Sunday, November 23, 2008

Confessing To The Neighbors

There is Christmas party coming up on December 5th with the neighborhood women. This sort of thing is what I found to be unique about this neighborhood. When I was younger I'd read about neighbors getting together and throwing parties, mixers, having ladies night out. I never had that.

Just a few weeks ago Darryl and I were thinking about when we would have our first party over here. I was using Pepsi points to download music to play. I was getting ideas from a book I had won about themes and invitations. I was excited but nervous. I thought I'd have my first party in March of next year. With the house in Cartersville almost rented I thought I'd be able to do just that.

Now of course the lay-off wipes all this off the plate. Although the ladies are nice and try to include us in various things we are not close. It is not their fault. We can be as close or as distant as we want and we hope to get closer. I had received the invitation to the ornament exchange last Sunday. I was excited. I always wanted to have a cookie exchange but this was exciting. Terri was having it at her house and I was thinking about what side dish to bring and where to buy the ornament. Monday and Tuesday I'm ill and then that fateful Wednesday comes and the ornament is not so important anymore.

Darryl and I talk. Should I go to the party or not go. Will people wonder why we never said anything when the moving van pulls up? Should we tell people or have them guess. What should we do. I finally decide to write this email and send it to everyone.

My husband and I struggled with writing this email. You know the old saying “What goes on behind closed doors.” We walk passed our neighbors homes and really don’t know what they are dealing with or struggling with.

I remembered crying when we signed the loan papers for this home. I honestly, never thought I would ever live in a home as nice as this. I grew up poor but I tried to do the right thing, worked to get my education, and I figured that the American dream was within my reach, and it was. I just never realized that living in a home and a neighborhood as nice as the bluffs was within my reach.

My husband had no doubt. He has a masters in mechanical engineering and he always knew that one day we would be able to live out all our dreams. We’d had some struggles. When we first married we took his mother and father in and we provided hospice care for his mother. We’ve been supporting his father since his mother passed on. Still he seemed like a rising star at Trinity Rail. His boss was grooming him to take over when he retired in ten years.

Moving here surrounded us in a whirl-wind like I’d never known. I’ve met some warm and wonderful people and have been invited into some amazingly beautiful homes. Just last week It looked as though we were finally going to rent out our home in Cartersville. This was a lynch-pin for us and I was beginning to plan a get together at my house in February or March. I’d never ever entertained in my home before but I was nervous and excited.

Just a week ago Trinity Rail, where my husband worked, sent him to their Mexico plant to do some trouble shooting. His boss was so appreciative. Just a week ago I was sitting here playing the endless contests and sweepstakes I play thinking the world was OK. We were finally over the rough spots. Then Wednesday, they called my husband in and told him he was being laid off. They said they were in shock too and thought that there had been a mistake. He wasn’t alone that day as the lay-offs hit family after family at Trinity Rail and though-out the United States.

I’m telling you this entire story not because we want anything from you, not because we want you to feel sorry for us or anything like that. This was the part that Darryl and I went back and forth, over and over. I’m just a high school teacher and we’ve been paying two mortgages with two wage earners. Even with the other house being rented out I can’t afford to stay here. We basically wanted to tell you all so that you aren’t surprised when you see our house is up for sale. The bank will be getting it back.

We don’t consider ourselves victims. We realized that we made this reach based on calculations that we no longer have control over.

Originally I told Darryl that I just wouldn’t go to the party in December because it would be too painful to me. Darryl insisted I should go. During the school year it’s usually so hard for me to get back from school on time or without feeling exhausted. Darryl said I should say good bye. I told him if I did that I’d break out in tears right there in front of everyone. Then he said maybe I could just say what I have to say and get it out there. Maybe he’s right.

So there it is. I’d still like to come to the get together. I will miss you all a great deal. We will probably be moving out within a few weeks. I will miss so much about this neighborhood and this house. You have all been so wonderful and friendly to my husband and I and I wish we could thank you but I just don’t know the right words to do that.

I hope that I will hear from some of you occasionally but I would understand if you didn’t keep in touch. The world goes on and I know that. So there it is. Long winded but at least I’ve said it and I feel better that we didn’t just leave without saying goodbye

People have written back and this is what they've said:

Dear Cathy: I too have been so busy the hours have not allowed for me to come to the parties--even the 5th now is our company party so I am not sure I can come but was planning on some time. Thanks for sharing your story--it is the story of millions of Americans and hits home to all of us. We just got back from a trip to see parents and family in S Fla--and my husbands brother told us his news of lay off after 15 years with a company. Things will change and improve--we will all have to work together. We do believe in this new president--have for the whole election. I am wishing you a speedy return to stability. Who knew that people who did all the right things getting educations and working hard would have these things happen? We are all watching and waiting and pitching in. We are honored that you would share your story--it is courageous and we will miss people of that great spirit in the neighborhood,Nancy and Tom Craney109 Evening Mist

here's another response

Cathy and Darryl,

We are so glad you did tell us instead of just moving. Of course, we would want you to join us for the ladies night on Dec. 5th . . .there is absolutely no reason for you not to. I look forward to seeing you then . . .I’ll take that as a “yes” to the RSVP.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with you both. Please let everyone know where you will move so those that can will keep in touch.


Our heart and prayers go out to you both. You will be missed.
When god closes a door he always opens window.
take care Lois and Bob

I can do all things through Christ who strengths me Philippians 4:13 .I am very sorry of the news , all things happen for a reason just step back and put God in control and all things will work out. I pray that God strengths your family through this time. we are all feeling the financial pressures of this economic crisis

staci parker

Cathy: What a beautiful letter and message. I am so sorry for the impact our economy is having on the hard working souls. Tim was let go back in August but in our case I have a job that can support us over the hump.
This type of letter should be in the newspaper as well as in a magazine. It hits the essence of families emotions and challenges.

I will keep you and your husband in my prayers.
Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished.Remember, when all is said and done we are not measured by materialistic goods but who we are in our souls.and deeds.


Cathy, I am so sorry to get this e-mail! I know how you feel!!! I sold my home & will be moving out on the 10th of December. I would like to talk with you. If you have a chance, please call me so I can discuss some options with you. Unfortunately, I am hearing this story more & more & am learning about different options for sellers to avoid foreclosure. Call me & let me see if I can help! Sincerely, Jennifer HellenThe Jennifer & Anita Group#1 Group 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007Keller Williams Realty Signature

Cathy - I am so sorry to hear that your husband has lost his job and that you will be moving. Things are very scary right now. Many, many, people are losing their jobs daily and times are tough. Richard and I know that we are very blessed that we both still have our jobs in times like these. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know. I do hope that you will come to the get together on Dec. 5th. Do you know where you will be moving? Please do keep in touch and let us know if your email changes. I will be praying for you and your family and hope that your husband will find work quickly. Sincerly,Sandy

Dear Cathy and Darryl, I just can't begin to feel the sadness you are feeling right now. I am sovery sorry this has happened to you. Your letter was so heartbreaking.I wish you just the very, very best that life can bring. And I have beenkeeping you in my prayers. I hope we see each other at the get-together. Jude and Joe Bosco

Hi Cathy, I think I met you soon after you moved in. I was walking my little white dog and you gave me your e-mail address to give to my neighbor Howard Delashmit, our neighborhood and voting guy at the time. I've only been able to get together with the girls in our neighborhood once or twice. That's why I haven't seen you recently.I'm so sorry about this very tough time for you and Darryl. Last night I walked my dog up the hill by your home and prayed for you both. My family is suffering in a different way . . . my husband was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) March, 2007. It's a terminal and extremely cruel disease. We now have Hospice helping us out.What you said is true . . . you never know what's going on behind closed doors. I know it was very difficult writing this letter ~ and it is a good letter. You both will continue to be in my prayers. Mathew 6:25-34 is my good reminder to "NOT WORRY". I still do, but as soon as I realize it I try my best to give it to God. Hopefully you can do that same. Blessings to you both,Debbie Hamilton

Hello Cathy, I'm sorry I'm late in answering your e-mail. We had family visiting and couldn't check messages.I'm very sorry you and Darryl are going through a rough time! I met you at the Tuggle's get-together and enjoyed talking with you. Life is so unfair at times and to the people that don't deserve it. Has Darryl been called back to his job? Does he think he will have a chance later? I understand what you were saying about living on this street. I grew very poor and never thought I would live in a house or on a street like this. If the stock market keeps falling, I don't know what Jerry and I will do. We're retired and thought our stocks would see us through. We didn't count on the economy going crazy!Please keep in touch and let us know where you are. We only met the one time, but I consider you my friend. If I can do anything to help you, please let me know. Your neighbor, Sue Fuller

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