Freddie Dies

Anchor to the whole neighborhood.
First house on the street before there were streets.
Freddie, the keeper of the history. Who will keep it now?

Freddie, #5 in my Gratitude Journal. He and Ginny.

Nine years I’m in this house. He was in his since the beginning of time, or at least time out here.

There was once a quarry
and a dirt road for trucks going to and from it.
And there was his house.
I wasn’t even born yet.

He and Ginny saw cornfields cleared piecemeal as houses went up, one by one. They saw families come and go, kids grow. They saw saplings turn into giants, giants removed and new saplings come as replacements. They were witnesses.

They told us the history of our property, how it was once forest-like and the house tucked back in there, dark. One of the owners had 35 trees removed. Was that 3 owners ago? Four? We tried to work it out a few times. Nobody could say for sure.

* * *

SEVERAL summers sitting, I talked about the screen room I dreamed of for the back of our house.

“That would be nice,” he said. “I can picture it.”

But by the time we finally did it, he couldn’t see that far and was already starting to spend more time at the rehab facility than his own house. And then they both went to assisted living.

* * *

SHE WAS NOT YET 18 when the far reaches of the county were beginning to get electricity and he delivered a refrigerator to her family’s home way up Rt. 7. That’s how it all started for them. And then a war and kids and sickness and health and plain old trying to make a life.

I came in at the end of the book and was brought up to speed, which was by then quite slow, but so was I.

It’s been quiet over there a long time now. And the porch swing that was hung every year at the start of summer has missed a few turns.

Maybe another part of the fog lifting for me is a day to stop and consider the long view and get some perspective.

first house on the street

Freddie and Ginny’s house. View from my screen room.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in community, grief, letting go, long view, neighbor, people. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Freddie Dies

  1. Marilyn, this is beautiful. Beautifully written. I’m sad for your loss. Your neighborhood’s loss. But what a legacy Freddie left in the hearts of all he touched throughout his life. A small part of that legacy, that history, now lives in you, stored in your heart, treasured, to tell another day. ❤


  2. Deidra Riggs says:

    Oh, oh, oh. You tell this so well. The emotion. The missing. The vacant. And yet, the fullness of it all. Really incredible, Marilyn. This line: “I came in at the end of the book and was brought up to speed, which was by then quite slow, but so was I.” I laughed out loud when I read it. And, at the same time, I nearly cried. Thank you.


  3. Belinda says:

    My condolences on the loss of a good friend. Here at Write! Canada, I’m thinking of you!


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