A Tribute To The Village People

In 2001, Mr. Lindstrom and I were just months from becoming Mr. and Mrs. Lindstrom. We decided that it was time to stop throwing our money away renting, and commit to buying a home (I can see you all doing the math here, and yes, we lived in sin. It was good livin', what can I say?). We searched and searched high and low for our perfect "starter home," and we had to kiss a LOT of frogs. When we finally settled on the home we ended up in, there was a lot of fate at play... only when we bought the house, we didn't yet know how much.

We moved in November of 2001, and got to be sort of friendly with the neighbors there. We recognized them, said "hi", went about our daily business, and felt safe and comfortable with those we had living near us. As the years wore on, we got to know each other better and better. There were times we needed a hand with a house project or just needed someone to chat with, we'd call on the neighbors. Occasionally, we'd meet on the front stoop for a cocktail or a chat. On March 21, 2005, we brought home our first baby, Brady. She was just two days old. The following weekend, the neighbors threw Brady a welcome to the neighborhood party complete with a movie projected on the front of one of the neighbor's houses.  I know that many people do this regularly, now, but we like to think that we were the first to have done this. We called it "Theater on Third."

On July 5, 2005, our lives screeched to a halt. Brady was found in her crib at daycare, face down and blue. The breath of life would never return to her tiny body. This day, the worst day of our lives, the day we lost our everything, was the day that The Village was born.  In those days, the village held us up. They did our grocery shopping, our yard work, they sat near us as we cried, they let us laugh hysterically through tears, they did laundry, they kept us company, they fed us, body, mind, and spirit.  As strange as it sounds, in those difficult days, I look back on what The Village did for us wistfully, like you do your first year away from home. Those times with The Village were (all things considered) good times. We were never alone, The Village was ALWAYS there.  We instituted Wednesday dinners, we watched Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy together every week, once a month we would have movie nights together, but every night we would spend SOME time together. When one of the Village People got a gazebo in their backyard, that became our home base. We sat around the table there almost every night, chatting about who knows what, playing poker, having a beer or three, and just enjoying the company. We were there for each other, when a villager needed something, the entire Village came to the rescue. The very definition of community.

On Brady's first birthday, the day she did not live to see, Matt and I bristled with anticipation. We decided that we would have a birthday party, and invite friends to spend some time with us while we remembered Brady. I was also 10 weeks pregnant with the (now) four-year-old, and I had planned to share that news. It was a bittersweet day. Matt and I slowly woke up that morning, and when we looked out our front window, the sight was unbelievable.  The Village had decorated our entire front yard with 109 butterflies.  One butterfly for each day of Brady's short life.  They had meticulously decorated butterflies, and hung them strung up between trees. Some were on stakes in the snow drifts in the yard, some were formed from balloons. It was breath-taking and unexpected. Matt and I were so touched, and felt so loved. They wanted us to know how much Brady meant to them, and it worked.  There are pictures somewhere, but those were the days before digital cameras, and I can't put my hands on them now. My words do not do it justice, but it was beautiful to see, and twice as beautiful to feel.

When the four-year-old was about six-months, we decided it was time to move. We were looking for a bigger space (ironically, we did not yet know how badly we would need extra space - the twins were not even a thought at that point), and had fallen in love with the house that we now call home.  We were excited about the new chapter, but were heartbroken about the fact that we would be leaving this family. Leaving behind this snapshot in time. It was so sad.

On the fifth anniversary of July 5, the date that Brady died. The Village struck again. This time, I have photographic evidence:

They let us know that they still love us, and they are still there for us.

Boy are they ever. I put out an APB on facebook the other day for an emergency fence after the Twinstroms escaped from our temporary fencing system and were running opposite directions toward the street by the time I caught up with both of them.  The Village piped up... "We'll be there Thursday to build you a fence." And you know what... The Village always comes through.


  1. You are very blessed.

  2. Didn't realize that sort of neighborhood cohesiveness still existed in the U.S.--Minnesota of all places. That's heartwarming. Maybe one of the most important factors to consider when buying a house.

  3. That gave me chills. You are so fortunate to have found this Village. My neighbors were very loving and supportive when we lost Devon. To wake up to all those butterflies must have been so emotional. I'm glad you have people like that in your life and that you appreciate them. ((HUGS))

  4. Crying at work because of you...again. I am so glad that you have the Village. :)

  5. Wow, that's really wonderful. I so wish we had that. I barely know my neighbors.

  6. I love it, what a great neighborhood. I'm starting to feel a little bit of that love here in our new hood.

  7. Oh, my, this was just lovely. What a blessing to have neighbors who remain neighbors notwithstanding geography. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Thanks for posting this. It helps me to feel hopeful.


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