“Who Is My Neighbor?”



Holiday Cleansers was one of the happiest discoveries I made when I first moved to this neighborhood, although my thirty-five year old relationship with Billy and Kate, owners of a dry-cleaning  business within walking distance of my house, began a little awkwardly: “Cash only,” Kate announced the first time I tried to retrieve my plastic-wrapped clothing. As if to say “It doesn’t matter that you and I were just having a lovely conversation about the books we’re both reading. I don’t know you!” But over time and many more book conversations, I was finally deemed trustworthy enough to write a check. Yes!

“Holiday Cleansers?” I verified before writing that first check.

“Yes,” Kate explained. “It’s probably a colloquialism.” (Billy’s mother, the original owner and someone who’d grown up in this neighborhood, had suggested the name as I recall.) So without my even telling you about Billy’s sardonic, wry comments re the state of the world which in no way mask his gentle, loving nature, or about the series of fluffy dogs that were always just there in a series of cardboard boxes next to the counter, or Kate’s extraordinary storytelling talent, you can see, can’t you, why I loved doing business, limited though my dry-cleaning needs were, at this oddly named dry-cleaners cum neighborhood drop-in center—because I was not the only person who loved to just hang out there, too.

Alas, Billy and Kate vacated the premises April 1st; their business and the building it occupied are slated to be razed any day now, a great, great loss to this neighborhood. (and to me, personally.)

If the Universe were fair, whatever is built on that site would be kind. Like affordable housing. Or maybe a fun community-gathering place could replace Holiday Cleansers—like an art center for children. Or, yes, a book store!

I know exactly what Billy would say at these helpful suggestions: “Don’t hold your breath!”








Join the Conversation


  1. Patricia: You could hold your breath, maybe just a little bit. Is our community, our nation, the world getting better? Drop us a line if you could. George (and Mimi)

  2. Dear Patricia,
    Hi, there, Patricia! What a beautiful blog article which you have written! I really enjoyed reading from your personal experiences and from your spiritual heart. All of my life I have also thought that all of our Good Creator God’s people are indeed my neighbors. As a little black girl in second grade in a majority white suburb in 1969-1970 I read a wonderful children’s book about our Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I did an earnest book report on this great book. All of my life our Dear and Sweet, Most Powerful God has had placed in the deepest part of my heart a love for white people, especially for white women, and I have all of my life to the very best of my ability even with some bumps in the road which I had when I was a lot younger reached out to white people. I have had a burning love in my heart, a dream all of my life, and I so long ago promised to our God to love people to the very best of what I have to offer, and to do our Good God’s will whatever that would be. Patricia, your very fine and excellent articles and your great book show such spiritual depth and attunement! Your fantastic writings surely help me a lot! Thank-you, thank-you again so, so very much! I so look forward to more of your spectacular writings! You please have a very nice, special, and a very blessed day, Patricia!
    Very Sincerely Always,
    Sherry Gordon

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