Editor’s Note, December 2015: Good Fences, Better Neighbors

A tribute to those neighbors who make our lives better, one kind act at a time.
In Philip Gulley’s column this month (“Annoyance Next Door”), he invokes the old proverb “good fences make good neighbors.” But when you live in closer quarters than an idyllic street in Danville—whether it be in a condo, townhome, or, as I do, in a Victorian double—you may have no more between you and your neighbors than some drywall. Add in barking dogs, loud TVs, and creaking bedsprings, and those sheets of plaster can quickly become that thin line between love and hate.

That’s why my husband and I consider ourselves doubly lucky. Not only did we find a historic home we cherish, with elaborate woodwork and stained glass, but the person who occupies the other side of our building has become one of our best friends in the city.

Brian and his Chihuahua, Paco, have made our lives in Holy Cross better in the four years since we moved in. A gifted gardener, Brian’s work in our shared backyard’s flowerbeds means bountiful lilies, hydrangea, and other blooms greet me in the summer as I walk to the garage. He’s given me and my brown thumb advice, deadheaded my sad petunias, and brought my salvia back from the brink. In other ways, we share the load: He mows the lawn, my husband trims it.

It helps, too, that our Yorkie mix, Cooper, adores him. Once rescued from a breeder, Coop doesn’t make friends easily. And yet he bounds, tongue lolling, to greet Brian and Paco, and Brian has made our vacations easier more than once by keeping Cooper (not to mention picking up our mail). It’s a relief to know the pup is with someone he loves.

In this issue, we give out our annual Best of Indy awards, from Fat Dan’s brisket to Carmel’s bike share. These picks are the result of intense research and even debate. Who has the best denim jackets? Which juice bar truly represents the trend? Back in Holy Cross, my husband and I have our own favorite things: evenings with Brian talking on the deck, riding to the Humane Society’s Mutt Strut together every spring, sharing beers at Black Acre. So I’d like to announce another superlative, to someone who deserves it: Brian, here’s to you, the Best Person with Which to Share a Wall. And I promise we’ll turn down our TV.

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A native of Inman, South Carolina, Amanda Heckert graduated from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina and began her career in journalism as an intern at Atlanta magazine. She then edited Newcomer magazine, a monthly covering Atlanta real estate, entertainment, arts, dining, and education, and helped launch a sister publication, Atlanta School Guide.In 2006, Heckert returned to Atlanta magazine and worked her way up from associate editor covering fashion and lifestyle to senior editor. In that position, she edited and wrote features on topics such as Dasani bottled water and The Real Housewives of Atlanta; contributed to and edited the front-of-book; and edited service and non-service packages, including the September 2011 Hollywood Issue, nominated for a City and Regional Magazine Association Award.Heckert joined Indianapolis Monthly in February 2012 and enjoys getting to know the Circle City with her husband, writer Justin Heckert, and their dog, Cooper.