Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Next Door Neighbors Part 2

We moved from the old house and Mrs. Crevistan the summer after 3rd grade. I would live in the next house until I got married for the first time. My Dad still lives there. We had a few next door neighbors there, but the one who lived there when we moved in was the most fun.

Milton was about 55 years old. He lived in the house with his elderly mother. Milton was as flamboyant as a middle class Liberace might have been. He pranced around in his silk shirts, making sure to leave the top buttons undone to reveal his gold chains, and white, hairy chest. He loved diamonds, and had lots of them dripping from his fingers in the form of very large, gaudy rings. He always drove big, flashy cars. Milton had wonderful dishes. He had beautiful stemware and big gold goblets. He had chandeliers, candelabras, and outlandish furniture. Milton had the most wonderful record collection; Don Ho and Liberace. They would let me play the records whenever I wanted. They knew I'd be very careful with them. I respected them and loved listening to this music that seemed so exciting and foreign to me.

Shortly after we moved in, Milton and his mother had a pool installed. Milton would parade around with the gold chains and Speedo bikini shorts. It was a sight. He had a very large, round belly, and skinny sticks for legs.

Milton had a girlfriend. A very large, very loud red head. It all seemed for show really, at least to me. But Milton always put on the "tough guy" act. He'd talk about getting into fights with practical jokers at work, and bloodying their noses. So it just became one of those situations where you just didn't think much about it, and let it go.

Milton's mother was the epitome of a classy, elderly lady. I loved her very much. She would sit out on the back porch and keep an eye on me so I could come to swim in the summer. She told my mother I looked like a little goddess out there swimming around the pool. When she died, Milton gave my mother a fabulous pearl necklace and earrings that belonged to her. He told my mother they were to be mine one day. He also gave her a large, beautiful mirror; again, with the understanding that when I had a house of my own, it was to be mine. That mirror is hanging in my dining room, and the pearls are in my jewelry box. I wore them in my wedding. They are among my most prized possessions.

Another item I acquired from Milton, was a set of multi colored tin drinking cups. I saw them in the garage one day and once he knew I had my eye on them, they became mine. I drank out of them all the time. Years later, when I was pregnant with my son, I actually picked one of them up and hurled it at my husband's head. Thanks to his cat-like reflexes, he ducked just in time. He accused me of trying to kill him. I was pregnant, it was Derby week, he was hours late getting home, and he'd been to a strip club. Hell yeah, I was trying to kill him! I'm not sure where those cups are now.

Milton didn't live too long after his mother died. His spending became over the top, and debt started piling up. He ended up selling the house. He moved into an apartment and things seemed to start falling apart. Milton developed cancer and died a year or so later. I'm not sure how old he was at the time, but probably in his mid 60's.

There have been other neighbors in that house. Most of which I've probably mentioned in this blog. The next was the lady who started my mother drinking, ultimately landing her in rehab for a month. The next was a young guy who had wild pool parties that went way in to the wee hours. The day after those, my dad would go out at 7:00 a.m. and start up the lawn mower and roll it next to their bedroom window, then go in the house. The current neighbors are the Vietnamese family.

What a wonderful, over-the-top, colorful man Milton was. I loved him. I loved his mother. I smile now as I think of them. I will never forget them.

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