When I was 20, I moved to Marietta, OH with my husband and 4 month old daughter. I had lived within a 20 mile radius in UT my entire life. This was long before Skype, the internet and cell phones. I was basically thousands of miles away from everyone and everything familiar. My husband was at work all day and I was home with a baby and a phone with nobody to call because I didn’t know anybody and long distance was so not in our budget.
One day I was standing on my front porch on 9thstreet, ( a cute street I might add with cobblestones) when I saw my neighbor sitting on his porch across the street. I smiled and waved. The man stared directly at me and did not respond. Thinking, not too confidently, that perhaps he didn’t see my gesture, I waved again. Still, he did not return the wave. Flustered, embarrassed and angry, I retreated into the house.
I racked my brain trying to think of reasons he wouldn’t want me in his neighborhood. Maybe his best friend had lived there before and he was angry that we had moved in. He was older, maybe he thought because we were young that we would be loud and annoying. He had seen me holding my baby; maybe he didn’t like children. He was black; maybe he didn’t like white people.
Day after day he sat on the porch and never recognized my existance as I left my house to gather mail and such.
One day, a different gentleman sat on the porch. Maybe he would be friendlier. Mustering up my courage, I offered a friendly wave. Nothing. No recognition of my presence, only the same stare the other gentleman had extended.
Near tears, I fled to the house contemplating how we could get out of our contract and move somewhere else. Somewhere better. Someplace where people were nicer.
I don’t remember how I ever found out, (it was nearly 25 years ago and I have such fond memories of those men, George and Vernie Flowers, that those first negative memories are a blur) but I eventually did find out that those two, sweet, old men were blind. Blind as bats.
They lived in the house with their sister Dot, her husband Max and Dot and Maxs' two daughters. Dot became a second mother to me and a grandmother to my daughter and the next 2 children I would have. I spent a good part of the 3 ½ years we lived there sitting on that porch, laughing, talking and swinging.
Dot, George and Vernie have long since passed away, but I still talk to Dot’s daughter, Jennifer, regularly. I count her as family even though she’s now married and has 2 kids of her own and lives on the other side of the country.
So, that is why I love the message Looking Through Windows so much because you just never know.
I almost let my insecurity, suspicions, and ill-drawn conclusions keep me from knowing and loving some of the best people I’ll ever meet. Don’t let it happen to you.