“Nightmare on Elm Street” ?

No, this is about the nightmare on Serrano Street. I couldn’t sleep; I was “living in the past.” This blog message had a proposed variety of titles: (1) “Forty Years and Counting,” (2) “Aunt Irene,” (3) “Life in the slow lane,” (4) ….

“Senior citizens”are notorious for “living in the past” and subjecting the listeners (and readers) to unwanted narratives. I suspect this will be a long message so I “publish” at this early hour as a harbinger of things to come (lol).

I was a new bride (subsequent marriage for both of us); I believed my Heavenly Father sent a Christian gentleman into my life of heartache and rejection. “Aunt Irene” (1893-1979) was my husband’s spinster aunt living in the family home (on Serrano) in Hollywood, California. She died suddenly and (long story) my husband and his two brothers (divorced men) decided Don Edwards (being married) would move into the house and get it ready for sale. I’d had a Real Estate license for several years and suggested the family remove the items they wanted to keep, call an auctioneer…, and then sell the house “as is.” I was overruled!

Frequently, we see television programs regarding hoarders and their horrible living conditions. “Aunt Irene”  was a hoarder and the house needed major maintenance. (I’m drawing a parallel between Lorraine and Aunt Irene: My home needs maintenance; I need a new RV refrigerator.) Due to plumbing leaks, the elderly lady crawled under the house and turned off the water. She carried water into the house from a garden hose in the yard. Two of three one-hundred amp electric circuits were faulty so she had long electric cords stretching from the one “good” outlet. “Yes,”  we moved into that nightmare and I had the dubious pleasure of serving as the general contractor, slave labor, and “chief cook and bottle washer.”

“Chief cook and bottle washer” because my husband was a very sick man and we had embraced holistic health and nutrition to (hopefully) reverse the situation. Obviously, a sick man can’t lift a finger to help correct the nightmare situation he agreed to move in to. The conscientious wife prepared organic food “from scratch.”

I envy those days when I had strength and energy. Long days, hard work!! I hired a plumber and electrician, but did all the “dirty work,” Every week, there was a huge pile of unusable discards at the curb (for garbage truck). Eventually, there were “Estate Sales” with tables loaded with reasonably-priced items. Frankly, I don’t know how I managed to do everything I did but I “know” it was by God’s Grace that I survived the “nightmare on Serrano.”

History repeating itself: Plumbing problems, electrical problems (RV refrigerator), and yard sales. Decades ago, I vowed I’d never leave a mountain of memorabilia for my children to dispose of. Regrettably, I have a cargo trailer filled with boxes of family history, old suitcases full of photo albums. My children aren’t interested… so someone else will have the (dubious) pleasure of disposing of my stuff. Yes, I’m working to donate, discard, downsize, etc., but I’m disgustingly and dastardly devoid of energy.

In 1979, I could not comprehend Aunt Irene’s neglect of the family home and deplorable living conditions. **NOW** I understand how old age and limited energy dictated inaction. In 2019, this “understanding” should extend to my landlady and her stepson? They are old and suffer from multiple health problems; they have neglected their property of thirty-plus years and allowed clutter to distract from the appearance of the yard.

The Holy Bible tells me that God (my Heavenly Father) will not give me more than I can bear. I complain about a lack of strength and energy but in reality, I am a tower of strength?!

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