My African-American neighbors, Victor and Brenda Owens, put the lie to the oft-heard refrain that blacks and whites live next to one another in Oak Park, but don’t interact. We have attended one another’s birthday and graduation celebrations as well as comforted one another at wakes of family members. I am particularly grateful for their everyday acts of kindness.

Victor has been a godsend in all seasons by snowblowing my walks, trimming my hedges, sawing a fallen tree, and opening a clogged drain. Brenda has often sent over a plate after an evening barbeque and negotiated jointly for us with contractors. I am cheered by the whole family’s greetings and conversations over the fence. I hope they never move.

Pat Healey

Oak Park


Editor’s note: To extend our Good Neighbor/Good Will theme in Viewpoints, feel free to tell us about neighbors who break down stereotypes, whether by race/ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Send them to or by fax, 524-0447.

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