I’ve been doing a blog/journal – whatever it’s called – since around 2003 at various sites. Occasionally, I will go back and re-read my old entries. I am amazed that I wrote so many words over the years.
Now, at this particular junction of my life, I find I am at a loss for words for my blog here, so here is one entry I wrote 10 years ago, back in 2004, that described a particularly distressing time in my life when I became a victim of crime, and not once but twice! And if any of you actually remember me writing this entry, then Thanks! for hanging around so long with me!
No, it didn’t JUST happen to me, but reading Bev Sykes’ story today about her experience, reminded me of mine.
It was awful.
I lived alone, back around 1979 or so, in a 3rd floor walk-up apartment in Salem. There were open porches up the side of the old building. I lived on the top floor. I worked at Salem Hospital, only about 3 blocks from my apartment. Everyday, I would walk home for lunch.
One day I came home for lunch to find my front door ajar. Not good!
Inside, it wasn’t as bad as the photos in Bev’s journal today – there weren’t things strewn all over the place. But things were missing. The drawers of my dresser in the bedroom were open and messed up. All my spare change (and I had a huge container filled with it) was gone. I also had just bought quite a lot of postage stamps and they were all stolen.
My little tool kit was gone, and my camera (with my name on it) was also missing.
I panicked, called the Police, and they came within a few minutes to take the details and make a report. I was literally shaking in my shoes – to think that some creep(s) had been IN my personal space, rifling thru MY STUFF, and had the nerve to steal some of it!
I called the office where I work and said there was no way I could come back to work today… I kept thinking the creep(s) would return for more of my stuff! Of course, in my head I knew they wouldn’t, but my gut was so twisted into a knot, that I was afraid to leave my little apartment alone again that soon!
Later, I was told by the cops that several homes along my street had been burgled, and mostly what was taken was ready cash, so they assumed it was kids.
I didn’t have any fancy equipment like computers, stereos, etc., so nothing like that was gleaned from this burglary. But my sense of security was gone… just vanished into thin air. My body shook for a good 12 hours. I couldn’t control it.
Every noise convinced me “they” were coming back. I sat in my living room, with eyes glued on the windows leading to the porch, just waiting…
… but they never did come back.
I slept not one minute that whole night. I lay in my bed, alone, listening for any little noise that might be “them.”
In fact, I didn’t sleep for quite a few nights in a row after that, and my work suffered. I had to get back to work the following day, but it was torture to leave my apartment. I’d race home at lunchtime — and again at 5 o’clock, and I didn’t go out much for a long time.
I did have a peep-hole installed on my door, but big deal, there were two windows in the living room that looked out onto my porch anyway!
It took me a very long time to feel safe again.
About a month after this incident, I got a call from the Salem Police. They had caught the thieves, and they had a bunch of “stuff” at the Police Station if I wanted to come down and identify and re-claim any of it. They said there was a camera there with my name on it…so that’s how they knew the stuff was mine. They also had other people’s stuff there, too.
I went down. Yep! There was my camera, and my tool kit. But no jarful of change, and no stamps. I know they took other things, but it’s been so long that I can’t remember it all now – 25 years, in fact. But I’ll never forget that feeling of being violated, like Bev said in her journal… just like that. It was horrible! I can’t imagine how much worse I would have felt if my apartment had been torn apart, either! Honest, hard-working people should not have to go thru things like this!
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After that incident, time went by, and about a year later I was sleeping and woke up all of a sudden around 2:30 a.m. I don’t know why I woke up…there was no noise, but for some reason I got right out of bed…went into my kitchen… saw nothing — but I went to the front door (which was in the kitchen) and peeked thru my peep-hole, and all I could see was orange – like a brilliant sunset or something.
It’s 2:30 in the morning? How can I be seeing a sunset?
I looked thru the hole again, and realized I was seeing flames! Out on my porch!
My body started to shake all over again. What to do? I did have a back stairway going out the other side of the house… but I was almost naked still! No way was I going out into the night like that!
Where was my purse! Darn! I can never find that thing when I need it! Where’s the telephone? Where are my clothes! I struggled to jump into my clothes (it was winter and very cold outside). I dialed “O” and asked for the Salem Fire Dept. Talking and dressing at the same time (there were no mobile phones back in 1979 – at least not for me!). Still searching around for my purse (there was NO way I was going out without that!) the operator – after hearing me yelling that my house was on fire – kept telling me to “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!” and I kept saying “I am I am!”
Within about 5 minutes, the firefighters were there. Up on my 3rd floor porch…pounding on my door. They didn’t know it was me who had called, and they were yelling to get out of the house!
I kept yelling back “I know! I know! I’m going!” and I found my purse and put on my parka and ran down the back stairs out the side door to the front street where the firetrucks were lighting up the night.
Meanwhile, the tenants downstairs were being escorted out to the street, as well, only they didn’t bother getting dressed…they were all wrapped in their blankets and shivering.
I’m sure they were suspicious of me when I came around the corner all dressed, in my clothes and coat AND purse!
It turns out that the boy (teen) who lived downstairs was always in trouble (they were creeps, too!) and some other boy in Salem was “out to get him” – His mother, in fact, told the cops that recently a boy had come to her door and said that “Sean is a dead man!” — but of course, she failed to tell anyone of that!
Someone had taken some of the trash bags from the sidewalk (the following day was trash day for us) and they put them all the way up on MY porch area and doused them with kerosene, and ignited the pile. So it was an assassination attempt on my creep downstairs neighbor!
Well, do you think I could sleep for months after that? No Way!
Finally, after a few years, I met up with my (now) husband, Paul, again, fell in love (again) with him, and we got married and moved away from there.
As the years have passed, my safe and secure feelings have returned, and we’ve been lucky I guess to live in a fairly quiet, out of the way neighborhood. I’m just glad I have Paul and the dogs in the house now with me.
So, that’s my Robbed! story.
I think if NASA continues to build space stations in space, we should seriously think about sending all the criminals up there to live… and we could turn the prisons into affordable housing for the honest, hard-working people left here on earth.
8:07 am – 10 July 2004
The whole reason I went back to these Archives was because I was trying to remember what year we renovated our kitchen. That’s one good thing about doing a blog, you document events in your life and can go back to find things you’ve forgotten, and I’ve been forgetting a LOT lately. So it apparently was in 2003 when we put in our new kitchen here…
Also, in these older entries, wherever there should have been a photo, there isn’t one anymore. My old photo storage sites are gone, and I am using Flickr now. I just hope Flickr will hold on for another decade or two to get me through the last miles of my life on this Earth.
[A complete Archive list can be found HERE from my time spent at Diaryland.]
It’s in every one of us to be wise;
Find your heart, open up both your eyes.
We can all know every thing without ever knowing why.
It’s in every one of us, by and bye.
~ John Denver & The Muppets ~
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