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January 31, 2004

Posted by anoddphrase in Uncategorized.

yeah, randomness… we were asked to report on random different ppl we know… this was me 😛



Mr. Frankenbach

April 28, 2003


The Brooks



            The Brooks, my neighbors who live across the street, were the quintessential example of my many grumpy, old, and retired neighbors, most of whom were doctors before they moved into the life of retirement .  They were the only older people rich enough to buy riverfront real estate, though Mr. Brooks was an exception.  He was most definitely old, grumpy, and retired, but he jumped from profession to profession, an electrician for ten years to become a plumber the next five.  I think, he was even a firefighter back in the ‘good old days’.  He and his wife had bought their land and house back when it wasn’t worth nearly as much, otherwise he probably could never have afforded the real estate as it was priced now.

            Mr. Brooks was a constant annoyance to my father.  A thorn in his side and the epitome of a bad neighbor, of which we seemed to have in plenty, though I, personally, never thought so.  This was because, though Mr. Brooks had the most beautiful view of the Hudson River from his wife’s sitting room, he didn’t feel obliged to share it with us.  And he grew incessantly tall trees behind his house, but in front of ours.  My father went to have a neighborly chat with him one day when he finally got fed up with those trees interfering with his perfect river view.  He opted me to go along with him and I did so cheerfully enough.  And that’s the day I met Mr. Brook’s wife.

            His wife had been a schoolteacher and some of my own teachers, upon hearing of my address, brought up her name in a conversation or two, reminiscing about her for a few moments before answering my question about algebra or Latin.  Mrs. Brooks was aging much faster than her husband though she was younger by a few years.  Her spine was already curved and she hunched a bit as she shuffled around showing me the framed pictures of her twenty different prize-winning Persian cats.  Only one of which was still alive and hid stubbornly under an old, puke-colored easy back chair.  She always seemed to wear the same shapeless, floral pastel dress and her snow-white hair, though vastly thinned from the grainy black and white pictures that stood on the fireplace mantel, was still curled in the same exact way, probably the lasting remains of a small cosmetic vanity.  Mr. Brooks, though he tended to be somewhat gruff around his wife, appeared to care very much for her, because he absolutely hated cats and, from my recollection, the Brooks used to own over ten of them.

            One day, when I was laboring up our steep driveway, returning from school, I saw a large, orange and white ambulance parked out in front of the Brooks’ residence.  In the next few weeks, I noticed the appearance of a younger woman who walked her two dogs– one large and the other small, the both ridiculous in their contrast of each other– in high heels wearing only a skimpy shirt and Capri’s when it was less than 30 degrees outside.  Upon talking to this lady, while my mom had been picking up the mail, my ever-nosy mother found that this lady was staying with the Brooks who were her aunt and uncle of some sorts, while Mrs. Brooks recovered from a major stroke.  Mrs. Brooks must have been seriously debilitated if she didn’t care about having two rowdy dog in her house and home and I couldn’t help but wonder if the stubborn cat who never came out from behind the chair was dead yet.




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