch it on each morning then evening though they

    do say it can be economical to leave it on all day. i have

    not tried that.



    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jamie,

    My second response:

    Why Move?

    To be closer to us, Mam
    so we can be there for you.
    chorus son and daughter in law.
    Bert next door on his way out

    always asks whether I need anything.
    Sally over the way enquires after me,

    Even with all she’s got on, her mam’s
    Cancer and little ones severe ADHD.

    Need a gardener only to do odds
    and sods as I get tired quick. Bert volunteered

    but he’s all on with his granddaughter’s
    while daughter has hospital appointments.

    These folk are here for me. I don’t need
    To move away to strangers and elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:

    His Catapult

    Neighbour’s lad gets a grin out of pot shots at birdlife in my garden. Thinks

    I can’t see him between slats of broken fence. Dead birds litter my lawn. I’ve told

    his mam, Alice who says he thinks he’s in Jurassic World to kill dinosaurs. I wish

    he weren’t so wick and could see these dinosaurs don’t bite. I’ll fetch him round

    to bury his dead, and have a quiet word.

    Liked by 1 person

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