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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fencing in Words>


Not glamorous, but the view I have had for thirty years...

April is coming to an end, May is around the weekend, and I am herding words onto a blank page. Baby is asleep, dishes wait, with no remorse, in the sink, with crumbs of  breakfast clinging, while I contemplate the silence of my sanctuary.

I have lived in this home for thirty years, while my neighbor, Mrs. B has lived in her home for fifty years. Today, she is moving into a new home, at least new to her.  Did she see this day coming or was the advance one of  stealth?

As I type this, I am able to see her solid brink house built by her husband with Italian hands.  Mr. B has been gone, though she has often said, she still expects him to walk in for a few words to bicker over, probably ten years. He was erect, walked with tiny steps on tiny feet, used a ham radio, groomed his yard with a manicurist care.

I think they prescribed to my husband's Irish gran's school of neighbors, "High fences make good neighbors.", though there wasn't any fence, just honeysuckle bushes, routinely trimmed one a year , with much care and a string to maintain the equal height as he cut along the row. He had an engineer's precision, and a temperament that did not interfere with his goal.

Sometimes, he would offer sage advice to our children, "wear shoes, missed a stripe with the mower, or clip the peonies after they bloom." Which, of course, surprised them as normally he was the silent one. Mrs. B on the other had, was the talker. She had worked in the bank where the children had savings accounts.When we would make our sojourns into that staid, silent establishment, to deposit money, but really to receive a tootsie pop, they were always surprised to see Mrs. B and always caught off guard when she knew who they were, for they, in their hearts, believed they were invisible to her when at home playing in the back yard. Funny how that is.


Anyway, she is moving, which for some reason, I find also moving. She was probably the age I am now, when we moved into this house with only two children, one on the way, no knowledge of the fourth that was to come after the third. Mrs B's  mother lived with her then, a white haired woman, and because she spoke only Italian, I never was able to communicate with.

As long as I have lived here, I have never seen the shades on the east side of her house open, even today they are drawn, closing out the morning light. I have only ever been inside her house a handful of times, though she has been in my home many times. I do know she has two kitchens, which I had never heard of before meeting her. I was in awe of this piece of information as cleaning one seemed like enough work for me. Since then, I have come to know many people with more then one kitchen.

(in fact, there is a house for sale not far from me that we call 'three kitchen" and can barely constrain myself from going to the open house to see exactly how this is laid out as it is small three bedroom ranch, not a mansion, which would seem a more likely candidate to house three kitchens, don't you think?)

These last few years with out her husband have been very trying for her. I know this for a fact as she has set off her burglar alarm with abandon at all times of the day. The difficult part is, she is very, very hard of hearing, doesn't wear her hearing aids in the house, and cannot hear the alarm when is it gong off.  Alerting her to the fact it is going off, after one ascertains it is an error is even trickier.

Then, of course, her house was broken into while she was at the Italian Women's luncheon, and fear has now won the day.  Nor can I blame her.

We are connected by time, proximity, and sentences, and I will miss knowing she was there.  









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