Rumble in the… Well, at the Next Door Neighbor’s To Be Exact

I don’t live in the nicest neighborhood.  I try to be positive about it.  In fact, if you’ve ever heard me talk about I was probably saying something positive like how I love that my kids’ best friends are kids named Kasem and Angel and that  I think it’s cool that most of the kids in their classes speak other languages. And that there’s a Costco at the end of my street.

I figured that this was where we could afford to live, so this was where we had to live so I really needed to find positive things about the neighborhood.  And I think I did a pretty darn good job.  But then Saturday came a long and I accepted the fact that despite its obvious attractions, my neighborhood  just isn’t a very nice place to live.

You see the Princess and the Pea were next door playing with their friends, a little girl the Princess’s age and twin boys two years older.  Their father lives next door to us and the kids are there every other weekend and one weeknight a week.  The kids were playing in an old camping trailer that lives in his carport.  I don’t love them playing in there, for reasons that should be fairly obvious, but the father usually sits on his back steps, about 5 feet away so I allow it.

So the kids were there playing and I was home with the little guys when there was a knock on my back door.  I answered it and it was a young girl (about 13) from across the street who was just checking to see if the Pea was ok.

“Um what?  Why wouldn’t he be ok?”

“Well, Billy (on of the 11 yr old boys next door) made him cry.”

“Well, he’s not home so he must be fine.”  I wasn’t really worried at this point, kids fight and they make up and I try not to get involved.

Of course, while I was talking to this girl at my back door the Pea had come in the front door.  “He’s right there,” the girl said pointing behind me where the Pea was now standing.

He was standing there, tear streaked but not crying and he said he was fine.  “Well, he’s ok so thanks for coming over,”  I said.

“Oh and your daughter has an inappropriate mouth,” the girl tossed off as a parting shot before she walked away.

Great.

So I asked the Pea what happened.  His story was not linear and pretty unclear but what I got from it was that the kids were playing in the trailer, and father wasn’t around and there was a baseball bat involved.

Shall I understate it and say that I was concerned?

So I went over there.  As I was walking across the front of my house I could see the same girl who had just been at my back door with two of her… brothers? cousins? relatives? (The house across the street is inhabited by a large pacific islander family [the family is large, the people actually, not so much] including a lot of children, mostly boys, and I’ve never been able to figure out how most of them are related.) of roughly the same ages.  The had an aluminum baseball bat and upon seeing me they began walking away from the trailer.

And this is the story as near as I could reconstruct it:  The father had left to get a movie.  (In his defense, his kids are 11, 11 and 9 and he lives next door to his mother, who watches his kids for him some and who was home.)  The kids, mine and his, had been playing in the trailer and the older bat wielding kids had been playing in the street.  Some of the trailer kids (not mine, I was assured.  Un hunh.) started yelling… unkind things at the kids in the street so naturally the kids in the street came over and began beating on the trailer with the aluminum bat.  Some time in the middle there the Pea had gotten out of the trailer as had the other girl the Princess’s age.  So the Princess was in there alone with the older boys and was sure that if she tried to leave she was going to be beaten to death with a bat.

Again with the understatement, I’m going to say that I was unhappy with the situation.

So I got the Princess out of there and laid down the rule that my kids are not to go into the trailer again EVER.  I mentioned to the street kids, now across the street, that they probably should not have used a bat to work out their problems and that they may want to make a point of going and apologizing to the father when he got home because he would probably notice the window that they had broken.  I talked with the Princess about appropriate language. (She swears she didn’t say anything and actually, I believe her. [You’d have to know the Princess.])  And I talked to her about the fact that she is not ever to be alone with either of those, or any other, boys with the possible exception of her brothers.

And I decided that we’re going to have to move.

____________________

For those interested, in the future I may post some of the other stories about the neighborhood  just so that you can all shake your heads and wonder exactly how stupid, blind and nieve I am that it took me this long to decide to move.

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristina
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 16:16:33

    Good plan. Yikes!

  2. bythelbs
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 16:16:35

    What, no machetes?

    I wish I had a nice little (but not too little) house I could sell you in a nice part of town for dirt cheap.

    Silver lining: your kids are safe and not bat-bludgeoned. Focus on the positive.

  3. Annette
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 16:39:00

    There’s a house around the corner from me for sale!!!

  4. robyn
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 16:44:20

    Oh ick. I feel your pain.

    When we moved into the 1963 remodel it was a nice neighborhood. Th elementary school is a half a block away. However, it is in the center of this pit city we live in and economics being what they are the inner city even in a small town quickly becomes the ghetto. We have the helicopters over head at least once a week and just last week they had one houses’ residents all lined up against the garage in handcuffs. Fun.

    Needless to say we’d like to move. However, like the rest of the IE our house is worth about 40% of what we paid for it.

  5. cheryl
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 17:12:14

    Live with me!

    I still think you are wise to move –I really do. As you were telling me this stuff, I kept thinking “yes! She needs to move! Pronto!” but it could have been just me being all therapist on you, too. Hmmm.
    But yeah, I’d move. 😉

  6. Julie
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 18:43:32

    Wow. That’s really crappy. Sorry you’re having to face that reality, but family first, right?

    I’m glad no one was seriously hurt.

  7. diana banana
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 18:53:35

    please move. 🙂

  8. Alison @ hairlinefracture
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 19:33:37

    Wow. You’re right; that is not good.

  9. marivic
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 20:52:14

    I would have been really scared if I were the Princess in that situation. Your decision to move from that neighbor appears to me like a pretty good one. I hope you find a better neighborhood soon.

  10. Melanie J
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 22:41:24

    I can’t believe you kept it together so well. If it were me, the story would probably have ended with me wielding a bat and things going much farther South much faster than they should. Because I have a temper. Which is bad.

  11. Jen
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 23:07:34

    Nice. I’m glad you’re moving.

    (Nice to hear from you, by the way).

  12. LisAway
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 07:01:22

    Oh come on, Alison. A little bat never hurt anyone. Neither did two boys in one younger girl in a trailer alone.

    I say run away. Good luck with that.

  13. flip flop mama
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 10:09:49

    Yeah you need to get out of there. Hope you can find a better place soon.

  14. madhousewife
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 12:47:34

    Yikes! This story scared me. :O

    I hope you find someplace nice and safe soon.

  15. Janelle
    Apr 08, 2009 @ 08:15:54

    Hey Allison, even if you end up staying, I’d still visit you.

    Good thing something worse hadn’t happened.

  16. annie valentine
    Apr 08, 2009 @ 23:33:05

    Instead of makeovers, how about we do a lesson on self-defense, followed closely with “How To Pack A Moving Box”?

  17. Kristina
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 10:24:42

    Allison, I have to say, I love that your nanny blocker thingie blocks my blog.

    I wonder what it could possibly be? My nudity resolution? Topless Mary Poppins? I just don’t understand.

  18. Jami
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 23:48:22

    Alison, I feel for you. It is nice to have racial diversity. It’s nice to have a yard with space. It is not nice to have the clown car house across the street selling meth. The church of the very loud music comes and blasts rap (Jesus rap?) to convert the hoodlums and all they get in return is people eating their hot dogs and stealing their stuff. Sad. The helicopter is so entertaining for the kids, and yet… The list goes on and on.

    Anyhow, I wish you a happy move. I doubt if you’ll regret it.

  19. Trackback: Making God Laugh « Alison Wonderland

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