16 years as Colonial’s next-door neighbor: lost balls, fire drills and laughing kids

Ms Donna Fenn's house is just to the right of Colonial School.

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COLONIAL SCHOOL — Ms Donna Fenn has been one of Colonial School’s next-door neighbors for 16 years. Her favorite part of living next door is hearing the happy shouts and laughter of the students. She likes being able to see the Halloween parade too.

But it also means some bad things happen. Sometimes, people block her driveway with their cars. The construction of the addition was annoying and loud.

When she sees the playground balls in her yard, Ms Fenn said she throws them over the fence to the playground. She has to do this before her three dogs see them first and then pop the balls. (Click hear to read about Ms Fenn’s talk to the Colonial Times about her writing career.)

Ms Fenn liked never having to walk her kids to school, and that she could often be a class parent. Her kids loved Colonial, and their favorite teacher was Mrs. Claire Cavalli. Before living next door to Colonial, she lived behind the movie theater.

At the side of the school, there is a wire fence, but before it was there, there was a wooden fence. Two bad things happened with that wooden fence, Ms Fenn said. Her son tried to climb over the wooden fence and badly scratched his arm. But worse, there used to be a guy who liked to make fires. One day, in the middle of the night, she awoke to see the fence and the leaves in her backyard on fire. This was her scariest moment living next door to Colonial.

Fire drills do not really disturb her, she said, but when they happen, her dogs bark and bark until it is over. She also hears the bell when it rings. When there is a storm, she likes that any damage is quickly repaired because a school is involved.

She said that even for people who don’t have elementary-aged kids, there are many good reasons to live near Colonial.

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