Monday, October 10, 2016

Burning Down the House

This summer we took a detour on the way to dropping Mr. Boy off at camp and visited my childhood home.  I showed the kids the neighborhood where I spent my elementary school years.  My kids who shun sightseeing,  were surprisingly enthralled with seeing the neighborhood.  They have always loved hearing stories of my colorful childhood and beg for them at bedtime.  "Tell me the story of your mom being a mama bear."  "Tell me about your arch nemisis Howie Hayward."   For them being able to see the setting with their own eyes, was the missing piece to the story.

It's a lovely neighborhood with neat manicured lawns and homes that back up to a golf course.  The country club was the social hub of the neighborhood and most of the neighbors lived a pretty posh life.  Many of my neighbors had found wealth in the form of "black gold." (oil)   It wasn't the most glamorous town, mostly agricultural, with blazing hot summers, and a whole lot of oil,  but our neighborhood was definitely one of the nicer ones in town.

As we drove around, I showed them my elementary school, the childhood homes of my friends, and all the homes that had been burned down. After showing them the fifth house that burned down, I realized, "Wait a minute, this is not normal." This is pretty much a running theme of my childhood.

When several neighbors got financially in over their heads, they burned down their homes or their businesses to collect on the insurance money.  I'm pretty sure they all got caught, because I can't remember a house that burned down where it wasn't arson.  Instead of insurance money, the owners got jail time and I'll bet that didn't help with their financial problems.

I showed my kids the toy store that burned to ground taking other neighboring businesses with it.  I vividly remember mourning all the Barbies that were senselessly burned.  Arson.

I showed them the gorgeous golf course home that burned to the ground in the middle of the night.  We watched the firefighters battle the fire in our pajamas from across the golf course. A few days later the police found boxes of fine china, silver, photo albums, and other prized possessions stored in the back room of his office.  Arson.

I showed them the house next door to one of my favorite friends that burned to the ground because of a "cooking fire."  Later we learned she had sat in the backyard waiting for the fire to spread before running to the neighbors to call for help.  A week later her second car was found stuffed with possessions she stowed before the fire. Arson.

As an adult, it's fascinating to me that people would get so desperate they would burn down their own homes.  It seems like an outrageous solution and one where you are sure to get caught. 

So fast forward to last week, when there was a house fire in my neighborhood, my kids instantly jumped to the conclusion that it was Arson.   AK thinks we should tell the police to look for a second car, or check the back room at their business.  Mr. Boy is super proud to finally be able to have something exciting to show his future children... when he comes back to tour the neighborhood.

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