It was a haphazard exit. Some elements of eleven years of living in the suburbs remained completely intact: the baseball cap hanging by the bathroom sink, the alarm clock next to the bed, a tool chest in the garage. For much of the home, it looked like the occupants were surprised by their imminent departure, gathered a few things, and bolted.
These images conjure up a sad story in my mind. There's a knock at the door. You open it to find the Sheriff and two deputies, along with a locksmith. "You are being evicted," the Sheriff says. "Your home has been foreclosed. You have twenty minutes to vacate the premises before we will be forced to remove you." What do you do?
You call out to your kids to start packing, fast. I imagine that you'd feel like there was a tornado approaching, and now it's time to save only what you absolutely need; the rest will be lost.
I often think of this when I enter homes that appear to be hastily departed. But what is the full story? Did this family suddenly find themselves on the curb?
It depends on where, and how, you look. The above images certainly look like the departure was a surprise.
But the bear-like covering of dog hair would suggest otherwise. The home looks to have been well maintained for many years, which suggests to me that the dog-hair accumulation is recent.
This isn't a grimy house with years of neglect behind it. It looks like the house of a person who gave up about six months ago. After all, why clean up if you're just going to have to leave in a few months anyway? Just leave the dog hair.
Let the rubbish pile up in the kitchen.
And, as a final act of aggressive desperation, smash in the walls. I won't post all of the damaged walls, but nearly every room in the house had substantial damage to it.
So what happened? I doubt that the occupants moved out only when the Sheriff showed up; homeowners know for months or years that their home has fallen into foreclosure. Oftentimes, though, people simply choose to ignore the fact that they are losing their home. They put off moving out as if the act of remaining in their home would thwart their inevitable departure. But that day always comes, and the mad dash to take what you want becomes a heavy albatross.
We hear a lot about the economic toll that foreclosures have wreaked across our country. We don't hear as much about the negative psychological effects. They're real. You just have to look around.
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