I hadn't seen the house in almost 25 years, but I know that it looked like this when we lived in it:
I had him do this because much of the action in my novel,
Turned out there wasn't a condo complex where I imagined the one in my book to be. Just a whole lot of row houses. Still, this would have been a good location for a condo complex. If not for all the row houses.
We then continued on to Somerton via the Bustleton Avenue route, passing along the way the McDonald's at Red Lion Road where I worked one summer while in college,
Years later it was the United Hebrew Happy Daze daycare center.
Here's the sign currently in front of the building:
We also saw two heat pump and air-conditioning units, which meant that vents would have to be installed throughout the house to accommodate the new heating and air-conditioning systems.
I, in the meantime, was busy snapping shots of the houses across the street that used to be the houses of of our old neighbors and playmates,
I turned around and immediately recognized one of my childhood playmates, the youngest daughter of the seven children of the big, friendly Italian family who lived in the house directly across the street from ours.
She invited us into her house. In truth when I was young and used to be in and out of that house, just as all the neighborhood kids were in and out of each other's houses, I never appreciated what a neat house it was: Lots of dark wood, wood floors, big wood banister, marble in the bathroom.
She updated us on our old house, told us about the non-grata hippy family who moved in after my parents moved out (see previous post), how one of the children set a fire in the attic (I'd heard about the fire before, but had forgotten about it), how the parents moved out and left the teenagers to live there alone.
"Who leaves a bunch of teen-agers alone living in a house?" she asked.
She told us about how the house was eventually abandoned and for a while was lived in by homeless people.
"I didn't say nothing about it," she said. "They didn't cause any trouble, and a person needs a roof over their head, I'm not gonna begrudge them."
The house was bought, she told me, by a man who was in the process of fixing up the house to sell it. "A Hispanic guy, nice guy, lives down the street." She told us that the man had recently invited her into the house to show her how the work was progressing. She said he was completely gutting the inside, renovating it top to bottom.
Just as my mother dreamed of doing.
She told me that the house had been bought by a Hasidic organization, and that soon after the group moved in she and several other neighbors went over to welcome them to the neighborhood.
"The guy who answered the door said he wasn't interested," she said. "I told him, 'Look, we're all neighbors and in this neighborhood everybody knows each other and looks out for each other and keeps an eye out for each other.'"
The man repeated that he wasn't interested and shut the door.
I thought it was too bad that those new neighbors had so carelessly brushed off the good fortune of landing in this neighborhood.