Sunday, January 15, 2017

On Watching My Father Move Out of the Apartment Next Door in the Rain

It's been a dozen years since my father died, yet his belongings were strewn in the parking lot the other day. They weren't my actual father's possessions, but those of the old man next door who passed away three years ago.

I never met my deceased neighbor, since I've only lived here a year and a half, yet from the clothing spewing from the top of a box I know he was slim and not particularly tall. He liked to stay in shape as evidenced from his bicycle, golf shoes, and golf clubs. He owned the same model canister vacuum cleaner as my father, and much of his scratched up furniture he'd been using since the late 60's like my dad, the kind of furnishings for a man who lived many years alone. The crew clearing out his condo split the man's favorite chair in two- a mustard yellow, crushed velvet recliner with headrest-  and dumped it in the back of a pickup. They also snapped the legs off the man's desk and hurled that in back.

The house cleaners may have pinched the portable TV set and VCR.

Dad had a dot matrix printer like the old man's, along with a brown Samsonite from the days before suitcase companies added collapsible handles and wheels to their luggage. One of my neighbors culled the set of 1955 encyclopedias lying on the ground. My dad still owned his 1958 World Book set when he died.

I almost ran down the steps to ask if I could have the aluminum lawn chair. It was one of those with nylon straps woven in a cross-hatch pattern. After my mother died and we moved across the country, my brother, father and I used a couple of those as living room furniture until our storage arrived. Years later, dad used those lawn chairs as additional seating when he held parties.

Was there no family left to take any of these things? Or had they already grabbed the good stuff? The property manager told me the old man had a daughter, but she was either unable or unwilling to pay her late father's HOA. The property is now owned by someone who flips houses.

I'm going to miss my dead neighbor. He was quiet. And I miss my father every day.

I hope you'll turn in to my next podcast.

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