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A Woman's Journal


Fly Away Home

By Maggie Turner

November 14, 1999

Fly Away Home

street garbage7:40 a.m. We live on a dead end street. It is pretty here; there are lots of trees and a ravine behind the houses on one side of the street. There are fifteen houses in The Neighborhood, built at various times over the last 60 years. The houses are small and in good repair with well tended yards. Most of the inhabitants of the neighborhood know each other. Raking leaves in the tiny front yard can turn into a long conversation with one or several of the neighbors.

It seems that there is always a "fly in the ointment". In The Neighborhood it is the rental home across the street from our house. The people who own the house lived there at one time, inherited a lot of money and moved to a big house in the country. When they moved out of The Neighborhood they locked the door behind them and didn't look back.


The first winter the rental home stood vacant, the water pipes burst and there was extensive damage. One of the exterior walls took on an interesting bulge. After that the house sat empty for years, gaping windows black in the night.

A few years ago the same owners of the house spent a few weeks "renovating", it needed much more than a few weeks could accomplish. The following month the house became the rental home in The Neighborhood. There was a steady stream of tenants using the rental home as a temporary dwelling on their way to somewhere else.

The same family has occupied the rental home for the last several years. This family is typical, a man, a woman, a girl child and a boy child. I remember smiling at the woman sitting on her front step just after they moved in. She stared right through me, giving no acknowledgment of my existence.

Soon there was a steady stream of people "in and out" during the night. Signs for yard sales appeared at the end of the street and most weekends the small dead end street was congested with the cars of their customers. At the end of the weekend piles of garbage from the sale would be left beside the street to wait for garbage pick up, sometimes a week later. Daily household garbage was discarded loose in the plastic garbage can kept at the roadside beside the sale litter. The local wildlife took notice. Pieces of their garbage blew up and down the street. Piles of litter appeared along the side of their house, blocking the driveway and necessitating that the "in and out" visitors find parking in front of our house.

The tenants of the rental home are moving. Although I am very glad, I am also afraid. The rental home is in worse repair than it was several years ago. What will the next tenants be like? I may come to remember the present tenants and their garbage with fondness.


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