As summer meanders to its not-so-grand finale, I ponder my many hours biking and clomping around neighborhoods in sneaks, I decide it’s time to tell the stories of the myriad houses I’ve passed during my travels.
I’m not going to tell the tale of each and every house I’ve passed, even though each one has a lot to say, but rather, talk about them in categories which means, I guess, that I am typecasting?
Never-the less …
- Vacant, bank-owned houses: These are the ones that incense me, that make me see maroon, that fuel my ire. While biking on any given day I have passed anywhere from 5 to 15 vacant homes, and this within a five mile radius from ground zero (my home). These bank-owned travesties sport crooked shutters, boarded windows, tropical rain forest landscaping in a northern climate, falling down fencing, cracked driveways, sinful and heartbreaking neglect and, well, you get the picture. The reason these homes incense me so is because they sit there pulling down property values for us working poor when their bank-owners could do all sorts of creative things to keep them neat, trim, and occupied. (I am not a fan of U.S. banks)
- Empty lot with flowers: There is just one of these on my route and I was struck by its bareness in contrast to four very lonely bouquets spread across it evenly. There is a driveway which hints about the house that was once there. Stories filled my head immediately upon seeing this lot, and none of them were pretty. I spent weeks doing Google searches and combing through the results to discover what once went down there. I found it. It happened the previous February. A fire. The owners were not home. Cause: accidental. The four bouquets? I remain rattled wondering – pets? Someone knocked something over? Please no and I will indeed not – know.
- Homes owned by elderly: My town is host to many of these. Here the grass is mowed less frequently than the neighbors’. The shades and curtains are drawn tight. The car in the driveway is an older model Cutlass or Century. In short – the house has known better days but remains strong and stalwart.
- Homes with new owners: So many times I’ve gotten great comfort from select homes with beautifully, artful yard and pristine property. I dream of living in these until they are sold and the new folks move in. I cannot blame them but for the first year, two, or even three, there is a marked deterioration in everything as they get their finances under control. The upside – most will.
- Homes with new owners in over their heads: Everything above holds true except – most won’t!
- Rented homes: Ugh, ugh, ugh! In fairness, some renters do care and keep up their homes, but the vast majority, well, enter slumlord city. These are on the same scale as the bank-owned babes, albeit maybe half a centimeter higher.
And so with tongue in not-so-cheek, I ask you to lend your ears and your comments about house stories you have heard in your travels and travails.