Let's Talk with Lois Winston
Characters All Around Us
Years ago, when we purchased our home in New Jersey, I suspected an elderly, infirmed couple on a limited income lived in the dilapidated house across the street. Much to my surprise, after moving in, I discovered the owners were a couple in their late thirties or early forties, with two children, a teenage boy and adolescent girl.
I began to refer to the husband and wife as the Stoop Sitters. They’d camp out on the top step of the landing for hours at a time, either together or individually. Just sitting and smoking, never conversing with each other. Often the husband would remove his shirt and recline supine on the concrete porch, his massive stomach pointing heavenward. He’d remain that way for hours, apparently napping.
When Mr. Stoop Sitter wasn’t sprawled bare-chested on the landing, he’d spend hours mowing his lawn. Except, the “lawn” was a barren patch of packed dirt and weeds. Yet, he’d spend hours walking behind that mower, trimming the nonexistent grass of his extremely small front yard. Back and forth, back and forth, over the same few hundred square feet until the mower ran out of gas. The next day, after refilling the mower, the scene would repeat, continuing each day until the first snowfall.
Just so you know, I’m no voyeur. I worked from home, and my office was in the front of our house. Due to the configuration of the room, my desk was positioned in front of the window that looked out onto the street. It was impossible not to notice the Stoop Sitters.
One day, I was working at my computer when my concentration was broken by a cat fight. Not a cat fight between two cats, though. This was a cat fight between two women. And it was over a man. Mrs. Stoop Sitter was accusing the other woman of trying to steal her husband. The assault was completely verbal. Luckily, no slapping, punching, or hair-pulling ensued. Just lots of accusations and name-calling.
I glanced down the street, expecting to see a camera crew hidden in the bushes of one of the other homes. The scene was right out of a reality TV episode. Eventually, Mrs. Stoop Sitter hurled one last warning, stormed up the steps and entered her house, slamming the door behind her. The other woman turned around and walked down the street. I never saw her again.
They say there’s someone for everyone. What I had observed certainly proved that adage. Mr. Stoop Sitter was no one’s idea of a catch, at least as far as I was concerned, but the scene outside my window had proved otherwise.
Eventually, the Stoop Sitters sold the house to a developer who tore it down and built a McMansion on the postage-size plot of land. A neighbor told me Mr. Stoop Sitter had inherited his parents’ home where he’s probably still stoop-sitting, stoop-napping, and mowing the dirt seventeen years after I last saw him. (And yes, I’m considering using this as part of a future plot. How could I not? After all, I’m a mystery author.)
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photo credit: door image pixabay; bird image dreamstime
Posted in Let's Talk, with Lois Winston • Tags: A Stitch to Die For, Anastasia Pollack, Characters All Around Us, cozy mystery, Lois Winston | 44 Comments