Just about every morning for the eight-plus years we’ve lived in our house, the day arrives with the light of sunrise spilling over the head of our bed. And just about every morning, whether scrambling to get the children to school or in my nightgown working, , I’ve marked the time between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. when a big green pickup truck passed in front of my house, morning sun flashing from the windshield.
“There’s Linda,” my husband would say. “Gone to get cigarettes!”
And yes, that was indeed where she had gone. Before you knew it, she’d be walking down the street with one of the said cigarettes hanging from the corner of her mouth, wearing her ubiquitous Washington Redskins T-shirt and jeans, a plastic liter bottle of Coca-Cola in hand, ready to do good for the world.
Linda, as you’ve doubtlessly now figured out, was our neighbor. She lived in another of the ubiquitous brick 1940s Colonials that line our street, though hers technically belonged to Mary, her longtime partner. The family was Irish-Catholic and large—the kind that filled the neighborhood when Prince George’s County was still mainly white—but siblings had scattered to the winds, the way families now do, and by the time we moved in, it was just Linda and Mary. [Read more…]