Living in a Stepford community


Removing a cactus from my front yard. Looks like a pineapple!



by cheri sabraw

I live on a piece of property where, through the grace of the God of PIP ( Psychological Insulating Protection), I have a four-acre  buffer zone from the sometimes crass and inane behavior of others of my species. I realize I am a fortunate person, indeed, to be able to blast my music– Credence Clearwater Revival, the Police, and Pandora 80’s Cardio– as loudly as I desire without a cranky neighbor complaining or finding a warning letter on my windshield.

Here at the Rancho, I can park my car in my driveway, leave my hose exposed for all squirrels to see, and, should turkeys venture onto my patio and drop their goopy calling cards, I can shoot them without fear of retribution.

Not so in Goodyear, Arizona. It may have been the home of a tire company, but when rules are broken, the rubber meets the road.

There, we own a small home in a retirement community where formerly hard-working Americans– who probably had coped with obnoxious neighbors in Michigan, Nebraska, or Minnesota for forty years– have chosen to live out their final days in cookie-cutter satisfaction. I will also observe (men, do not get mad at me because I love you, really) that many of the residents happen to be cranky men over the age of 60.

I must admit my usual naivete shielded me from any consideration about Rules. The only warning that flashed, as we signed the purchase papers, was that our house was located several miles from Luke Air Force Base, one of the training facilities for the F-16 fighter jets. My interpretation of this rule is this: Be advised that at times–every weekday morning at 8:00 am and some evenings during the cocktail hour–the sound of a deafening and gutteral supersonic take-off of either two or four jets that can accelerate to Mach 2–will rattle your cupboards and definitely screw up your putt for par on the 8th hole.

Since I am a patriot, and my nephew is an F-16 fighter pilot, this rule seemed like chicken poop.

It all started when the Moderator of the e-mail group scolded me.

This is the same group that informs  community members about  where to get the best pedicure and  who has a Southwest drink ticket to give away.  It warns all  of us to take in our small dogs because a coyote is in the vicinity. Further,  complaints about drivers doing 35 mph in a 25 mph,  bicyclists  not signaling before turning, grandchildren making too much noise in the pool, and neighbors leaving their garage doors open, are regular topics. You can see why I am addicted to this e-mail list.

It wasn’t until the Moderator sent me a personal e-mail warning me that I had not conformed to the Rules of Engagement.

Funny, I never considered how  living in a Stepford Community would mutate my rule-abiding self into a downright rebel.




About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
This entry was posted in People, Politics, Writing and Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Living in a Stepford community

  1. says:

    What did you get scolded for? Love Cindy Cindy Block Usedom Cindy and Partners

    Cell: 510-501-4140 Office: 925-426-3760

  2. wkkortas says:

    How do I love this post? Oh, let me count the ways. The CCR and the Police, of course (I saw them at some huge arena–Syracuse, perhaps?–eons ago, and my wife caught them at Fenway on their last go-round), the pungent, precise, and just-so characterizations of the e-mails, and the wonderful contrast of wide-open spaces and the qualified advantages of the “planned community”. Never, ever trust a company town.

    • Cheri says:

      Love your last line…and as always, coming from a wordsmith like you, I am flattered. This one was easy to write which reminds me that if we write from emotion or detailed personal experience, we usually hit a home run (provided that we can actually write…)

  3. potsoc says:

    Just reading your post, Stepford Communities drive me nuts. I was never ment to live prisoner of a glass dome. The Rancho has, though, much appeal.

    • Cheri says:

      Love your image of the glass dome. I’ll have to think about that one. Yes, the Rancho is a free space full of Nature but still, in the crazy Bay Area (and getting weirder by the moment). Hope you and Therese are well. Saw Kayti today. She turned 88 several days ago. What an example for me.

  4. Brighid says:

    This is why I will never ever, never, live in a trailer park, senior community, or stepford commune… A friend drug me along to look at an armoire for sale in Sun City Roseville (a more money then sense community) Nope not going anywhere near one of those places again.
    Rather play golf in a cow pasture, swim in the lake, fish in the pond, shoot off the porch if I’m a mind too… and ride horses in places with few fences…

    • Cheri says:

      What a spirited comment! Thank you, Brighid. Golf in a cow pasture…certain the fees are less and the aromas more natural. I’ve been in Sun City, Roseville. Yes. From what I know of you, this is not a match! 🙂

  5. Richard says:

    You probably gave him palpitations.

    Print up the email, scribble on the reverse “Thank you, see you in heaven,” and place it politely on his windscreen. Don’t forget to wear your hat at the ensuing extraordinary committee meeting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s