Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, July 30, 2012

Through My Kitchen Window


For three years, we lived next to a haunted house.
Okay, it really wasn't 'haunted'.
But strange things went on there.
Maybe I should explain.
We lived on a street of tiny, beautiful starter homes.
Less expensive and perfect for people living on a lower income. They were filled with senior couples and young families.
We fit into the second category.
The house beside us, whose front porch I could see from my kitchen window, was home to a little elderly couple.
Sweet people.
Quiet.
Private.
We saw them seldom.
Then, one day, I noticed that two young girls were going in that front door.
I should mention, here, that I spent a lot of time at my kitchen window. It was over my kitchen sink.
Enough said.
For many months, we saw those girls regularly.
Then, suddenly, more people appeared. A young woman with tattoos, piercings, a neanderthal whose whose origins were questionable, and a baby named Levi.
Then I realized that I hadn't seen our elderly couple in quite some time.
In fact I never saw them again.
For several months the two young girls and the couple with their baby came and went.
Then two young boys, similar in age to the two young girls, appeared.
And the two young girls stopped.
Appearing, that is.
Now, as near as we could figure, the young couple and their baby and the two young boys lived there.
Then all activity ceased.
No one came or went.
One morning, I opened my front door to a very tall police officer. “Do you know the people who live next door?” he asked.
“That house?” I asked, pointing.
He nodded.
“I'm ashamed to say that I don't,” I said. “There was a nice elderly couple there. Then two young girls. Then a young couple and a baby. Then two young boys. But that's about all I can tell you.”
“Come with me,” he said. He led the way to the house.
I stopped in the front doorway.
Aghast.
I've always wanted to use that word . . .
The cute little house had been destroyed.
Cupboards had been ripped down off the walls and shredded into matchsticks. Every single wall and door had been punched out. The bannister ripped off the stairway and broken. Toilet ripped off the floor and thrown out the window.
The damage was unbelievable.
Incredible.
And, over the din of five kids and seven day-home kids, I had heard absolutely none of it.
Obviously someone had been very angry.
Or very, very disturbed.
For six months the little house remained empty.
Then, one day, crews appeared and effected repairs.
And, finally, a sweet young couple and their baby moved in.
Ahhh. Normal at last.
Then the fights began.
Usually in the wee hours of the morning.
One morning, after breakfast, I was again at my post, hands in the sink, when a police car, followed by a van pulled up next door.
Two policeman, one carrying a large camera got out.
Oh, no. He's killed her, I thought.
The two went into the house.
Sometime later, more police cars arrived.
It took me a while to notice because I had the phone and was sitting on the floor calling my husband.
“I don't want to live here any more,” I said, tearfully. “Please move me somewhere else!”
I ended my phone call and stood up.
Just as the front door opened.
A policeman came out.
Carrying two large, beautiful, healthy marijuana plants.
Oh.
He was followed by another, carrying two more.
Then another.
And another.
In all, I counted 16 plants.
Okay, not what I expected.
The officers stowed the plants and left.
I must admit that I was quite surprised when things next door became more or less normal for a while after that.
Then the fights began again.
One particular night, we heard the loud slam of a door.
Then pounding.
Then, “Open this door!”
The husband had pushed his wife outside and locked the door.
Soon we heard the starting of a vehicle and the squealing of tires.
Exit wife.
For a few weeks, the young husband and the baby continued to live there.
Then we moved.
I couldn't take it any longer.
Who needs TV when one has a kitchen window?

18 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness. That sounds really concerning! Did you ever find out what happened to that older couple?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never did, JDL. It was a strange, strange situation . . . And my first experience at life lived in the big city.

      Delete
  2. We call our living room window the big screen...far more interesting than the small silver screen.
    Did you stay there much longer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How true! No. We didn't stay to see the end of that last drama. I understand a lovely family with eight (count them - eight) children live there now. Drama of a different sort! :)

      Delete
  3. Wow it's amazing that a house can attract so much drama!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why we called it the 'haunted house'. It just seemed to be a mystery magnet.

      Delete
  4. Oh my Diane, that is incredible... kind of scary to say the least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It WAS scary! Especially for a farm girl living for the first time in the big city . . .

      Delete
  5. Gee. Sounds like a regular day on our street. ; S I was like you when we first moved here {16 yrs. ago} to this particular street. Our VERY first home. After renting in various places for more than 15 years. So.....it's not that easy to just pick up and move. So I bravely call the police on a regular basis. I proved to my scared senior widow neighbor that I was something good to have on this street. lol. It's been exhausting over the years to continually stay on top of things....but I can now say that it IS cleaned up somewhat. Although, occasionally our street still is in the news. We had the biggest citywide bust for drugs and weapons a couple of years ago just two doors down. And a police watch for MONTHS on another house just across the street. Our bedroom window faced theirs. And like you.....I don't always hear what's going on. With a house of 6 kids....our house is noisy enough. HA ha. But we continue to stay and I continue to try and stay on top of things...I think they know me by first name at the city hall. ; D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need people like you on the front lines, Lynn. Congratulations! And thank you! Sometimes, it's a GOOD thing to be known at city hall!

      Delete
  6. lol young people fight.Maturity vs age + being called an adult. Today I see so much rage on city streets that I wonder if people ever grow up? You do something wrong like drive too slow,or stop at a stop light the wrong way, some people get nasty and follow you home.
    People don't even respect funeral processions. The guy's dead and I have things to do. We never saw this kind of stuff when I was growing up. never had a police man come to your door and tell you to lock things up because if they get in they won't be nice.
    You live in a cage while the bad guys live free.

    Looks like something bad happened to the old couple. Was there nothing written in the papers about it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We never, ever heard about the elderly couple. It was funny, too, because there was never any sign of people moving out. Only moving in. That's what was so weird.
      And you are so right. People aren't taught as children to control themselves. If they don't learn it then, they don't learn it. :(

      Delete
  7. My last place in Taber was across the alley to a trailer park. The Mennonite couple that lived in the miniscule 10 x 60 footer never emitted a sound save for one of their 6 kids getting cranky. But next to them was a party place. About 2:00AM, just after Cactus Jack's closed for the night the party started then the arguing. I still remember a man and woman shouting drunkenly at each other. And all I'm sure I heard them say was the F-bomb. Some argument. Welcome to the oil patch...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Sounds like a really intelligent meeting of two minds . . .

      Delete
  8. I think I would have asked my husband to move too! It is weird how people get these days. Luckily I live next to pilars of the community - although down the street that could be quite another story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realize how important it was to have good neighbours. In fact I didn't realize there was such a thing as BAD neighbours. Life is for learning . . . :)

      Delete

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