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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.


I always wanted a home of my own, but it was not until my sixties that I finally got my house. Within a few years it was just as I had envisioned. I put in lovely gardens and healthy, natural trees and landscaping with my own two hands. I had my walls, ceilings, and floor throughout the house beautifully refurbished. I acquired modest but attractive furnishings that please me very much.

Now, in my last little bit of time of enjoying my home, as I must soon downsize and move into senior appropriate housing, whenever I go outside to enjoy what I have created, my neighbors thwart me. Often when I go out of my front door, which faces west, workmen or children on the vast lawn of the church across the street start yelling. To test if they are yelling because they see me, I go inside. The yelling stops. I step outside again and the yelling begins again. And the dog of my neighbors to the north barks at me on my front porch, from within its own house because it has been trained to be so territorial as to bark whenever it perceives me. If I walk to the southern side of my property the dog of my neighbors on that side barks at me, just as those neighbors have trained it to do. If I walk south into my backyard, there is a child whom I privately think of as Howler Monkey. (Humor sometimes soothes pain.) If Howler Monkey sees me outside in my backyard, even if I am standing in my doorway, even if he is inside his home, he runs outside and begins screeching. Truth. I cannot tell if he is mentally impaired or has simply been indulged to behave that way.

My predicament of being thwarted from enjoying my home and property by neighborhood vocalizations from all four cardinal directions started a few years ago, when all of my elderly neighbors died, one after the other elder being replaced by very young families. I introduced myself to each young family as they moved in, but none would talk to me. I have never experienced this before, for over fifty years of life those whom I met would spend a moment talking with me, and I always knew each of my neighbors. It was pleasant and it was also a security issue as one must know one's neighbors to have an idea of their capabilities.

Rage? I sometimes wonder why this low-grade harassment by my neighbors does not enrage me. It certainly is unjust. It makes me unhappy. It keeps me from enjoying my yard, it even keeps me from working in my yard. But each time that these verbal confrontations happen, when I feel the bile begin to rise, I have thought it through and I can think of nothing more that I can do. I think that I have to accept it for now, so as not to provoke them to something worse. When I initially talked to each of these neighbors, to a person they responded with the same smug expressions that let me know that not only would they not change, they did not even want to know me. They were satisfied to habitually discomfort a stranger living next door to them, me in my own yard. In my opinion these young people here in southern Illinois are very odd, to constantly scan the outdoors and verbally confront me when I fall under their gaze. Have they nothing else to think about?

Well, if all goes well I will be gone from here soon enough. I will not burden myself with rage.


by Annmarie Throckmorton 2021

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