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Things were so much different then,

back when I was a kid,

for there were always eyes upon us

seeing everything we did.

We felt we were being spied upon,

my sisters and my brothers.

And we were, ’cause we were being raised

by a Neighborhood of Mothers.

Most mothers spent their days at home,

and they knew us all by name.

“Eddie Ackerman, I’m gonna call your mom,”

brought a special type of shame.

And so we tried to toe the mark,

me and all the others.

You lived your life under a microscope

in a Neighborhood of Mothers.

Mrs. Adonizio had a vantage point

from her house upon the corner.

She wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone

and call my mom to warn her

that I was getting out of line.

The memory still gives me shudders.

There was no place a kid could hide

in our Neighborhood of Mothers.

Mrs. Keating, Mrs. Waitkevich,

Mrs. Doyle and Mrs. Wachs,

shared a mutual commitment

of getting down to brass tacks.

We weren’t allowed to go astray

with these ladies at our rudders.

The seas stayed calm, the sailing smooth

in those Neighborhoods of Mothers.

There were six kids in the Keating house,

the Adonizios had six more.

There were five of us, we Ackermans.

The Massaras? There were four.

But to these moms it didn’t matter

if we were their kids or others’.

We belonged to everyone, they thought,

this Neighborhood of Mothers.

Despite the popular television show,

Mothers, not Fathers knew best.

And the last thing we would ever do

was to put their power to the test.

If ever we would dare to complain,

“Our freedom your scrutiny smothers,”

they’d say that was the whole idea,

in a Neighborhood of Mothers.

Tho it wasn’t always easy to live

under their watchful eyes,

and our moms took their job most seriously,

this diligent network of spies,

our world was simple, pure and safe,

and I believe if we had our druthers,

we would not change a thing about

our Neighborhood of Mothers.

Ed Ackerman writes the Optimist every week. Look for his blogs at