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.