Friday, April 18, 2008

Flashback Friday No. 6 - September 2002

Warning: While entirely true, this story is NOT for the faint-of-heart.

In July of 2000, the hubster & I bought our house. He was not yet the hubster at the time, but how we got from last week's story to this one will come at another time.

When we first moved in, our neighbors to the immediate south of us were an elderly man and his 60-something-year-old daughter. He was a cantankerous one to say the least. A tree in his yard was hanging precariously onto power lines over our driveway. The power company insisted we get his approval to trim the tree before they'd send someone out to do the work. (How the hell does THAT work?) Three weeks worth of phone calls and door knocks going unanswered and we simply told the power company that he'd said it was OK. They trimmed the tree, life resumed as normal and it was never mentioned to anyone that we'd never actually talked to the man. I mean, how would they know? And he never said anything to us, just shot us unhappy glances when we saw him outside. But he did that anyway, maybe now they were just fuelled with a little more hate. Oh well.

He also burned garbage in his furnace. Bits and pieces of CRAP would float out of his chimney and litter our yard, our cars, our...anything. And the smell? GROSS. I guess it was an old school thing to do.

Two years of dour glances later and it was September of 2002. I was in between jobs and happy to be starting at an exciting job downtown with a big company the following week.
The hubster and I were planning our wedding. I had taken on a second job as a PartyLite demonstrator to pay for the expenses. We did what single adult couples do - went out with friends on the weekends and sat up at night playing cards or watching TV with the windows open to enjoy the warm evening breezes.

One night, hubster was working and it was particularly warm. The nicest breeze was coming in the dining room and kitchen windows. All would have been lovely except this...SMELL. We'd had a few critters in the neighborhood that had been killing birds and other small animals, so I figured the source of the smell was probably a squirrel or a bird in the hostas outside the window. I figured that was outside my domain as a girl - hubster could find it and deal with it when he got home. I closed the windows and turned on the AC.

The next day he did a thorough search of the hostas, as well as the bushes in front of our house and the neighbors' and no small critters. But he did notice something else.

"Uh, hon...the neighbor's window is open. There are flies all over the inside of the screen. I think the old guy might be dead."

My eyes went wide. "REALLY?" Oh. My. God.


"So what do we do?!?" I was wringing my hands in that uber-annoying girlie way.

"Call the cops, I guess," he said, shrugging.

So we did. He said, "Uh, we think our neighbor is dead." After explaining a bit of the back story and why we believed he was dead, they told him they'd send someone over to check. They'd want to talk to us when they arrived. Great.

We went outside the front of the house to wait. Then I thought of something.

"Oh my God - what if he's NOT dead and we're the assholes who called the cops?" He laughed, but we hid on the front steps, ducked down between the bushes anyway.

Well, the police confirmed what we had thought. He had been dead for some time. Neighbors gathered from up and down the entire block. We heard stories from the old timers about the old man.

The Romanowiches immigrated from eastern Europe just after the turn of the century to work in the factories near our home. They built our house in 1913 and had two daughters. When the first was grown and married, they split the house into a duplex and the daughter and her husband moved upstairs.

When the second was married, they built the house next door. The old man was the younger daughter's husband.

The house history gets weirder than that...daughter #2 had passed away several years before. The 60-year-old woman living with this old man was their daughter. She had mental problems and never left home.

When the police went in to check on the old man, his daughter was still there. Alive. She told the cops that "Dad went to sleep and I couldn't wake him up." They figure he'd been dead for close to three weeks, and she lived there, with his body, that entire time. (Are your eyes bugging out of your head yet?) Sometime during those three weeks she opened the window, or it might have been even longer before either of them was found.

Got the creeps? Yeah, I lived NEXT DOOR TO THAT. I hated being at home alone for quite awhile after that.


The Apron Queen said...


Left my link. It's an older post, but definitely fits your Flashback Friday!

THopgood said...

Oh, that's beyond creepy...that's just...just....EWWWWWWWW! Major case of the willy shivers over here!

THopgood said...

Hey Colleen, can you tell me how you went about getting the button (or whatever it's called) for your flashback Fridays? Or point me in the direction of a resource on the internet...I'm clueless. Thanks!

We are THAT Family said...

Yeah, that is scary. Gives me shiver!

morninglight mama said...

Wow, how awful. I think that's every parent-of-a-special-needs-child's nightmare! Sad!