With the bitter cold and now 8 inches of snow, I was really surprised to see that three more went down this past week…three that meant more to me than most of what remains. Two were on Brumley, and the other one was at the intersection of WW and Brumley. Their owners were my neighbors who bought girl scout cookies from me, who waved at me a few times as I rode my bike up and down the street, and the site of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Sure I didn’t know their owners well and I would not recognize any of them today, but I knew their faces from my past. Only one house now remains on Brumley, the one directly across from where mine was.
#45 to go was 12615 Brumley on December 17th. I can remember an older family living in this cute, always perfect quintessential Carrollton home. Nice brickwork, pretty landscaping, beautiful tall trees, it was once someone’s little dream. Like those sweetly manicured bushes, that brick and blue-sided dream was ripped away by a five-foot claw and tossed unceremoniously into an unknown landfill on a bleakly cold, wet and windy day. As a side note, this house actually had the exact floor plan as mine, only in reverse. Only one house with a layout like mine remains in the area.
#44, also on Brumley, destroyed on that same day. 12618 was almost directly across the street from the aforementioned home. I have a rather amusing event associated with this house, one of those embarrassing moments we never forget. When I was 9, it was my chore to walk the dog around the block each day after school. On the day of the last stroll Odie and I would ever take on my side of the street, our Dare officer came to school to tell us about the dangers of drugs. Basically, all I remembered him telling us was that if you see someone smoking out of a tube or scratching at a shiny surface using a razor, run and tell someone. Well, it was out in front of this very house that I saw a young adult leaning on the hood of his car and (gasp) using a razor!! I SCREAMED like, well, a little girl and it startled the guy silly. After an awkward moment of silence once the screaming commenced, I ran full-tilt home. As a good little DARE-programmed 9 year old, I told my parents the guy was “doing the cocaine!” My mom roared with laughter, and explained to me that a) he was probably adding detail-striping to his car and b) if he was doing drugs he certainly wouldn’t be doing them in broad daylight in front of 9 year olds walking labradors. So when I sold girl scout cookies, I avoided this house out of embarrassment and went across the street instead. The people across the street bought plenty from me anyway. I find it oddly fitting that both these houses went down on the same day.
#43 was started on December 19th, and finished on Thursday the 20th. 12632 Woodford Way was a wonderful little yellow house at the top of Brumley, set on a slope as if it wished to be some grand manor. I remember seeing the older occupants tending to their gardens of bamboo and greenery, leaving yellow bottles of Preen at the side of the house to fight off rogue dandelion invaders . When they were not tending to their yard, the were equally tending to their lawn-chairs, lazily watching passer-bys, gloried by their retirements. They were still there a whole year after my mom left, still tending to the yard, still sitting on the lawn chairs. It was June when I first saw their chairs were gone… and so they must be also. There was a certain comfort in seeing them every time I drove by. It seemed as long as they were there, Carrollton was safe and normal, no matter how patched the landscape had become. It was one day in July, when I saw their siding ripped open and windows broken, that I lost the fondness and comfort of the area and started paying more attention to what was happening behind my back with every venture.
Their house was ravaged quickly, and it was in front of this house that Mike told me that it was the asbestos crews that did the first major damage, peeling back the siding and busting walls in their pursuit of cancer-causing fibers. Of all the houses that I wished did not get major graffiti, it was this one that got two large evil skulls tagged on. Not to say that the other neglected houses did not have people who once deeply cared for them. My affinity for this one was because this house was so close to my own and I saw the people so often. It does kind of worry me to think how sad the couple might have been if they had the chance to drive by and see their place they loved so much trashed so fast in the past few months. Since I knew what they looked like, an image of them sitting in a car in front of the house they loved so much, shaking their heads in disgust is clearer to me than most any other I could imagine.