Friday, June 11, 2010

Morning in the Castle Alley


This morning we had a big give-away in the alley outside of the castle. We set up a table and kept bringing items out; every single thing disappeared just like that - even all of our English books, funny plaques our students had given us, and an elf costume of Franco's. K and I brought our pots and pans to T and T this morning (they had already laid claim to the big ticket items they wanted), but they were adamant that our neighbor, Candle Lady, needed the pots and pans more than they did. Candle Lady was thrilled.

Sweet Seamstress' brother, Ut (whom we thought was her son until just a few days ago) very sweetly asked for Katherine's bike, and he broke out into the biggest grin when she told him it was his. SS got the coat and shoe racks, iron and shelves. T and T's brother's wife - the mother of Monkey Boy - came and took all of our dishes and food. Henry - our endlessly gracious neighbor across the alley (laughing grandpa is his father) got some of Franco's shirts, a table, a lamp and some things for his kids. It was really fun - and such an example of a community deciding who should get what. No one here owns many items outside of the "need" column.

K had given Thanh a gift certificate for a facial for her birthday, so yesterday the four of us took an hour and a half at the spa. It was a first for those two - Thanh, especially, would never allow herself such a treat. Afterward she told me, "I forgot all of my worries." (I cannot say it was a first for K and me - we are two people who have become experts on the spas in Saigon, just ask us.)

K and I "did" the market together this morning and I gave out more of my notes. Banana lady gave us some complimentary bananas, Make-Up Lady gave me a free bonus lip gloss with my purchase (better than Macy's) and Sweet Seamstress gave us our last clothes orders "from her heart to ours."

I took donuts to the seamstress I love across town (where Tarn has accused me of running my own sweat shop) and she hugged me for a long time, gave me her email address and told me she would continue to make me clothes and send them to America - all I must do is to send her a picture of what I want. (K thinks this was bad for my addiction.)

Back to the topic of the neighborhood: I've mentioned it before, but many of our colleagues were not so fortunate with their neighbors. I feel so much gratitude to these people who have not only welcomed us into their alley, but who have kept their eyes on our house, paid our electricity bills to keep us in power when we were negligent on occasion, and who have held candles out windows when we came home to darkness late at night. Those kind of people are fun to give to, you know?

6 comments:

SeattlePam said...

That is the beauty of true community! Bring some of that energy home and let's start a Community Movement here in Seattle! What a wonderful gift you all gave...

SeattlePam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol said...

I am so, so glad Dad and I were able to meet many of your neighborhood friends. It's fun to picture them as you write. What a wonderful group of people -- and what a wonderful idea to share your things with them!

Mom

Brian Bowker said...

Ok, now THIS post is my very favorite!!

What a cool thing to do. You are truly a class act, Marjie. I hope I can be a selfless as you are.

[Note: I taught my big sister everything she knows...]

The Norris Clan said...

Absolutely true community. You have blessed them more than you know.

Mungo said...

I've been thinking a lot about this community issue lately in our own little Lynnwood neighborhood... I want to do some community events this summer...