Just Being NeighborlyCommentary • ISSUE 37•20 • May 30, 2001 By Jean Teasdale – A Room Of Jean's Own You know, you'd think a genuine people-person like me would have friends coming out the wazoo. But other than Patti and Fulgencio, and my two sweet kitties Priscilla and Garfield, I don't have a whole heck of a lot of buddies. I've never understood it: I'm always eager to initiate a conversation (even with a complete stranger), I'm always smiling, and I'm ever-ready to lend a helping hand or shoulder to cry on. I'm serious! If any of you Jeanketeers out there ever need a favor, just let me know. Heck, if you're real nice, I'll even help out with the housework! (Only, I don't do windows–ha ha ha!) I wish I could befriend some of my neighbors, but the apartment complex where I live has a month-to-month lease arrangement, so there's constant turnover. In fact, the only permanent residents seem to be me and hubby Rick, and this elderly lady who sits on her little balcony porch and stares down at me as I walk to and from the driveway. So, sometimes, your old pal Jean got a little lonely at her digs on good old Blossom Meadows Drive. That is, until recently, when the Jean Teasdale Official Fan Club opened downstairs! A couple weeks ago, while misting my fern, I glanced out the window and noticed two young men and a young woman taking boxes out of a moving van and walking toward the downstairs entrance of my unit. I didn't think much of it until I noticed what was sticking out of one of the boxes: a cardboard "Love Is" placard! I was soooo knocked out to see a "Love Is" placard! Am I the only one who remembers "Love Is"? It was this darling comic strip of observations about love featuring two adorable little naked kids! Anyway, after spotting that placard, I just had to drop in on my new neighbors! When I walked downstairs to meet them, I couldn't believe the stuff these kids were carrying! Leif Garrett and Shaun Cassidy posters! Scads of old Barbie dolls! And they must have had at least half a dozen paintings of children, puppies, and kitties with huge eyes! The girl was even wearing a Holly Hobbie T-shirt! I can't tell you how thrilled I was to finally meet some people who shared my interests! "I love your stuff!" I cried. One of the young men stared at me for a couple seconds. "Really?" he said. "Well, we love your stirrup pants." I was floored. It's not often I get compliments on my clothes! I offered to help the trio move the rest of their stuff in. They were kind of reluctant at first, but I wouldn't take no for an answer! "I can't get over the fact that you guys have a 'Love Is' poster," I said. "I gotta include that in my column." "Column?" the girl asked. "What column do you write?" I told them who I was and, judging from their reaction, you'd think I said I was Madonna! They let their boxes drop to the floor and stared at me all slack-jawed and wide-eyed. "You're Jean Teasdale?" one of the young men asked. "You mean, Jean Teasdale? 'A Room Of Jean's Own' Jean Teasdale?" "Hey, don't wear out my name... it's my only one!" I replied. The three froze, saying nothing. Suddenly, the girl clapped her hand to her mouth and squealed. The two boys' eyes shone. For a minute there, I thought they were going to burst into tears! One of them finally gathered the wits to step up and shake my hand. "Mrs. Teasdale, this is truly an honor," he said. "We are Jeanketeers of the highest order." Greg, Sean, Marni, and I have been buddies ever since. The three are all students at nearby Concordia College and were looking to get out of the dorms, so fate (and cheap rent!) brought them to my apartment complex. That evening, they came over for pizza and ice cream. They took great interest in seeing all the things I've mentioned in my column over the years, like my kitties, my Precious Moments collection, and my curio cabinet full of dolls, including my coveted Miss Beasley. But their biggest thrill came when hubby Rick came home from work. "How are things at the tire center, hubby Rick?" they exclaimed in unison when he walked in the door. I hadn't seen Rick that befuddled since he woke up next to me after our first night together! I've spent time at their place, too. I must admit, though, that even though we share similar tastes, some things they do are kind of strange. For example, Marni, who's an art student, took this really adorable clown painting she'd found at a garage sale and painted a blood-covered ax over the flower the clown was holding. Then, she painted the bloody corpses of two children at his feet. Even though I like Marni, I don't think this was really necessary. Besides, I think she did herself a real disservice in the long run, because clown paintings are really collectible, and an original in good condition could be worth a lot of money. There's another strange thing that's been happening lately. Ever since I met Greg, Sean, and Marni, people their age have been passing by the Fashion Bug where I work and peering into the front window. Whenever I see them, I always smile and wave. But instead of waving back or going into the store, they nervously giggle and dart away. Except for this one guy. He strolled by the store and yelled in a loud voice, "Hey, Jean! Let's go shopping someday! I'm just mad about Patrick Swayze and chocolate, too!" I hustled to the entrance to see who he was, but by the time I got there he'd disappeared. That confused me. If we had so much in common, why didn't he come in to talk to me? But I suppose I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. I'd always wondered if anyone out there cared about my column, and now I was getting my answer. And, from all appearances, that answer was a resounding YES! Besides, it's great to meet people who see the humor in life. I mean, whenever I'm around Greg, Sean, and Marni, it seems like they're trying their darnedest to stifle a laugh. I'm always encouraging them to laugh as much as they want! Let it out! Don't be so bashful! There are too many Gloomy Gusses in this world anyhow! Tonight, my new friends and I are going to watch my VHS copy of Ice Castles. When they told me they'd never seen it, I just about flipped. I mean, they call themselves Jeanketeers, and they've never seen Ice Castles? But I forgave them pretty quickly. After all, it's not every day you forge such a strong bond with people!