Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sad

I heard the saddest story. There is a big house that I've always loved from the time that I was a child. I've always been a daydreamer, and I'd tell myself great stories about the house, inventing a history for it, and imagining what it looked like now. I figured that if you lived in a house that grand, well, you must be a pretty grand person yourself. I'd imagine what it was like to be rich, and to be able to do whatever you pleased without giving it a second thought. Things like that kept me well entertained.

An elderly woman lives in that house. Surprising as it is, she lives there alone. She cannot afford the upkeep. The house has fallen into disrepair. The elderly woman travels in the same social circles that she has traveled in for all of her life, but it is a facade. Although she still plays the grande dame, she is not making ends meet. Strangely, she had the outside of the house painted recently. The workmen were not allowed to use a bathroom inside her grand house. The workmen were not allowed to drink from her outside faucet. She was imperious. Sometimes when they showed up for work, she'd tell them to go away and come back in three hours. When someone noticed that a ceiling had caved in, they checked the roof and found that it was in bad need of repairs. The woman didn't have the money to repair the roof, although she had just spent a large sum of money to make sure that house looked grand from the street.

Isn't that sad? Not that she has fallen on hard times. Shoot. That happens to all of us. What is sad that she is unable to adapt to her changed circumstances. In her mind, it's more important to preserve an illusion. What a strange world she lives in, what a strange way to think. I wonder if she is senile, or simply a woman who has been so taken care of for all of her life that she doesn't have a clue of how to take care of herself now that she is alone.

11 comments:

Mrs. Spit said...

How terribly heart breaking and lonely.

jeanie said...

I did a great comment - it got lost and so has my mind.

Perhaps she was brought up with that as the MOST IMPORTANT tenet - very sad, and she is probably far too old to learn new tricks.

mommamia said...

How sad and heartbreaking. You have to wonder if she is senile or just living in a fanasty world for so long it is reality to her.

A Novel Woman said...

It sounds like Grey Gardens. Both the original documentary and the movie with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange are on HBO this month. Sometimes people cling to the illusion because it's safer that way, not because they're trying to save face. Poor old dear....

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Perhaps there is a local group that can come and do some upkeep for her; brush with kindness (Habitat), or a church group???

Mary Paddock said...

There are people who are brought up to believe that how we present ourselves is more important than what's actually going on inside. I've always felt sorry for these folks who never free themselves from this. As they age it only grows more (and often sadly) apparent.

Debby said...

There are plenty of agencies to help this woman. The sad part is that I doubt many people are aware of her situation, and that 'big' name she has will make people afraid to offend her. I doubt that she would accept help, but I believe that we need to try to assist her.

steviewren said...

Maybe there is so much she needs to do to fix the house that she doesn't know where to begin. My grandmother would have been ashamed to live in a house that didn't look it's best.

rhubarbwhine said...

My neighbour's house was once the grandest on the street, it's now the shabbiest. Her story is also quite moving. She now lives there alone, and her world so insular. I may do a post about it one day, so similar are the tales. Thanks for sharing this poignant story.

MuseSwings said...

That's the most difficult thing that people of changed circumstances have to overcome and the one that quickly drags them further down. It takes a lot of courage - admitting it to others is admitting it to oneself.

Anonymous said...

Debby I am acquainted with this phenomenon. If its not a coat of paint slapped on a crumbling manse, it is a shiny new Mercedes leased by someone barely making ends meet or an expensive vacation booked by someone already up to their eyeballs in credit card debt. However, since the lady in question is old and may be fragile of mind, its a real shame that family has not stepped in to see that the house is maintained, if at all possible. The roof may fall in on this lady's head and it may be one of those tragic scenarios where no one finds her for a week or two after that. ---Lavi