Ice Cream Makes Us Social

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We have been living in our subdivision for eight-and-a-half years. Just this summer we started meeting some of our neighbors, and the only reason for it is that someone I know through a cousin of mine moved into the neighborhood (albeit a while ago). It’s a long story how we know each other, but she follows this blog (HI, KELSEY!) and our kids are very close in age. I could write a whole mushy post about how glad I am to have a friend/neighbor like her.

Anyway, through her I met Sarah, another blessing of a friend. A few weeks ago Sarah mentioned that we should do something to get the entire subdivision (over 100 houses) together.

Kelsey and I agreed that the idea rocked.  We threw around some brainstorms and finally decided on an Ice Cream Social.

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Sarah made fliers that we all passed out.

We had chalk and a HUGE sprinkler for the kids.

Kelsey made signs urging people to come to the back of the sub to the dead end (where our house is…and where the only shade in the sub is).

We set up everything, including ourselves, and then waited to see if the neighborhood would come.

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We found that the lure of free ice cream will bring out a neighborhood. Especially if the temperatures are soaring over 90 and the heat index is in the 100’s.

So if you’ve been around these parts, you know I’m an introvert.

Hosting parties is not really my thing. I mean, I love to throw parties and work behind the scenes and make things very special for people. I do. I love it.

I am terrible at meeting people. I mean, I love to meet people, but it’s intimidating and exhausting to me. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to meet people, I’m just sort of bad at it.

(I know, I am going to a conference with over 5,000 bloggers next weekend. I already know this is ridiculous, but they will all be introverts too, right? RIGHT? Right.)

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But Sarah and Kelsey are amazingly lovely hostesses.

They rock and sticking out their hands to new people and saying, “Hi! I’m ____! I live on ____ in the ____ house. Where is your house?”

They were gracious and lovely and chatty.

And I took pictures.

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Cortney and really did love having so many of our neighbors in our little dead end, and I know our boys REALLY loved it.  Eddie was in his element with so many kids…he adores making new friends.  That kid is more outgoing than me, Cortney, and Charlie put together times three!

And boy did we have a lot of kids come out!

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They came for the ice cream, but thankfully they stayed for the water fun, the sidewalk chalk, Eddie’s toys (which he totally shared without us having to ask), and water guns (again, these were Eddie’s and he selflessly handed them out to kids).

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For about an hour more and more neighbors strolled down. Some people we knew, but most were new to me.

We talked about the neighborhood, about who had primo spots and which houses we loved from the outside.  I talked to some of the teens who go to our local high school, I talked to moms and dads and was happy to tell about my boys and my job as a teacher.

I was truly happy to learn that we had so many lovely and neighborly people in our subdivision.

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I didn’t grow up in a subdivision. My family lived (actually my parents still do live) in a house in a “neighborhood” in the country. Our house, however, was set away from the rest by a gravel driveway that was an eighth of a mile long that lead up into the woods where our house was hidden from the road.

In order to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar, my brothers or I would have to walk partway down the driveway and either cut through the woods on the left side and through the neighbors lawn, or we would have to go around our pond and through the woods to our neighbor on the right.

I vaguely remembering having a “block” picnic, but there just weren’t that many people.  And very few had kids.  I couldn’t look out my window and see kids zooming by on their bikes.

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It’s so different here.

Before we even had kids, but I was home during the summer, I had a hard time adjusting to this life. I would call/email/IM Cortney all day at work about what our neighbors were doing and ask questions.

He was always like, “Kate, this is just what living with neighbors is like. They park on the street, they mow their lawns, they rent Bobcats and tear up their lawn. They can do that. It’s just that in a neighborhood you can see them doing that. It’s Ok.”

Basically he wanted me to quit telling him about stupid crap and let him work.

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Having been here over eight years now, and having our own kids, I can say subdivision-living is growing on me.

Although this was not what my childhood was like, it is what my boys are growing up with, and I like that.

And after this week, I feel like we have a little community here just waiting to be connected.

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And offering free ice cream? Well that is what really brings a community together.

I may not have grown up in a subdivision, but I did grow up eating Hudsonville Ice cream. I remember getting scoops of it on a sugar cone at a little shop downtown Zeeland. They always put M&Ms in the bottom of our cones. I always chose bubblegum or superman flavor.

I also remember my Grandma Jo and Aunt Sandy having all seven of us grandkids at the beach camping. We would always walk to the General Store for Hudsonville Ice Cream. When I chose Blue Moon flavor, my Grandma would always ask, “are you sure? No one else likes that flavor, so you will have to do all the licking around yourself.”

I was always sure.

We were lucky enough to serve Hudsonville Ice Cream at our social. I hadn’t had Superscoop (what they now call Superman) ice cream in almost 30 years. The mix of Blackcherry, Blue Moon, and Vanilla ice creams brought back memories of hot, sandy, wet summers filled with long days and sweet evenings.

Being able to gather our own little community together and give the kids these same great memories made me happy.

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What I’m saying is that Sarah’s idea to bring our neighbors together and try to forge a community was a great one.

Near the end of the party one of our neighbors suggested a pie party for the fall.  We clearly have geniuses in our neighborhood.

Oh man…Hudsonville Vanilla Ice Cream next to a piece of warm apple pie sounds so good.

Am I right?

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The ice cream for our social was provided by Hudsonville Ice Cream. Like them on Facebook and follow them on  twitter, pinterest, and instagram (Hudsonville_IC).

I was not personally compensated for writing this post.

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