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Don't Forget Your Toothbrush

Don't Forget Your Toothbrush

Can you name three people who live on your block? We’re talking first name and last name, not “scary naked guy” or “lady with 12 kids.” No? Well, you’re not alone.

Peter Lovenheim was inspired to improve his relationships with his neighbors after a murder-suicide occurred in his Rochester neighborhood. He and his family realized that they knew nothing about the family that was affected. He decided the best way to get to know his neighbors was to invite himself to elementary school-style sleepovers at his neighbor’s houses and he documented his experience in a New York Times opinion piece.

“Why is it that in an age of cheap long-distance phone rates, discount airlines and the internet, when we can create community anywhere, we often don’t know the people who live next door?” he writes.

Lovenheim discovered people with rich histories living behind the anonymous doors of his neighborhood, including an 81-year-old widower named Lou who spent his days fraternizing with his buddies at the YMCA.

You may not be up for packing an overnight bag, but you might be surprised to make some great friends living right next door. Try it out and let us know what happens. [The New York Times]

Posted: 6/24/08