In the spring of 2020, Greendale’s Henry Dluzak found himself feeling isolated and bored while sheltering in place due to the shutdown. He wondered if his neighbors felt the same way, and after a few phone calls he discovered that they, too, were in need of human connection.
And so, the first gathering of the Skylark Lane neighbors took place.
“Folks decided to meet in one of our driveways, making sure that we separated ourselves in the prescribed manner. We decided that ’10 kielbasa links’ would be sufficient,” says Dluzak.
The tradition has continued ever since, as long as the weather is at least 50 degrees and not raining. The number of participating neighbors varies, from three or four to 13 or 14. They bring their own chairs and beverages or snacks.
“Each day’s attendance provides a new surprise,” says Dluzak.
The group moves to different driveways on Skylark Lane, depending on the weather and position of the sun.
“When the weather begin to cool, the group gathers across the street to the sunny north side of the street,” says Dluzak.
The gatherings have led to greater neighbor relations in general.
“When a group member is gone for a weekend or a vacation, another neighbor picks up their mail, newspapers and FedEx deliveries from their porches and saved until they return,” says Dluzak.
The unspoken rule for participation – other than the "10 kielbasa link distance rule" – is that discussion topics cannot include religion or politics. Instead, neighbors come prepared to share family recipes, restaurant experiences, jokes and home remodeling stories.
“Without any formal decision-making, we all know to avoid political and religious discussions,” says Dluzak. “Every other topic or joke helps to maintain everyone’s sanity. And that is, by far, the most significant benefit of the gatherings.”
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.