February 14, 2011

Afghanistan and County Lock-Up are Not the Same Thing

Almost a couple of years ago I wrote about a weird incident I had with my neighbors and invited you to speculate with me about the origin of their weirdness.

After that incident I felt really weird being out in my yard in case I ran into them because they had such a strange vibe coming off them.

And then suddenly we didn't see them anymore and we thought they had gone away in the night.

And then it seemed like just as suddenly, their boy was over at our house every day, aggressively social, sometimes even walking into the house without knocking.  He'd stay for long periods of time, even eating with us.  I was an aggressive "check-in" kind of mom, calling his mom to ask if it was okay to feed him a hot dog or could he have juice or Kool-aid?  Was it okay if he did such-and-such?  I stopped calling her after a while because it didn't seem like she cared what he did or how long he was over here. I never saw the dad, but often would see her sitting out on the back step, smoking and staring off into space.

My oldest son told me that the boy's dad was in Afghanistan and I figured perhaps she was depressed and who knows what else was going on in her life. I wondered several times per week if we were going to get news that the dad had died over there or been seriously injured.

And then another woman showed up and two more boys my son's age. They ran around the yard together this rag-tag foursome.  For a while it was really delightful to see them making up games, playing outside. I loved that Julius was getting out, had friends, appeared to be a leader in his group. Until it started getting all Lord of the Flies like it does with boys sometimes.  One day the smallest boy whacked the next-to-largest boy upside the head with a big plastic machine gun. Blood gushed.  I ran out and sent them all packing back to their strange and mysterious apartment with their strange and mysterious mothers and told them they could not play in the yard if they were going to behave like heathens.

Apparently they took me seriously because they never came back and within a week they all disappeared. Later we heard rumors that they moved off to some other location -- a town just under an hour from here.

Rob was outside the other day and ran into the landlord walking his burly, drooling dog.  They chatted about neighbor gossip -- about a tenant we knew who left stealthily in the night after paying his rent with stolen money. And about the odd wife of a soldier reported to be in Afghanistan. The landlord described her as "crazy" and chuckled when Rob made sympathetic noises about her being married to a soldier during these hard times.

"Afghanistan? Hardly.  He's in jail for trying to meet up with a thirteen year old girl.  Turns out "she" was a county cop and now he's doing time in the pokey.  Definitely not Afghanistan."

That one was definitely not on my radar and didn't make even make the Top 7 Possible Reasons my Neighbors are So Weird.

But at least now we know.


  1. Sometimes your hometown is so like Tasmania it''s scary.

  2. Part of my job was spent talking to people while they worked in an assembly plant, just talk and watch to see if I could figure out what was the problem with the build. There was this really strange lady I was talking with and it just got odder and odder and she was telling me about her recent wedding and then suddenly she told her husband would not be back for 6 months. At that time my first thought was Afghanistan, nope, he was in state prison and they were married in prison and the mother of his children wanted to know when she was going to start babysitting and paying child support. Still think about her most beautiful wedding once in while.

  3. Interesting story ... what one might think is normal is special to someone else. At least you now know why ...

  4. Oh noooooo! Gosh! I hate to admit it but... I thought for sure you were going to tell us that come to find out your neighbors were growing dope in their closets! Or cooking Meth in the garage!!! ...Now! I'm thinking I've lived in California wayyyyyyy to long!...lol...No, wait! For it to truly be California, there would have to be a drive by somewhere in the story!...Sorry! Just had to chime in there!___=^..^=___Kittie

  5. Truly weird. There is a website where you can see how many folks convicted of a sexual crime live near you. I don't recommend it. The nicest neighborhoods seem to have the most creeps and you would never let you child out of the house. Glad he got some time.

  6. Good grief! You definitely lead an interesting life, don't you?

    Boys do tend to whack each other upside the head from time to time. I've noticed it many a time. One of mine still sports the scar scarily close to one eye, where a 'friend' shot him with a toy bow and arrow!

  7. Still feel kind of sorry for the family though. What chance do the boys have, growing up with a dad like that?


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