Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

July 12, 2011

…Or Not To Be a Neighbor



     Missing Woman Found Dead In Her Foreclosed Home, the headline shouted.

     The woman, who was reported missing last August, was found dead in the passenger seat of the car in her garage in mid-July. Apparently, no one checking the house had checked the garage during the ensuing eleven months.

     During the eleven months the foreclosed home was sold at a sheriff’s sale. The new owner, looking around the property with a flashlight, found her body.

     “During most of my investigations, I find myself learning that most neighbors don’t know much about each other,” said homicide agent Marlon Buggs, who led the investigation. “Society has changed, and neighbors don’t communicate like they did in the past.

     “In this case, she was a solitary person who was unemployed, twice divorced, and did not have any close friends or children.”

     It’s sad that this woman was so alone, in actuality and figuratively, in life.

     It appears that some persons, especially those who are solitary and who live alone, are unaware of the importance of building relationships with their family, friends and neighbors. These relationships needn’t be intrusive. However, there should be at least three of them that are strong enough that a situation like this will not occur.

     There’s a television advertisement that speaks to this. A woman, who lives alone, falls in her kitchen. She lays helpless on the floor for eight hours before a friend discovers her. During this time she mourns for the loss her grandchildren will face.

     It appears she does have a limited support network. She was found after eight hours. In a normal day, that would have been eight hours without a human contact—a long period of time.

     My first job was in Columbus, Ohio. I’d accompanied a friend there, but she was in a nursing program. Essentially, I was on my own. After I found an apartment I made it my business to familiarize myself with a few neighbors, letting them know that I just wanted some people to know who I was. One said to me “I don’t normally socialize with the neighbors, but you are different.” We didn’t really socialize—but my nonintrusive manner allowed me the comfort that someone was watching over me, so to speak.

     I also familiarized myself with the residents of the other apartments in the older house I lived in. This turned out to be a bonus. Just before I’d been there a year there was a murder in the neighborhood. It was nerve-wracking to cross bloody footprints on my four-block walk to work.

     The apartment I lived in was on the first floor of the house. The back opened up into a dark alley, and a window could be easily broken into. I felt quite unsafe, shaken up, not knowing if the murder was a random act or an act taken out on someone the murderer knew.

     Fortunately, the girl on the third floor had plans to be away from her apartment for two weeks. She allowed me to sleep there, to spend the evenings there, where I felt much safer.

     The act of getting to know my neighbors proved valuable in this situation.

     No one should be an island to themselves. We need each other, if not for socialization, for protection.

     The woman whose bodily remains were discovered in her car eleven months after the fact was a solitary person who did not recognize the value of being known. That’s sad. To be in this world with no family, no friends, no relationships, is to miss the purpose of life. It is also a way to add vulnerability to life.

SOURCE  (Greensburg Tribune-Review, July 3, 2011, pp A7)



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