Monday, February 4, 2008
Leaving a Life Behind
Prior to our marriage, my husband lived in a quaint white house with black shutters. The house was moved from one location to its current address and gently restored. Hours were spent on walls, floors, wallpaper. I have fond recollections of this sweet cottage. I took meals to the sweet man when he was ill. He cooked for me. He poured through Architectural Digest and made this small home as nice as he possibly was able. We married and moved the sweet man and all his "stuff" to what would become "our" home (the one I was already living in) as it was considerably larger. Fortunately, the house had no mortgage and we have rented to some very wonderful tenants for many years. One young couple stayed there through the birth of their first child and then purchased their own home. An elderly couple lived there while waiting to downsize from a larger home. Each took great care and added a personal touch in the way of flowers, bushes or paint. We appreciated the care they took of our property. The last few years we rented to a friend of a friend and things were okay for awhile. The couple split up. One stayed and moved her mother in with her. Fast forward to chasing down rent money, electricity being turned off, phone calls not returned. A home abandoned. Who leaves a life of stuff behind? Clothes, hobbies, pictures, furniture, you name it , it was left behind. Are they on the run, mentally ill, foul play or is this a result of substance or alcohol abuse? Sadly, I believe alcoholism is the culprit and everything else is a result of that terrible problem. As I walked through the damaged house that my husband once called home, I was terribly saddened. Many attempts were made to contact the tenants. Assurances were made that their belongings would be removed. Months later, everything was still there including two grown cats and four starving, dying kittens. Floors and carpet were burned and water damaged, and had to be ripped up and replaced, walls must be patched and painted, leaks repaired, garbage hauled off. One bedroom smelled of cat feces so badly one could not breathe in there. Houses have memories, I believe, will this house remember the happy times or will it remember the abuse and neglect? Will someone new come along and make it a home again?