Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The 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.
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.
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.
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. Someone's killed someone, 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.
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 in the van 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?


  1. That's a little too much drama for me. I think I'd prefer a haunting.

    1. I think a haunting would be . . . quieter.

  2. Regular life is way more interesting. And dramatic.

  3. I'm wondering how different things might have been if you'd become friends with the original elderly couple. If they hadn't been so quiet and private. I'm reminded of my mum, who would move in somewhere, (anywhere) and be gossiping and visiting with the entire street within a day or two.

    1. I like your mum! Yeah, if they had responded to our original overtures of friendship, the whole story may have been different!

  4. I hope that poor house eventually got a nice quiet family in it again! That was a really bad run of neighbours ...

    1. It now houses parents and a family of eight. With one bathroom . . .

  5. We must have lived in the same neighborhood at one time! It's a scary feeling to be afraid in your own home. We lasted only 3 months how about you?

    1. We made it three years. But that was with the kettle slowly heating up . . .

  6. I would not have lasted that long!


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