Christine MacLean | Holland, Mich.
First of all, it's not my photo. It's Mary Hilldore's, but she's another member of our 'hood and she gave me permission to use it. I choose it because it shows a mix of ages having fun together. It shows our sense of community. I live in Holland, Michigan's Historic District, which is adjacent to downtown. Greater Holland is socially and politically conservative; it's still legal to discriminate against people who are gay, if you can believe it. But right in our little 'hood, there's a greater mix of liberal and conservative views. We chose this neighborhood for that reason and because we could walk to downtown and to school and (most of us) even work to work. When the school board announced in 2004 they were closing our neighborhood school, a group of families banded together and fought it hard. We lost, but we bonded during that time, forming a community that functions as an extended family. We look out for each others' kids, share resources, organize meals when someone has had surgery, cover for each other and offer frequent words of encouragement and reassurance.