By Ryan Middlemiss
Four walls and a roof. Maybe a skylight or a double car garage. You can buy any style of house you want in Edmonton. Houses are not hard to come by. You can change anything you want in your house to make it perfect for you. The thing you can’t change is your neighbours.
I have lived in many houses while being raised in Edmonton for 24 years. I couldn't tell you any memories of my first house – what it looked like, how the walls were painted. I do, however, remember the great neighbour we had. Betsy! She was the sweetest old lady who would babysit me. She would make me and only me cookies every weekend. No matter how busy she was, she would find time to make them for me. She gave me the most important job. My job was to pick out the cookie shapes! Not an easy task for a 4-year-old, trust me. Unlucky for me, we soon moved when I turned 6. No more cookies on the weekend, which might explain why I'm so skinny now.
The next house I won the lottery again. Every family on the block had kids around my age. All we did was play street hockey and have water balloon fights. All my new friends’ parents would invite my parents over for barbecues and parties while all the kids played. Every day was Disneyland to me!
Another couple of years rolled by and my parents without consulting me decided we needed a bigger house. I found myself on the North side of the city in a small community called Homesteader. Within what seemed like minutes, I had met everyone who lived within our crescent. Kids and parents welcomed my family into the neighbourhood without hesitation.
It has seemed that no matter where in Edmonton my family moved we found ourselves next door to friendly and caring neighbours, who all had no problems watching our house while we were out of town, helping shovelling snow during winter, or inviting my family over for dinner. Our neighbours have always gone above and beyond. 15 years have flown by in what seems like such a short time. I have a lot of good memories that have helped shape me into who I am today. A lot of memories are shared with the people who have grown up beside and with me: my neighbours, who I am proud to call my friends.