This is our house.
The one on the right was Dolly's.
The one on the left used to belong to Bill & his dad.
It has been resold & remodeled.
Dolly & her family were good neighbors. Her kids used to babysit my kids. We visited each other so often that to avoid going down our steps to the sidewalk & then up her driveway we put some concrete stepping stones so we could walk straight across at our porch level. It was there that we ran when our house caught fire. (To read about our house fire, click here.)
Now let me tell you about a couple of other neighbors, Bill & his dad. Not to say they didn't take care of their property, but their grass grew so high that when Bill did cut it, he used a scythe. Literally!! More than once I had someone ask me if the "vacant" house next door was for sale.
We wanted to redo our front porch & yard & we were required to get a variance from the city because the yard (& a very low brick retaining wall) would reach the sidewalk directly. The neighbors on both sides had to sign an affidavit saying that they didn't object. Dolly signed; no problem. Bill said he would sign if we were sure it wouldn't be an eyesore. I thought, "Yeah, Bill, we're planning on spending a few thousand dollars on what we hope will be an eyesore & look as bad as your house!!" I kept my cool & assured him that it would be lovely & after about half an hour, he signed.
Bill had some minor mental problems & could not hold a job. He once came over & asked us to borrow some money. He said he was asking us because we were his best friends, He was serious about that & we didn't even like him. One time I was at the local drugstore & Bill came up to me & said hello. A salesgirl immediately came over & said the article I had ordered had come in & to follow her. Strange, because I had nothing on order. The salesgirl told me she was trying to save me from Bill, who had caused several previous commotions in the store.
The only time Bill ever really scared me was one evening about 2 am, while I was ironing. I liked to stay up late when the kids were asleep & the house was quiet. I had let the dog out in the backyard to do his business. All of a sudden I heard frantic barking. I ran to let Pepe back in & I heard Bill threatening him. He said, "I've got a gun & I'm going to shoot you, you son of a bitch!!" (At least he was accurate, my male dog was a son of a bitch!!) I called the police & after checking Bill, they said he was just drunk & didn't have a gun.
Their house had been owned by Bill's mother, who when she died left it in a life estate for his father. When their father died, Bill's sister insisted they sell the house. We bought it as an investment & discovered the inside was worse than the front lawn. It smelled from several indoor cats that they had over the years & they both smoked so much that their previously white walls were stained yellow with nicotine. We had to air it out for a week or so before the workers could even go in. Dolly was trying to make Bill feel better about moving & she told him, "Now you'll be able to travel." He replied, "Yeah, I've been wanting to go to Santa Monica." (Santa Monica is 2½ miles from our house.) We sold it very quickly for the full asking price.