Old-Post Resurrection Hop: The Unknown Neighbor

I’m REposting this old post, one written a good year ago, as part of  Old-Post Resurrection Hop:
Ever hear of a Gladiron? I hadn’t either until I stumbled (literally, it was quite dark) on one, in the attic at an estate sale. I didn’t get to see the actually machine, as it was in its 1950’s box, but saw a drawing of it on the cover, with a ecstatic housewife in a perky apron, ironing away.
There was also a baby carriage from around the same time, with those large thin metal spoke wheels, and an old highchair. There was the white Christmas tree that for the past ten years, I’d seen lit up in their front window – this house was actually a neighbor’s. They were gone now. But in ten years, not only had I never met them, I’d never even actually seen them, except for a shadowy figure in a window which I now knew, from having rummaged through some old glassware laid out on the counters, was over the kitchen sink.
I don’t usually stand in those lines for estate sales, but since this one was on my street, I couldn’t resist. There was a plastic flower wreathe still on the front door, and a bent old  Welcome sign creaking in a breeze, as we all waited for the next  batch of eager scavengers to be allowed entrance; it was still early, but a couple of vans had already loaded up the big finds, a dining room table, velvet apholstered chairs.
I didn’t know that once inside, how much I would feel just like that, a vulture scavenging old bones.  Rummaging through old clothes, books, costume jewelry and faded china, I was getting to know this family better now that they were gone, than in the ten years we’d lived there. I’d driven by their house countless times. I’d seen an old Lincoln in the driveway. And that shadowy figure in the kitchen window. Other than that, the only sign of life had been a new geranium hanging on the porch every summer. From the walkers, canes and wheelchairs in the basement, I imagined they’d long since become housebound.
I liked to think that they’d been an older couple who had sold the house to retire somewhere warm, Florida, or to be nearer their children.  But they seemed to have taken nothing with them; except for the big grandfather clock in a corner, everything they’d ever own seemed to be for sale. I gathered now that they had died. I just hoped there was at least one child somewhere, who was interested in preserving something of this family’s past.  Before this house will probably be gutted, the old carpeting and paneling ripped out.
I considered a couple of old Christmas ornaments, and a cracked cedar chest. I didn’t have the heart to buy a thing, and left the tag sale empty-handed. Left to wonder again, as I did this winter after the elderly lady living right next door to us died, how little we know about our neighbors. At least about this last generation, the one who’d been around long enough to remember Gladirons. But is now gradually, quietly, being phased out, to make room for us, the newer preoccupied generation, the one that  seems rarely to be home, in the full sense of actually getting to know the housebound elderly couple down the street. Before it comes to that, rummaging through their past long after they are gone.


About Sandra

Author;editor of The Woven Tale Press at thewoventalepress.net; mother; weaver
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19 Responses to Old-Post Resurrection Hop: The Unknown Neighbor

  1. You’ve struck a chord again! After my uncle died (he who loved nice clothes for some strange reason and had accumulated possibly 25 winter coats over the years, to say nothing of maybe 25 expensive hats of all styles), I had two or three garage sales. Then after my mother died, I must have had half a dozen sales over a span of two and a half years. So I know all about that. Maybe I could do my next nostalgia post on funny and not so funny things that happen at garage sales!
    And as for knowing your neighbors, I know two of mine but not much past the point of talking briefly over the back fence or waving hello. The others I don’t know at all. I’ve become better friends with some of the people I’ve met on social media over the last year than I am with any of my neighbors. Strange, isn’t it?

    • Sandra says:

      So true — I still don’t know all our neighbors after 13 years now. There has been some turn over, but there are kids and and kids just don’t get on their bikes anymore. My boys never play with any of them! When I was a kid, I was always jumping on my bike. But that’s when people were actually home.

      • I’ve lived in this house since 1987 and some of the people whom I did get to know in the beginning have now moved away or died. My house is a corner house and the main street is really busy, so while I sometimes have a conversation with the people who live across from me, all the traffic makes it difficult to meet regularly. And the people who live across the side street moved in about 15 years ago and promptly had a baby who is now a teenager. And I’ve never spoken to them once! The woman works at night, I do know that, and it’s like we move in different worlds!

  2. I live in this more established neighborhood where two of our neighbors had passed away and yes, sadly I didn’t know them well. In fact, I don’t know most of our neighbors –too busy.

  3. I know most of my neighbors on my funky little semi-rural street, if you can say that so close to town (Laguna Beach). I love it. I never had that in my homeland Zambia in a tiny mining town. Sad really.

  4. I tried to attach an old post for this hop like you asked but I don’t know if I did it right, Sandra. It should take you to an old post called, “I Need A What?” let me know!

    • Sandra says:

      So glad you tried to hook up but I don’t think it did work. Can you REpost it as a new post? That’s the best way to get fresh exposure. Then copy that URL and enter it.
      Also copy the blog code and paste that in the HTML section beneath your post so others can link up. does that make sense?

      • I’m embarrassed to say that no, I don’t understand hoe to do that. I figured how to join regular blog hops now, but I still can’t figure out how to copy and paste. I need my son to do it with me–if he’s not in a grouchy mood. He does all the pics on my blog site and all the other fancy-shmancy stuff! I don’t have a clue! Trying to learn but I’m very slow with this stuff. The only thing that’s easy is Facebook!! Oh well…I’ll just have to keep trying….sorry about that!

        • Here’s how to copy and paste. You’ve surely noticed how when you left-click on the mouse and hold it down and then drag the cursor across some text, it hightlights it in blue. That’s what you call selecting. Do that on purpose to the text you want to copy, then point the cursor at the blue line and right click. You get a little menu with the word “copy” in it. Left click on copy.
          Go to Sandra’s Resurrection Hop page and click on “click here to enter.” Type in the title of your blog post, then go to your own blog and point the mouse at the title. The little hand will appear. Right click on that and left click “Copy shortcut.” Go back to Sandra’s Linky Tools page, place your cursor in the box that says “Link” and left click. The URL should appear. Enter Email and name then click on Enter Your Link.
          Then go back to the Resurrection Hop page and
          click on “Get the Code Here.” Select that string of code that’s in the box by turning it blue as I explained above. Then go to your own blog (you have Blogger just like I do so this should work) and click on the “Edit” pencil at the bottom of the post. At the upper left corner of the the Edit box, you’ll see tabs with Compose and HTML. Left click on HTML, which turns the text into code. Scroll to the bottom. Left click on the next blank line and hit “Paste.” Your copied code should appear there. Return to the top of the post and click again on “Compose.” This will return you to regular English. Then simply click the “Update” button and you’ll be all entered in the Hop.
          I sympathize because I remember how when I first got my computer 13 years ago, it would say “Select text and blah-blah … ” and I would think “Select? What does that mean? I don’t know how to do that!” But you’d be surprised – a little experience and it gets to be second nature! (Hope I haven’t mixed up my right and left clicks above. Basically, left clicking is to perform an action and right clicking is to get a menu.

        • Sandra says:

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          Submitted on 2012/09/11 at 12:51 pm | In reply to Menopausalmother.
          Here’s how to copy and paste. You’ve surely noticed how when you left-click on the mouse and hold it down and then drag the cursor across some text, it hightlights it in blue. That’s what you call selecting. Do that on purpose to the text you want to copy, then point the cursor at the blue line and right click. You get a little menu with the word “copy” in it. Left click on copy.
          Go to Sandra’s Resurrection Hop page and click on “click here to enter.” Type in the title of your blog post, then go to your own blog and point the mouse at the title. The little hand will appear. Right click on that and left click “Copy shortcut.” Go back to Sandra’s Linky Tools page, place your cursor in the box that says “Link” and left click. The URL should appear. Enter Email and name then click on Enter Your Link.
          Then go back to the Resurrection Hop page and
          click on “Get the Code Here.” Select that string of code that’s in the box by turning it blue as I explained above. Then go to your own blog (you have Blogger just like I do so this should work) and click on the “Edit” pencil at the bottom of the post. At the upper left corner of the the Edit box, you’ll see tabs with Compose and HTML. Left click on HTML, which turns the text into code. Scroll to the bottom. Left click on the next blank line and hit “Paste.” Your copied code should appear there. Return to the top of the post and click again on “Compose.” This will return you to regular English. Then simply click the “Update” button and you’ll be all entered in the Hop.
          I sympathize because I remember how when I first got my computer 13 years ago, it would say “Select text and blah-blah … ” and I would think “Select? What does that mean? I don’t know how to do that!” But you’d be surprised – a little experience and it gets to be second nature! (Hope I haven’t mixed up my right and left clicks above. Basically, left clicking is to perform an action and right clicking is to get a menu.

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  5. Dawn Storey says:

    I didn’t know that once inside, how much I would feel just like that, a vulture scavenging old bones.

    Interesting! I’m not sure I could have purchased anything, either.

  6. Cheri says:

    I was just commenting to my husband the other day that I wished we lived in a neighborhood where people knew each other, visited in the yards, had block parties. Instead, we’re in an edition where people come to sort of get away from all of that–yards of a couple of acres or more separate everyone from each other, homes are mostly set well back from the roads. I barely know the people right across the street from me well enough to wave if I see them in their yard; I wouldn’t know them if I passed them in a supermarket. I think it’s sort of sad.

    On the other hand, my sister does kind of know her neighbors, and doesn’t really like them all that much, so maybe we’ve got the better end of the deal after all.

    • Sandra says:

      Such a different world, Cheri, from when I was growing up and we all rode our bikes and dropped by neighbor houses. No one seems to be home anymore. Except me! :)

  7. Fantastic post, I really look forward to updates from you.

  8. Brenda says:

    I live in an old neighborhood, which is combo of new and very old houses ( I am in an old one). I only say this because our yards are not cookie cutter, I have a tiny house on 3/4 of acre, but my neighbor has bigger house on almost a post stamp sized lot. I don’t them other than to wave or smile. I don’t know how i’d feel picking through a person’s life. On the other hand, oh the tales to find in those boxes of letters and knick- knacks.

    • Sandra says:

      I’ve been to other estate sales, just not of a neighbor. that’s what struck me. Though once I went to one where the owner, a tiny very elderly lady actually was there. I don’t know how she could stand it. People going through her stuff. Her life.

  9. Brenda says:

    I don’t live in that sort of block. It’s an older part of town where we have a house, and it’s a mix of older families and new, but the street isn’t one for block parties. Sometimes (rarely) I wish I lived in a modern complex for that social aspect, but them I remember I am a loner and really loved my home and life – well, except for not finding an agent, YET. :-)

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