The drama across the street.

I moved into my house in 1979. The house across the street was owned by an older woman and her son. At the time, the place looked derelict: paint peeling badly, driveway full of weeds, etc. Three large trees on the front lawn hid it from view, at least.

The son – I’ll call him George – seemed to have issues with coping; you saw him from time to time with a shopping cart full of empty bottles to return and I think that was his main source of income. The mother had a job at a local grocery.

They were a strange but tolderated part of the neighborhood. An amusing incident was when someone (probably someone who had just moved in) put a letter in everyone’s mailboxes saying we should do something about then. It was pretty stupid – what did they expect us to do? Run in out of town on a rail? – and most of us just realized George and his mother, for better or worse, were not going anywhere.

About ten years ago, a local church brought a dumpster and cleared out tons of trash; evidently George and his mother were hoarders. George reacted by threatening to sue the church.

At some point, George’s mother died and he was on his own.

Over the summer, a sign appeared on the lawn saying that the house was being auctioned off for back taxes. The sign vanished later that day, probably removed by George.

In November, when I was working in the yard, a car pulled up and asked if George still lived in the house. They had bought it at the tax auction and wanted to get to work on repairing it. I couldn’t recall seeing George, but I wasn’t sure if he was still there or not, since I had learned not to pay much attention to the house.

Turned out, he was still living there, with no heat or power. Occasionally, I see a flicker at night like a candle. I heard rumors that he had been given a deadline to move, which had been extended a few times.

Last Wednesday, a tree service pulled up and took down the trees in front of the house. So now it’s absolutely clear how derelict is has become.

Today, when I drove to work, someone was knocking at the door. When he got no answer, he seemed to be attaching a piece of paper to it. An eviction notice, I assume.

I don’t know how this will play out. George clearly has issues and probably doesn’t understand what’s going on. I don’t know if social services is aware of this, but clearly this will take time to resolve.

George might burn it down rather than move out.

Well, it’s a good start if someone managed to be on the property long enough to clear out two large trees and George didn’t raise a fuss…

A friend was in a somewhat similar situation. There was a George who lived across the street in an increasingly derelict house. George would come over from time to time and ask to borrow $5, never repaid. He was harmless enough and my friend indulged him. Turns out George’s mother had been an early film star, perhaps starting even with silent movies, but she had died sometime in the 80’s or 90’s. George had been in a motorcycle accident sometime in his youth and his cognizance and ability to deal with the rigors of everyday life was… limited.

Somehow or way George’s attorney/executor of his mother’s estate decided what George needed was to have his mother’s assets liquidated so he’d have some money for rent, food, etc. An auction was held and my friend who lived across the rural highway from him stopped in to see what was there out of curiosity. He’s got some knowledge of these things, always having been a trader of sorts, and what he found astonished him. A fantastic old gun collection, old coins, medals, Hollywood memorabelia, WWII gas ration stamps, wonderful old books, just a fantastic treasure trove of items. I think he bid 50 or 60K, won the auction and has since been slowly liquidating some of the items. It provided George with enough money to stay in the house and yes, George still comes over routinely to borrow $5.

I hope your George finds some way to stay off the street and keep food in his stomach.

Why the hell would you remove perfectly good trees?

The place next door to me has been a “problem” ever since I’ve lived here. A revolving door of owners/renters/bullshit. Barely even bothered to meet the last owner. Finally got to know him after he’d been there about 2 years.

That was about a year ago. He died last Christmas.

And so it goes…

If George is mentally ill or developmentally delayed, he needs help - and hiding in the unlivable house is unlikely to end at all well when the authorities come to evict him. I think it’s highly likely that there is some kind of disability at play.

It would be a kindness to call whatever social services are in place for your area. They may be able to help him get into some kind of shelter or something.

Poor George. I hope someone gets him help.

You can have perfectly good trees or a perfectly good roof/gutters/siding/eaves/drainpipe. But you can’t have both (all?)

You forgot sidewalks, driveways, and foundations - all of which can be destroyed by tree roots.

And plumbing.

I used to think taking down trees was a bad idea – until one fell, wrecked my siding and roof and totalled my car.

A question the SO has been asking here.


OP, do you happen to recall the church that came with the dumpster? If they were that aware of the situation at the time, there might still be someone there who can coordinate with local social services.

  1. The roots have infiltrated underground sewer or water pipes. Or a septic tank. Or are buckling a sidewalk or driveway. Or are damaging the foundation of a nearby building.

ii. The branches are a threat to electrical or communications lines. Or the tree isn’t perfectly good and the branches are threatening to fall on something.

3rd. Birds perching on the branches shit all over the brand new mustang you park under it.

D. It’s a Brazilian Rosewood tree that’s not doing you much good but you can sell the trunk to someone who can turn it into many excellent sounding guitars.

Trees have a life span just like everything else. In the forest when they reach the end of their life span they fall and nourish the next generation of trees. In the suburbs and cities they need to be carefully removed lest they take a house or car or set of wires with them.

Yep. Japanese cherries look pretty in the spring but only live about 25 years.

Our complex removed pretty much all of the pine trees recently and are looking at removing the cherries in five or so years.

Geez! Ask one question and derail the whole damn thread! :smiley:

The place next door is a rental property, and the tenants got increasingly worse over several years, but seems better now.

The worst of which was a trust fund girl and her cronically-unemployed-sometimes-boatpainter boyfriend + a revolving collection of junkies, ex-cons and alcoholics crashing on the couch. I came home early one fine summer afternoon and one of their friends was passed out in an inflatable raft in the middle of their front yard, surrounded by empty PBR cans

Can’t you children just stay away from the old Radley place?

George Has Always Lived in the Castle.