There Goes the Neighborhood
My house sits on the corner of a busy main avenue and a quiet little two block tree-lined street that looks like small town USA, except that I often find used condoms on my lawn in the morning. Quiet blocks in the city are a good place to park and do your business at night. Hey, at least folks are staying safe!
But I digress... The mini-street ends in a T on another little street that time and public works have forgotten. Countless times in the last 12 years, I have driven down the little street to the T and taken a right, down the hill, to get wherever I am going. On my way out.
Driving this route on a daily basis, it was impossible to miss the yellow house at the intersection. In particular, the large bay window on the second floor. Some kind of sitting room, or maybe the main bedroom in the house, the light in this room was often turned on, even late into the night. Hanging directly across from the window, was a huge picture of a child. I am talking billboard huge - like 5 x 3 feet or something like that. So big you could see the child's image from the street when you drove by, even if you weren't really looking, just taking a right. The child had dark hair and a blue shirt. Maybe a school uniform? Maybe a first communion outfit? The child had a big smile and looked out through the bay window right at you. Remember the man with the glasses in The Great Gatsby, watching out over the chaos that Daisy and her buddies let loose into the world? That's who this child was in our little corner of the world. Watching over us as people bought drugs and sex, walked their dogs, shoveled and slipped in the snow, raked, wandered, texted, turned right.
Now do you suppose I ever met the people who lived in that house? Of course not, this isn't Denmark. They lived a block from my home for years but I never knew their names or what they looked like. Still don't. All I knew was that they had this child. Or used to have this child. Who knows. It's unlikely the child stayed in elementary school forever, maybe s/he is in high school now, or college, or Indiana, or Afghanistan, or Home Depot, or on a cloud with a chorus of angels. Don't know, never met them.
Last week, heading for that right turn, I saw that most of the stuff belonging to residents of the yellow house was on the curb and the child's picture was gone. What does it mean when a whole load of stuff in on the street in front of a house? I like to think it's Spring Cleaning day or a move to Florida after a successful retirement. But I fear it's an eviction, an incarceration, a dashed hope.
When I am in charge, the bulk trash pick up will take things directly from the home and into the truck. When I am in charge, people's stuff will not be piled on the street for everyone to see and pick at, no matter how poor or dead or incarcerated they are. While the stuff on the curb could be the result of something good, it reeks of defeat, despair, and loss. And makes me sad.
But let's hope for the best. Let's hope that child in the picture is studying engineering at UConn and active in her sorority and her grandparents decided to move out of the yellow house at the T and rent a smaller condo along the river. And threw out their sofa and mattresses and bedside tables and bicycles because they didn't need them anymore and they were kind of broken so they couldn't give them away. Let's hope so.
P.S. A few days after this blog posted, the lights went back on and the child was there, staring down at us. All that stuff in front of the house must have been waste, or the renters, or who know. The right turn is restored -- all in well in the yellow house!