Thursday, June 23, 2011

Those Places Thursday: Sharpstown Neighbors - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

The prompt for Week 25 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Neighbors.

Who were your childhood neighbors? Have you kept in touch with any of them? Do you feel the concept of “neighbors” has changed since then?

Betsy Brown, John D., me, Bill H., Karen - 1974
Lisa and Diane McKimbell, 1966
From the summer of 1964 through the summer of 1985, my family lived in the Sharpstown area in Houston, one of the first master-planned communities in the country.  Our next door neighbors on one side were the Browns. They had a daughter named Debbie around my age, but we weren't close. Another daughter, Betsy, was my sister Karen's age, and they were friends a long time - they might still be in touch. The Browns had a swimming pool, but I don't remember swimming in it much. I'd usually go to the nearby Lansdale Park Pool to swim.

Our first next door neighbors on the other side were the McKimbells, who had two daughters, Lisa and Diane, about the ages of Karen and me. They later moved away and another family with two girls about the same age moved in, but I wasn't close to them and can't even remember their names.

I think the reason I wasn't close to these neighbor girls was that none of them went to St. Francis de Sales, as my siblings and I did. My friends at Catholic school lived further (outside of biking distance) away.
Karen Geutche and Mary, 1969

Down the street lived a family named Geutche. They had young daughters I used to babysit. One was named Karen and was around the age of my youngest sister Mary. They also had a great tree in their front yard that I loved to climb.
Bismarck and Alex, 1973
Also down the street was a family with a female basset hound named Alex. We fantasized about a romance with our male basset, Bismarck, but that didn't happen, I think because Alex was too young and her family soon moved away.

A few streets away was a family called the Jordans. Mrs. Jordan was my Girl Scout Leader a few years. Daughter Vicki was Karen's age and also in the troop. There were two younger girls, Beth and Carole Marie. Sadly, the entire family died in a crash of their small plane around Thanksgiving 1970. My eighth grade class sang at the funeral and I'll never forget it.
Carole Marie and Beth Jordan, 1968
Ardis Bartle, 1974

My high school, St. Agnes Academy, was one mile away, and it wasn't until I started there in 1971 that I found a friend in my neighborhood (albeit half a mile from me). Ardis Bartle is still a friend today, and she's the only "neighbor" I've kept in touch with. She sends the greatest Christmas cards!

My two brothers had classmates just down the street and around the block that they are still friends with today.

I think the concept of neighbors has changed since I was a kid. It seems people spend more time indoors on their computers or watching TV, and it makes it harder to meet people and really get to know them.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. That is so true, the world is less friendlier than it used to be.

  2. Hi! Somehow I stumbled on this blog - I think following some Sharpstown link. I've looked for years for a shred of information about the Jordans. We lived 2 doors down from them and I used to play with Carolmarie. So it was odd to be 6 and then be told that your playmate and her whole family died in a plane crash. Not something a 6 year old understands very well. And from then on - until now as far as I know - that house seemed like a ghost house. It never really looked like anyone lived there. Thanks for the information!

  3. Thanks for commenting, Toyin and Carolyn. Carolyn, I remember passing by the Jordans' house on Rowan and thinking it looked vacant too. Since Gery and Frances were only 35 and 34 when they died, I doubt they had wills, and the house was probably tied up in probate for years.