This story isn’t really about me. It is about an interesting person that I used to know as a child. These situations and events may be a bit out of sequence, but this is how I remember them. Memory is funny like that.
I grew up with my mom, grandmother, great grandmother, and older brother in a run down trailer park in rural North Carolina. When construction began, the developers planed to make the park a “fancy” low income place to live, complete with with swimming pools, tennis courts, and other fun things. However, this notion was quickly abandoned. They never broke ground for the swimming pool, and someone thought that it would be a good idea to allow tenets to move their trailers onto the tennis court. People began to move trailers that they couldn’t afford onto the open lots. After defaulting on their payments, they abandoned their trailers and refused to move them off the land. As a result, half of the park was scattered with empty tin houses that rusted into disrepair over time.
Though the rest of the neighborhood looked like trash, my grandmother always tried to take care of our lawn and home. In our tiny fenced in back yard, my grandmother grew a garden. There were sunflowers that stood twice my height, hydrangea bushes, and a pond stocked with goldfish that she built herself. There were morning glories for the morning and moon flowers for the night. My 3 little cousins lived on the road behind us, and my grandmother would always yell at us girls not to trample her flowers when they would come over to play.
With a back yard that looked more like a jungle, the trailer directly behind us was the complete opposite of our own. The grass was never cut and the plants and weeds grew wild and untamed. A small tin trailer sat hidden behind the the backyard wilderness. In this trailer lived a woman named Mary, Crazy Mary as we called her. She rarely ever came outside, but when she did, she always wore a gardening apron with her long gray hair flowing down to her waist.
My mother and grandmother couldn’t stand Mary, but I always thought that she was interesting. In my childhood fantasies I imagined her as a magical witch, making potions and talking to the wild animals that came to visit her backyard jungle. Apparently, the lack of attention that she gave to her home attracted rats. Because our trailer was right in front of hers, the rats began to make their way over to us. One day, when I was about seven years old, I was stood in the hallway rolling something fuzzy around the floor with my barefoot. My mom asked me what it was, but I told her that I didn’t know. She streaked out in terror as the rat suddenly darted out from underneath my foot and down the hallway.
Filled with disgust and outrage, my grandmother decided to alert the media about crazy Mary and her rats. A man from the local paper came over to interview my family about the infestation. He made his way to Mary’s house next, who had no idea that my family had made her bad housekeeping practices public. She was furious, adamantly refusing to mow her yard or clean up her home. She claimed that every time she mowed the grass, she could hear the crickets screaming.
My mother and grandmother didn’t speak to Mary again after this incident. However, I continued to watch her from afar. Mary eventually got two large black Pitbulls. The dogs ran wild throughout her yard, and growled at us kids through the fence every time we went out to play. Eventually, Mary decided that it was unfair to confine her dogs to the outdoors, so she gave them her house. When I say that she gave them her house, I mean that she opened all of the windows and doors to allow them free reign, packed up her things, and moved into a tiny RV that she had parked in her driveway.
Mary continued to live like this until my family and I moved away when I was 16 years old. Some of my family members decided to move back to the trailer park years later but by this time, Mary was was long gone. I always wondered what happened to her and what motivated her to live the way that she did. I guess now I’ll never know.
Do you have any interesting neighbor stories? If you do, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. If you enjoyed reading this post, please shoot me a like, comment, or follow.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM