Hitler & Himmler: The Disadvantages of Neighborhood ‘Communities’

Every neighborhood has one–at first they seem friendly and welcoming and you think “aw, how nice. We are going to love it here” but just as you are discussing why this move was a good idea, your door bell rings…

“Hi. I need your email address, home phone and cell phone number”

It seems harmless–but what you don’t realize is that this information is key to their success. It is how they stir trouble and make everyone believe that they are in the know, and you are in the know nothing.

In Vancouver, her name was Robin. Robin would walk around the block about 15 time every evening with her dog Jazz and she would frequently stop at houses gossiping about the unfriendly Russian neighbors over the fences. She would bribe people with her sangria concoction and always make nice with the dog owners in an effort to create an “in” club. We were in the in club, and whenever we tried to not get involved, it was obvious that being in the in club was really the only option in dealing with Robin and the neighborhood politics. She came over a lot, asking if Zoey wanted to come out and play (no, Robin was not a 12-year-old child, she was a 40-year-old woman), in addition to waking us up at 11pm to talk about the hot commodity that was our friend “Steve.”

When we first moved to Jacksonville, her name was Rose. Rose outcast us right after she got my email and phone number. We chose not to participate in the Christmas Caroling practices that started in October–that was our first mistake. Our second mistake was only buying 450 pieces of Halloween candy, forcing us to turn our lights out and make ourselves scarce at 8pm. This neighborhood was THE PLACE to be on Halloween, and apparently being open for business all night is expected. Rose stopped sending us emails when we didn’t attend the neighborhood banquet dinner–thus we never got notification that it was ‘required’ to purchase luminaries and display them prominently on our porch, sidewalks, and driveways. On Christmas Eve, around 4pm, the entire neighborhood was outside setting up their luminaries–Bryant and I had two of our friends in town, so we all happened to walk out around that time to go for a Jacksonville evening stroll only to receive multiple threatening looks because “where were our luminaries?” Rose asked us lots of questions, said “didn’t you get the email?” No Rose, we didn’t, probably because you chose not to send it. So at 6pm, we snuck out to the common area of the neighborhood and stole luminaries–yes, I stole them. Because we were the ONLY house in the neighborhood that didn’t have any–so while the other houses were lit up all festive, ours was dark and lonely.

Our current community: we call them Hitler and Himmler. I was not the creator of the names, so I can not take credit. Himmler acts as President of the Social Commitee–even though it is a commitee, and there are no positions. Himmler is like Mr. Heckles-female version-times 100. Hitler was the President of the HOA, we outsted him at the annual owners meeting. We thought, Himmler would then rest on the sidelines, now that her husband wasn’t running things anymore: WRONG. She sends me an email at least once a day–and this week asked my husband if he could meet with her one-on-one to discuss the HOA financials. Himmler yells when she’s talking to you–calls everyone “idiots” and is the meanest neighborhood queen bee I have ever met.  Himmler hates Franny and Zoey, and always yells at me about playing with them outside and not having them on leashes. She claims that she is the official neighborhood policeman, sounding the alarms every time someone puts up orange or green curtains instead of the required white–she argued with me that what I thought was my back patio is actually my front patio. Himmler is also hearing impaired–I realize this is a disability, and I do feel very sorry for her, but I think it makes her meaner. Its like she feels like she has to compensate or something so she just screams at everyone and is in constant email communication with everybody. Himmler is in full operation even though her husband, Hitler is like a ghost now that we impeached him.

The point of this: Apartment buildings may be the better option. Trailer parks, cabins in the woods, loftstyle buildings where no one cares who their neighbors are…you WANT to live there.

My 2nd point: NEVER give out your email address and phone number to your neighbors when you first move in. Thats like giving your phone number to the drunk bar guy who insisted that you were the most beautiful woman he’s ever met–he proposed marriage and seemed pretty stalkerish, but hey sure you can call me!

On Saturday we are having a “Rock Party.” It isn’t a party at all, more of a work day. We are moving rocks into the water feature because a few of the older neighbors thought that it was a safety threat for small children. It is only 3 feet deep, but apparently, little kids could fall in and drown. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t be involved in the Rock Party at all, but I gave them my email and phone number so I really don’t have a choice.



  1. You’ll survive!
    ps, Vancouver as in Washington or Vancouver as in BC?
    pss, coffee date plz, thx.

    • Vancouver, Washington.

      Yes. I will survive. I don’t think they will live for much longer, so there is that. 😉

      • WOW THAT IS MY HOMETOWN! Born & raised, moved here Aug 2006.

      • how funny! we moved there from Colorado in 2008 and moved to So. Oregon November 2009. So we lived there about a year 1/2. Bryant got a job at Fisher Investments (off of Mill Plain) and then moved here when he made a job change.

        Yes. We will do coffee. Maybe next week before I leave? We’ll figure it out!

  2. Ours is named Candice and she lives across the street. She and her neighbor sit in their front yards in folding chairs watching everyone in the neighborhood. When we moved in, she came over with brownies (did not ask for any information though) and proceeded to tell us what ALL of our close neighbors do for a living, if they have kids, and how erratic their schedules are. She also has a 4th of July party every year so I wonder how that will go this year.

    In terms of the email list, my former boss (to whom I was a personal assistant) had an HOA and an email list for the community and it was actually a really positive thing because people could be like, “I’ve noticed a lot of people fixing their driveways – who are you using? I’d love to hire them.” That worked out really well. I’d love to start something like that in my neighborhood. Not for gossip or for peer-pressure, but simply to let people know who is having a yard sale or when the township fireworks will be. You know? Maybe I should run it and not Candace.

    • In Colorado, at my parents home, the neighbors always throw an elaborate Halloween party. They turn their front yard into a pirate ship, or a western theme with carriage rides and saloon girls…they are “those” neighbors–mean, and very party exclusive. I imagine they would give Candace a run for her money.

      I think it would be very kind of you to put together a network of plumbers and driveway fixer-uppers. You don’t seem like the type that would abuse personal information at all–go for it sister!

  3. The house i lived in in Nashville (with my parents) had a very strict HOA. Notes ALL THE TIME and just silly.

    I heard on NPR the other day that there was a family in TX whose house was foreclosed on by the HOA because they missed their HOA dues…the house was totally paid for but auctioned off because of late dues….what?!?! makes me never want to live in an HOA neighbourhood.

    • HOAs could serve a great purpose. And I like the dues because they pay for home improvements later on that would cost a fortune—its the crazy people that freak out about curtain colors, or sit on their front lawns gossiping about people. They are the problem!

  4. cassieleigh says:

    i’m laughing hysterically.

  5. I envy you. I would be thrown to the wolves and cast as an anti-semite if I had a blog title with “Hitler” And/or “Himmler” in it.

    guess I will have to work on that.


  1. […] in which neighborhoods throw community gatherings – it is only appropriate that I share this blog post with you by my friend Katie. I think you too will find it […]

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