When I heard the news story about three young women who were separately kidnapped over ten years ago were found alive living in a makeshift dungeon in the basement of a suburban home I was horrified, shocked and mystified. When I heard it was in Cleveland I was not surprised. What seemed unexplainable to me is how these girls could have been held captive in the same suburban home for over a decade without anyone ever noticing anything odd. Without a neighbor or passer by seeing something that may have caused them to alert the local police.
Maybe I'm living in the past? I remember growing up in the suburbs knowing all the people (kids & adults) in the neighborhood. On hot days Mrs. Chapman would call us into her front hall for Ice Cream. We never feared she would tie us up and lock us in the attic. Mrs. Boardman would warn us to clear the street during stick ball games in when cars were coming. And tip an extra quarter when we delivered her paper directly to her hands. She never tried to molest us. We knew that the Deldonos would always pretend not to be home on Halloween (Cheap) and that. Which was fine since we needed a place to throw the rotten eggs we got from The Simpsons ducks. Lifelong friendships were made. Crushes came and went. You could count on your neighbors to watch out for you. And you had their backs. Anytime and odd or unfamiliar person showed up on the street you best believe the cops were called.
What happened this week in Cleveland makes me realize today we don' know who most of our neighbors are. We spend years living side by side with people who could be anything from murderers to meth addict and creeps. We keep our windows locked on even the hottest nights. We live as isolated strangers. Captive in our homes. And if we're lucky all we ever do with our neighbors is exchange insincere hellos and good mornings while passing each other in the street. Then world has become a detached lonely place. I miss knowing everyone in my neighborhood. I miss that innocence. Hell, I even miss the cheap ass Deldanos. But, sadly, those days are long gone and that's The Bitter Truth.