Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foreclosure in my Backyard

2nd in the series of the perfect storm (foreclosures) surrounding my urban homestead.

Foreclosure due to death/fraud - 
One of the memories my children have of when we first moved to our urban homestead is of the secrete whole in the fence which allowed them to cut through the neighbor's yard behind us (actually off to the right) down her driveway & on to the street. From there they would walk the city sidewalk to the corner, hang a right walk a dozen or so yards to a major intersection where a school crossing guard would greet them.   
They could accomplish the same route with a few more steps but it lacked the same ambiance as wiggling their bodies between an old chain link fence post and an even older garage. 

Have to admit that squeezing through the opening mindful of the roses & bramble was endearing. Only once on my way to shoot the breeze on her front porch did I get hung up. And yes, I could have easily just walked around the corner, past the garage to her house. 

The wonderful woman who lived in the house behinds (& off to the right) moved away a year later. Her husband received a promotion & relocation with in the prison system to an area where she had family. Children missed the invites over for cookie baking. I missed the pleasant conversations.
Secretly I hoped she wouldn't be able to sell this house with it's unique placement of the only bathroom years after it's completion. Owner builds, thick. strong and sound often don't have the best lay outs. You can always tell when a husband didn't heed his wife's constructive criticism.  

# 9 sold to an elderly couple from the sun shine state with a phoo-phoo dog in tow. He was in his late eighties the epitome of the word spry. More than once he would call over to me from his spot on the roof over the laundry room converted from a back porch that once held firewood and an ice box. 
You can't do that I would plead. I'm a nurse so if you fall I'd have to come help. I'm busy hanging laundry ... Maybe I need a naughty nurse he would yell back. 
This is why your wife dislikes me I always answered. 
An old sailor who had more children then even he knew about. Those that visited asked for funds but instead got a trail of international curse words throw @ them.  Those were the times that I hung laundry on my own without the help of little fingers handing me cloths pins.

Interesting the topics that are heard over backyard fences huh?  

In the Spring he planted a Cheery tree dead center of his little yard.  The sailor paid my 8 year old son a dollar to dig the whole good & deep. After finding broken china, a bit of a beer bottle, and clay title he would have done the job for free. For the next week it was all I could do to keep him from digging up our yard. 

"Aren't you concerned about that Cherry not getting enough sun? " I asked as I looked directly up into my next door neighbor's massive Maple tree that resembles a head of broccoli. That tree straddles four yards and two roofs. 

"Sweetheart, it don't matter", traces of Bronx accent @ the end of every sentence. 
"It's not like I'll live to see a harvest".

After the funeral the wife with her itty -bitty barking dog that mandated a gate made out of scraps to close the hole in the fence, felt a Cadillac would ease the pain of her sailor's departure. Bought with the proceeds of a reverse mortgage. Now with a new ride she was rarely home.
The Cherry tree just a year after it's planting despite the shade & lack of care gave enough to make a small pie. The neighborhood cats are in charge of the security detail

One day the widow just didn't come home. 

A year no two went by ... the Cherry tree thrived. 
The code man came & went. 
By now I was thankful that the Blackberry Bramble had overtaken the hole providing cover for my homesteading activities. In Winter he stands by his car never brave enough to trudge to the back of the lot. 

Then hollow pounding  of a process server every once in a while would ring out between the garage & our shed. Occasionally I'd hear a Hello ... Hello?  
I'd yell back a hello spoken like Julia Child. 

Eventually one spilled the beans to the neighbor on the right of the retro green painted house. The reverse mortgage company finally realized that the Grandma who reminded us all of Tweedy Bird's owner, had duped them. They didn't due their due diligence like so many in the mortgage housing scandal.
It was wrong of us to be proud of Con-artist Granny, but we were. 

No, we didn't know where she was but she enjoys her Bingo, check the halls start first with the Catholics then move on the the Elks. If she's not there check the Falls.
Yes, her husband is @ Forrest Lawn we attended the wake. 
No I doubt any of his children know her whereabouts. 

I could drop a dime if you want, have a card? 

~~ pelenaka ~~

P.S. - unlike the mortgage company that may or may not have acquired the house across the street from us, this one is good about property maintenance. Which is why when the crew shows up we always remind them about Pepe LaPew
The house is now on the market for a third of it's assessed value needing a new main roof (previous owner replaced roof over the converted porch).