Last night I was entertaining Andrea with stories about the neighborhood EH (ex-husband) and I used to live in.
Back when we were both graduate students, we rented a house that was pretty nice and in a fairly decent neighborhood. One block further east it got a little dicey. Then another block east after that one and it was getting into really scary stuff.
But back to our block in our not-so-scary neighborhood. It was a large Spanish-style house with the tile roof. The house to our left was brick and so large that it was pretty close to being considered a mansion. That was where Crazy Freddy lived. Of course we didn’t know that he was crazy until he came over for a visit.
I remember one evening standing in the back yard pruning the roses growing on the fence. The fence was close to Freddy’s driveway and he came over to introduce himself. He was probably in his fifties at the time but since I was so young it seemed like he was pretty old. He seemed all right at first but it wasn’t long before he was telling me about his upcoming trip on the Concord. It was still flying back then so I was buying the story because clearly the guy had some money. Then he mentioned that the purpose of his trip was to go to London and meet the queen. I decided to quit my pruning early because I could not wait to get in the house and tell EH. I had already made a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder but really, going to meet the queen? I still can’t believe that I didn’t laugh.
Freddy kept to himself for the most part and we didn’t see much of him. Then one day after getting out of the shower EH mentioned seeing Freddy
EH- “Well, you missed it.”
Me- “Missed what?”
EH- “Freddy just walked across the street, picked up seed pods and threw them up in the air.”
Me- “What’s so interesting about that?”
EH- “Well, he was completely naked at the time. Then the ambulance came to get him.”
I was sorry to have missed that.
Freddy was gone for a while but eventually returned. A few months later, as expected, Freddy went nuts again. He went crazy in the house he shared with his mother, breaking things, etc. He ended up in our driveway at some point and was arrested, naked again. I missed the whole thing but the nanny filled me in when I got home. Veronique was French and when she got excited she would speak rapidly in a mixture of French and English. She was pretty excited that day and all I caught at first was ‘Freddy’ and ‘naked’. I had to ask her to slow down and repeat things before I had any clue what she was saying. Then she said something about fish since Freddy’s son came over and gave her the fish that were rescued from their shattered tank. We had no choice but to take in the now homeless fish. Freddy was arrested because he had tried to strangle his mother that he shared the house with. I didn’t even know that she had lived there. I don’t remember seeing Freddy after that. Maybe ho went to see the queen after all.
The neighbor on the other side, Susan, lived in a big two-story house and seemed normal. She was in her thirties and a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. She seemed nice and we would chat when I was out watering the tomatoes. Then as the season changed from summer to fall, I noticed that there was something a little unusual about Susan.
I remember being in the back sun porch room facing her house one night and seeing her walking around topless with all of her lights on and blinds open. I called EH, saying, “You’re not going to believe this. We’ve got another naked neighbor.” She was rather buxom and evidently proud of her hooters.
The nudity continued on a fairly regular basis and I continued alerting EH when she was naked. It wasn’t much later that her teenaged nephew and his girlfriend moved in with Susan. She stopped walking around naked and her nephew’s girlfriend started babysitting for the boys on occasion. She was a nice girl and started sharing information on just how nutty Susan was. There was a lot of drinking and crying. One of the other things she shared is that Susan talked about EH and how she thought he was hot. I had no clue that she was putting on a show intended for him. The ironic things is that the only reason he even saw anything is because I would yell for him to come look, just thinking it was funny.
Before we moved out of that house there was a man carjacked and killed just one block over. We also got a new mailman because ours went nuts and hit his mother over the head with a VCR, killing her. Shortly thereafter, the landlord put up our house for sale and we were forced to move. This time is was to an even better house in a better neighborhood with a couple more crazy neighbors. Part two next time. Or maybe I should call it Colleen and that old goat Walter.