The house and community I lived in for my entire childhood holds more memories than I can even remember. Our home on Dawdy Drive was part of a neighborhood that prided itself on kind people and even better barbecues. The Arnold, Marolf and Boswell families held a friendship and camaraderie for over 20 years that no one else on the block could possibly comprehend. Just a few years back, my parents left that neighborhood for their dream house a few miles away. Then last year, the Marolf's followed suit and moved into their new home, too. The Boswell's remain the only family of our trifecta that is left on Dawdy. And last year, they got some bad news.
Jan Boswell (or my second mother as I grew up) was diagnosed with Leukemia 8 months ago. She has been battling ever since, and the Arnold's and Marolf's have been there every step of the way to offer support. It's been a very rough journey and it still isn't over. Then, a few days ago, I had an epiphany. To boost Jan's spirits and honor our family friendship, I wanted to make a photo memory book of all the good times we had on the block.
Last night my mom I went to the Marolf's new abode and sorted through hundreds of pictures in a search for snapshots of 4th of July parades, neighborhood Easter Egg hunts, trips on the school bus and camping extravaganza's. We ended up with more than enough shots, but still didn't have pictures of the three houses we all used to reside in. No problem. I had a camera phone.
This morning I headed over to the neighborhood armed with my camera phone and a sunny disposition. As I eased onto the street, I noticed the Dawdy street sign I once hit with my car.
(That's a great story I'll share another day.)
I had to get a picture.
I pulled to the edge of the road and exited the car to get a bit closer. As I was snapping the picture, a gentlemen on a motorcycle passed very slowly by. I waved politely all neighborly and continued snapping. He got about 20 yards from me and came to a complete halt, checking me out over his shoulder. At that time, another vehicle approached his bike and stopped as well. The two people inaudibly chatted and watched me intently. Feeling uncomfortable, I determined my presence wasn't welcome. I hopped back in the car and decided to come back in a few minutes for the house pictures.
Not thirty seconds later, the car showed up in my rear view mirror. It was so close to my fender, I knew the driver had to be taking down my license plate. Fabulous.
I reached an intersection, and the car pulled beside me. I could hear the screaming before my window was even down.
I'll spare you the details of what I heard in the next few minutes, but it involves more profanity than Quentin Terrantino would be comfortable with. The driver demanded to know what I was doing taking pictures of her effing neighbors' homes. She was a member of the neighborhood watch (how terribly unfortunate for the neighborhood) and had my license plate number. She was just seconds away from calling the police to report my effing. trespassing.
My normal response would be to lose my temper and fight back with even louder profanities. But I could understand her concern. A strange person taking pictures of your street is a bit odd. And let's not forget, I am quite the sinister individual.
I took a deep breath and calmly tried to explain that I once lived on the street.
(She didn't effing care.)
I was trying to make a tribute album for the Boswell family who still reside on this street.
(She effing didn't effing care.)
Jan Boswell has cancer.
(She REALLY didn't effing care.)
I was simply trying to do something nice.
(Effing effing effity eff eff effing leave the neighborhood effing now.)
During her final string of profanities, I think the woman began to realize who i was. I caught a glimmer of recognition (or maybe it was constipation) cross her face, but she ignored it. She was in too deep now.
With a final huff, the driver pulled a U-turn and was gone in a classy cloud of exhaust, her tailpipe hanging on for dear life.
Afterword, I sat in my car for a good five minutes trying to wrap my brain around what had just happened. Ten years ago, if my mom had seen a 27 -year old girl in 3" designer heels snapping a few pictures on our street, would she have verbally attacked her and called the police? Or would she have simply inquired about the purpose of the pictures and then asked where to get her amazing shoes? I certainly hope the answer would be the latter.
All in all, I'm really quite distraught that my old neighborhood has people like this residing in it. The woman obviously knew the Boswell's and clearly didn't care about Jan's cancer, either. Are these the kind of people who have taken over Dawdy Drive? It pains me to think it and I can only hope that this woman is not the person residing in my childhood home.
The biggest problem is, I still have to go back for pictures of the three houses. I'm seriously tempted to dress in all black and a ski mask. Then I can explain to the man-lady that this is the kind of person you call the police on.
The illegally snapped photo.