Neighbor stories

An Age-Defying Friendship

Written by Emma Smith

“WINDA I’M HOOOMMMMEE!” is the first thing 4-year-old Jackson says when he gets off the bus from pre-school. He’s calling for his best friend, Linda, a 63-year-old woman who lives right next door.

Linda joined Nextdoor three years ago upon moving to the Charlton Neighborhood in Upstate New York from her hometown in the Bronx. She first used Nextdoor to organize a neighborhood block party – a post that gained dozens of positive responses and allowed Linda to meet all of her neighbors. When Jackson and his family moved in the following year, Linda brought some cakes over as a house-warming gift and to welcome the new family to Charlton. No one would’ve suspected the unlikely friendship that blossomed between the two almost instantaneously.

Jackson was immediately drawn to Linda. He would see her walk to the mailbox and yell out the window, “Winda, Winda, can I come over?” to which Linda would happily welcome Jackson into her home.

In preparation for his frequent visits, Linda now keeps an endless supply of Jackson’s favorite snacks, which are marshmallows, lollipops, and strawberries, in her pantry. Jackson insists on going over to play on Linda’s swing set in her backyard, even though he has the same one in his yard.

Jackson assures Linda that she is his best friend and that he “woves her very much.” Oftentimes, Jackson advises Linda she should attend speech therapy with him since she “doesn’t talk right” and he finds her Bronx accent hilarious.

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Linda with her children, Isis and Dom.

Thanks to the bond between Jackson and Linda, their two families are now deeply connected. Jackson loves playing with Linda’s children, 8-year-olds Dom and Isis, and Linda’s husband, Tony, often hosts friendly cook-offs with Jackson’s parents to see who can make the best meatballs. Jackson’s mother, Nicole, says their family is blessed to have such sweet neighbors and can’t imagine their life any other way.

Linda is so grateful for her friendship with Jackson. At first, Linda believed she would never have kids of her own, sharing, “I never thought in all these years I would have anyone who would call me mom.” Having Dom, Isis, and now Jackson is a blessing that brings meaning and joy to her life every day.

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“When a kid likes you, that’s what I take as the highest compliment…It’s a soul to soul connection.”
Photos courtesy of Nicole Maddalone Photography


  • This is a great story. We need to see more positive issues. Thanks for sharing. It made me feel good!

  • Thank you so much for such a beautiful post about my son, Jackson and our wonderful neighbor, Linda. Truth be told we were nervous about moving and having our first home and you hear those horror stories about bad neighbors. But the kindness began from day one. Both her and Tony are really amazing people with pure souls. They adopted two wonderful little kids who are now 8 and they’re in their 60’s. They did this without thinking twice. And they welcomed us as neighbors and family to them just as easily. Jackson spends a lot of time over at their house and we do, too. We LOVE them and really very blessed.

  • Thank you for wanting to share our story…Emma, you did a wonderful job….appreciate you adn Shannon mucho

  • I love this story so much! It takes a village to build the next generation. Since technology came along I think we lost a lot of our community. All it takes is someone like Linda to make those villagers want to be apart of their village.

  • I’ve known Linda for many years! She has three nephews; Ryan, Ross, and Reid Jefferson. She is an amazing aunt who gives from her heart and loves full out. In 2007, in California her nephew Ryan suffered a life threatening accident. Kinda was on the next plane with her sister, Ryan’s mom. Ryan’s recovery was slow and he was not allowed to fly back home from Calif. so Aunt Linda said, “Let’s make this fun Ry! I will take the train with you!” This was before the adoption of her two precious kids, but Linda has been a friend/mother to kids for years❤️ Mary Lou Rodgers, Encinitas, CA

  • A wonderful heart warming story. He will have wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing

  • Awesome story! The way neighborhoods should be ❤️ Linda is a beautiful person and shares her love with all who are fortunate enough to know her!

  • This is completely not surprising to me. Linda is my Godmother and has always had an ability to chat up anyone. She really tries to be a source of positive energy in a sometimes scary world. Great story and even better people.

  • Such a touching story. It makes my heart smile. Linda is such an amazing person. People gravitate to her she has such amazing energy she draws you in with her beautiful accent, Her laughter and her kind caring heart. She is such a genuine person, aways takes time to listen. We are all truly blessed to have linda in our lives.

  • I’ve known Linda since I was a child, and I always loved when she came to the house to visit! There was constant laughter and joy. Now as an adult I still enjoy spending time with Linda! She can put a smile on anyone’s face.

    • I also remember Linda as a child and spending nights at her house we always enjoyed her and always made fine of her words because of her accent?Jackson you are a lucky young man to have met a great women whose heart is full of love and such a caring women♥️♥️♥️??

  • Love this story! I only get to see Linda a few times a year and I have heard so much about Jackson! They are lucky to have each other. Linda is kind, selfless, and so much fun! She is an amazing mother with strong values and a good head on her shoulders. She is an inspiration to me!!

  • I LOVE Winda!!! She is truly a wonderful person with a heart that has no boundaries… This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person!

  • Linda is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. She has a heart as large as the sky! Great story.

  • I just love this story…I’ve known Linda for many years, and she’s the real deal when it comes to caring and kindness. Perfectly understandable why this little guy loves her! Linda, her husband and her kids are the best ever, and the greatest neighbors!!

  • Linda is a beautiful person inside and out. She has a big personality and an even bigger heart. She will give anyone the shirt off her back. These little people are lucky to have her!!

  • Our family motto is “the more the better” it definitely isn’t blood is thicker than water it’s simply the kindness of a warm heart that makes a family!

  • It is always special to touch the heart of
    A child! A great story of neighborly love and in today’s climate a treasure! Good stuff right there! To earn the heart of a child is precious! Great neighbors share lifetime memories and let’s face it at the end of the day what is
    Better than that!❤️

  • THIS STORY IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!! So nice to see so much happiness & positivity in one article! Love it ? Linda is a beautiful human!!

  • I couldn’t be more proud to call you my Aunt! Aunt Linda you are an amazing woman! We all love you so much ?

  • What a wonderful story. I am not at all surprised as I know Linda and her beautiful family from our junior bowling league. She has a pure and genuine spirit and isn’t afraid to go out of her way to make you feel special which is so endearing and uncommon in our crazy busy world. Her smile is infectious and she and her family are one in a million. Thank you fir acknowledging them.

  • I’ve known Linda for about 40 years. Many years went by and we lost touch. When we found each other again, it was like we were never apart. She has a warmth about her that generates love, caring, understanding, and true friendship! She’s one of a kind! She has a big voice, a big presence, and the biggest heart I know! I’m proud to call her my friend! Oh, and by the way, I’m from the Bronx too! We don’t talk funny, do we???!!!! ?

  • Of course Jackson wuves you.. who wouldn’t? You are truly one of the sweetest, kindest, purest souls I have ever met! This story just makes my heart so happy! You are all blessed to have each other❤️

  • I met Linda so many years ago. She has a magnetic personality that draws both young and old. I am fortunate to have met her in my life journey. Although we have not seen each other in many years, her friendship still exists, and is so valued. It is no doubt that she has touched Jackson’s life the way she has so many other people along the way!

  • I have witnessed many times him yelling out the window to you or patiently waiting for you to come home.

    It brings such Joy to see the relationship he has built with you 🙂 thank you for being such a wonderful friend to my little grandson 🙂

  • This is a beautiful story, and if you know Linda then you’re not surprised. She is so full of honesty, kindness, and compassion with the purest of souls. I feel very blessed having Linda as a friend, I wuv her too Jackson 🙂

  • An amazing story about a beautiful soul. Linda has always opened her heart and her home to others. Always looking to help another and truly is an inspiration to all!!

  • What an amazing story. Emma,you managed to capture the beautiful soul of Linda Mac . Jackson has himself one of the best friends ever. i know the feeling because the first day I met “Winda”I knew she was very special and unique.
    Thank you for celebrating this special friendship

  • I have so many wonderful memories of working with “Winda” a few years ago. She personifies fun, and was always up for a game of rubber chicken volleyball or trying to learn to water ski. As many others have noted, she has a huge heart and is absolutely genuine. If she is a friend of yours, you are truly blessed. When I think of the ageless “Winda,” I think of her hearty, throaty laugh, which she shares often and with many. It is good to see her enjoying these children, and it is obvious that they love her dearly, as do all who know her.

  • OMG!!!! This is the most inspiring stories I have encountered in a very long time!!
    ..I have always believed that…”Both Kids and Dogs can instinctively tell the true nature of a person’s ❤️ Heart!”
    ..and here is the Proof!
    ..This lady swims in the Sea of a Young ❤️ Heart! How could Jackson NOT fall into total Love with her????
    I ask you????

  • Linda is such a loving soul, I’m not surprised to hear this wonderful story! He is lucky to have found her and she him! I hope thus friendship last many years! Well written too!

  • I am Linda’s cousin, and I was visiting about two weeks ago. I could not believe how this little boy, Jackson (great name too) loved Linda. As soon as he got off the bus he was at the screen door; “Winda, I’m home. I found Jackson to be so open and outspoken, not a shy bone in his body. I love that. Jackson kept saying to Linda can I have a sweep over. I asked him if he wanted to come home with me and he said flat out NO, lol. He doesn’t come to play with Isis and Domenick, he hangs by Linda. There is definitely a special bond between them two.

  • Linda is VERY special and I am honored to call her my friend. And, knowing Linda, this is no surprise! She’s the real deal!???

  • I love this and am not surprised in the least. Linda is a wonderful person with a heart of gold and people just gravitate toward her. She absolutely loves children and my heart was broken when I found out she couldn’t have any of her own. Dominic and Isis are truly blessed to call her mom. I’m not surprised Jackson loves her too. He seems like an adorable little boy? Oh and I don’t think she talks funny, Jackson. She has sounded the same for the 50 plus years I know her. This is heartwarming to hear in these ugly divided times?

  • I first met Linda quite literally on a huge rock,in the center of a large pond, right smack dab in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains. We were sitting up on this rock watching my four kids and her nephews fearlessly jump 15 feet or so into the unknown depths below when I expressed my nervousness of being unable to take the plunge. She laughed and told me just how liberating it would be, so on the advice of a total stranger….I jumped! It was great and the beginning of a friendship that has spanned well over 20 years! We would meet every year at that campground with our family for many seasons and the wonderful memories created with Linda and Tony have lasted a lifetime. We were happy campers!

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