Wednesday, September 16, 2009

beware of neighbor


just so there’s NO English and Spanish

I mentioned in a previous post that my neighbor was dying.  Tom, the youngest of 3, moved in with his parents to help his mother when his elderly father was on the down side and later, his mom when she broke her hip.  She’s very old now and has a day caregiver besides her son who had health problems of his own which he did die of.  He passed away in early August.  

His mom lives across the street and down one.  She and her husband were there before we moved in 30 some odd years ago.  When we moved in, she was raising her two grandchildren because her daughter had a multitude of reasons why she couldn’t do it but joblessness, homelessness or drug use was not on the list.  Her daughter, Big Mary (because Big Mary’s daughter is also named Mary), would come to visit her children but left the raising and day to day stuff to her mom.    

Big Mary is a PE teacher in the Houston school district.  She’s a fire plug of a woman, maybe a third taller than she is wide.  And scary.  Strikes fear into the hearts of all those hapless students, I’m sure.  Now that Tom has passed away, Mary has moved in to look after her mother in the evenings.  Her older brother who has been as scarce as hen’s teeth all these years has also started showing up now and then to spell Mary.  They can’t wait to get their hands on that property.  Tom kept them at bay but now that he is gone, they are over there hauling stuff off like the old lady is already dead.  In fact they would have already sold the house out from under her but they can’t find the deed.  It’s stashed away in a secret hiding place that their father built because he didn’t trust them.  And for good reason.  The last time the EMTs took Mrs. Lusher to the hospital, Big Mary and her brother were over there looking for the hidey hole and the deed.  They couldn’t find it.  Tom knew where it was and her grandson knows, but he ain’t telling.

Sometime during our trip to Denver over Labor Day weekend, Big Mary went off the deep end.  Big Mary totes a gun and has always been on the paranoid side, is distrustful of blacks and mexicans (I thought that was more polite than using the ‘R’ word).  When we got back, she had cut to the ground all the shrubbery in front of the house, including two beautiful heritage rose bushes which her mother loved, because it cleared up the front of the house, no place for lurkers to hide.  She also put up 7 signs, in English and Spanish that warn people off...beware of dog, no trespassing, looters will be shot.  I notice that the big ‘no trespassing’ sign on the front door is gone now though.  Not only that, she has put a spotlight on the front of the house, as if the street light across the street and the one 50’ to the left and the one 50’ to the right didn’t make it bright enough at night.  Her dog, by the way, is a small miniature terrier of some kind.  Not exactly fearsome.  I’d be more afraid of Big Mary.  Maybe the signs should say ‘Beware Of Me’.

it’s much brighter than it shows in the picture

Twenty years or so ago, this might have been a real concern.  Twenty or so years ago we actually had a guy with a watchtower around the corner who sat up all night with his gun keeping his eye on the goings on, but this neighborhood has been undergoing gentrification for the last 10 years and most the minorities have been edged out along with the drug dealers and other undesirables and Jeffery moved on to another neighborhood that needed him more than ours.  I guess Big Mary thinks that the parade of white yuppies and dinks walking their dogs up and down the street on their way to the park every morning and evening are going to mug her in her sleep and steal whatever valuables she thinks her mother has.  I find this rather ironic since Big Mary and her big brother are the only ones making off with the goods.

In fact, we’d all think this was really funny if she wasn’t so damn scary.


  1. Mary is haunted and it didn't start recently. According to Chinese medicine, a person like this is actually possessed. They have an acupuncture treatment created specifically just to exorcise the demons.


    What a story.

    Surrounding you and yours with clean, pure light. xx

  2. Wow ..

    There's a reason I live down a long driveway .. in the woods.

    No real neighbors ...

    I don't think signs were needed. People would stay away anyway ...

    (and why do kids ... grown ones .. think that their parents 'owe' them anything ? I didn't .. )

  3. Wow.. that is scary. Keep your own doors locked, eh?

  4. I don't suppose you'd want to try the acupuncture on her Ellen? Probably not. I would definitely be afraid of getting on her bad side. I'm glad her mother raised her children!

  5. I think the title and the label you used are great descriptors. Mary needs to see a mental specialist. Did you say she is a P.E. teacher? God save those children!

  6. Sad. Silly. Stupid. Don't you dare let her catch you and camera in hand. You might go on the 'lurker' list.

  7. Sad. I hope your other neighbous are nice.

  8. Sounds like a severe case of paranoia to me. I know someone just like this. Scary is right!

  9. Paranoid people with guns can do stupid things. Be careful.

  10. I don't really think that Mary is dangerous, I've known her for 30 years (but, Verily, I was a little nervous taking the pictures). Mostly I wonder what goes on in her head that she surrounds herself with so much fear and seems to find it necessary to put up an abundance of 'go away' signs. It's not like there is a constant stream of strangers knocking on the door. It's also a shame because Mrs. Lusher loves the neighborhood kids and they will go over and talk to her when she is sitting on the porch. I don't know about the other parents but my daughter is reluctant to let her kids do that now.

  11. hello ellen, i believe that people like mary think enough about the negativity of their lives to bring other events into being. manifesting in a nasty way. send good thoughts her way to find her way out of this awful difficulty she's in. for you i send a wish for safety and charity. have a peaceful evening. steven

  12. Thank you for "Crying" by KD Lang and Orbison - beautiful.

    I hope some of your good energy rubs off on Big Mary.

  13. Be careful..... No telling what little thing might set her off.

  14. Big Mary sounds like she has something in there to hide. Ugh.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.