Thursday, September 22, 2011

Seeing Something Strange

Saw something strange today.

Not like I don't observe strange activities or occurrences or even interactions, but this one truly surprised me.

After the hurricane, the neighborhood was filled with more than the usual white trucks fixing roofs, making repairs on gutters, removing wood, patching streets, so it was not usual to see heavy equipment on my daily routes.

City employees spray yellow and blue marks on the pavement one day, then blocking off the street the next to dig holes and stand around in their hard hats and stare and discuss the hole they had just dug. It become a routine site in an old neighborhood, but this was something different.

On the way back from the grocery store I noticed a house in the middle of a block of similar houses that had all of it's aluminum siding missing. It had all been removed.

What surprised me was that the house didn't seem to be damaged by the storm and looked like every other house on the block. I had to assume it was getting new siding and thought no more about it.

The next day on my ride I passed the same house and noticed more white trucks in front of it with men scurrying back and forth. The front door was open and I could see the studs where there had been walls. A large dumpster on the lawn was being filled with plaster and other materials.

This a new owner (yes, the house had been for sale) gutting it to make over the antique wiring and plumbing from post-WWII construction. I smiled to see someone was making an investment in the neighborhood and moved on.

I could understand the problems with quickly constructed houses made after the war to accept the influx of GIs and new families. In the past year I have tried to sure up my own home of an similar age so I felt good that someone had purchased the home and decided to make it new again.

Today I rode by the same location and much to my surprise, the house was gone.

A huge mechanical machine had dug up the foundation to the dirt and only a dirt plot surrounded by a plastic fence remained.

What happened yesterday?

My first thought was the neighbor had bought the house and had it removed so the lawn could be enlarged for more grass cutting, but the construction sign out front suggested a new building was to take it's place.

How would it fit in the neighborhood? All these homes are very similar and though some are unique in their presentation, the repetitiveness of the rows give familiarity to the neighborhood.

The neighborhood behind me, well, the neighbor before the neighbor before the...., well you get the picture, bought a plot of yard from another neighbor, cut down a huge and beautiful tree and built a three-story house. The style did not match any of the surrounding buildings, but the yard was kept clean and the family didn't cause a fuss, so the diversity fit in.

Other houses have been dropped in between rows of established families trough the years, but this was the first time I had seen a house demolished.

So this fall and winter and next year, I will watch what will come of this now plot of land.

Like the fallen trees from the hurricane, many lost their homes, but I could welcome them into my little plot of ground for safety, warmth, water and food.

Other than that, I can only observe.

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