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Benevolence Essay

543 words - 3 pages

I remember an elderly couple, the Masters, and their apartment across the street from my family's house in suburban Chicago. As a four or five year old girl growing up in the 1960's, I identified with an innocent era of community assurance. Neighbors were friends and respected figures of authority. Mr. and Mrs. Masters were a likewise praiseworthy couple in the glow of their eighties. The couple frequently strolled hand-in-hand through the neighborhood dressed as if going to church, Mr. Masters attired in a charcoal suit and Mrs. Masters in a floral print knee-length dress. They wore their platinum hair short and well-groomed.I remember they knew everyone's name in the neighborhood; my brother Paul, my sister Jean and I, two buck-toothed Gustafsons, two crew-cut ...view middle of the document...

The tallest child pushed the doorbell, and musical chimes echoed throughout the apartment.I remember the desk drawer sweets. Mr. Masters sat at the helm of a rich red mahogany desk, rubbed to a lusterous and flawless radiance, and pulled gently on the brass handles to display an array of sugary delights. The top desk drawer contained rootbeer barrels, chewy Mary Janes, solid Jaw Breakers, and other assorted hard candies; another drawer brimmed with narrow sheets of spotted candy dots, sugar laden Pixie Stix, and spongy pink bubble gum; and there was no mistaking the aroma of warm, fluffy popcorn escaping from the deep bottom drawer. Mr. Masters stuffed small brown paper bags with candy treats while Mrs. Masters supplied bags of fresh popcorn. The neighborhood children waited anxiously but patiently to be recognized and in turn acknowledge gratitude.But most of all, I remember their kindness. The Masters commissioned a professional photographer every summer and invited the neighborhood children to gather on the well-manicured grounds for a memorial photograph. When the selected proof was ready every family received a copy, and one was printed on the front page of the town newspaper. My family preserves three such pictures. The Masters' time with us was relatively brief, but the couple's generosity and regard for humanity remains impressed upon me for a lifetime. In tranquil 1960's suburbia, accusing or suspecting a neighbor of immorality was uncommon and scandalous. Present standards determine that it is sensible, but nonetheless disheartening, that children are cautioned to fear the benevolence of neighbors. Manipulative, unconscionable individuals tarnish the altruistic models I was fortunate to encounter as a child and grew to appreciate as an adult.

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