Thursday, July 25, 2013

A sad and troubling time ahead

The current events have nothing to do with quilting but everything to do with life on our block.

Tuesday, in the poring rain, a man came to the door while I was babysitting my granddaughter.
He brought a notice that tomorrow he would begin to tear down the house across the "street".

My neighbor and I both gave birth to daughters on the same day over 45 years ago and have been friends since then. In February she was hospitalized and since being released, has gone to live with her daughter. During that time I have been taking care of her beautiful garden.

Many pictures of my quilted runners and banners have been taken hanging from her gate, now ripped off the posts and leaning against the front window.

I asked the man about the garden and he said everything goes ... the whole lot will be cleared.

I went out in the rain annd brought the potted plants I had been tending over to my garden.
(Though I hardly have room for anything more).

When my daughter returned from her work, we both went out again in the rain and removed some choice plants for her to take back to her yard.

Early yesterday morning, there was the beeping of a truck backing down the side ally and then the sound of a chain saw. Down came the beautiful tree full of kumquats, the gardenia bushes, and the trees and hedges.

Then men began tossing furniture and belongings into the dump truck that had backed in.  Later in the day, my daughter and her husband went into the house and rescued some more treasures from the trash dump. I couldn't bring myself to enter but I saw kimono boxes and bedding and all kinds of things that could have been given to the Salvation Army store or Goodwill. My daughter saw old family pictures being junked. They saved some shoji that could be used. some antique tables and vases and a hibachi as well as kitchen items our son-on-loan can use in his new apartment.  Today the men were back tossing belongings into the dump truck from the windows. Now I hear the sound of crashing walls and am rather glad I will be away at the Jamboree when the garden goes.

What I fear, is another construction like the most recent one on the corner of our street. One house of similar size was taken down and three houses were built on that lot. Those houses are all three stories tall and would block the last of the light to our home were they built on the west , two or three meters away from out gate.

Here is a sample. House #1 is on the corner. House #2 is to the right,

Note the space between the two houses. It might be 30 inches at the widest . The red fence id ine foot wide.

Here is house #3. That space between is also about a foot at the widest. there are windows along those walls but all are with shutters closed. Not much of a view, I would say.

These houses face a street wide enough for a car so include a parking area under a second floor over-hang.

I don't know what might happen on our tiny street. I don't know what would be worse, three or four houses like this, or a huge four-story apartment building like we already have across the street to the east.

Here is Leia with a treasure she picked up before it headed to the land-fill.

Well, it is a bit big for a five-year-old... even one fast-growing girl with one wiggly tooth. With her Papa's help, she got in some road time.

We will have a few treasures to remember our dear friend but right now, I am feeling more than a little bit sad.

Quilt stuff tomorrow.


  1. So sad, indeed! It's very hard seeing a lifetime and memories going destroyed in a snap... Fortunately, what lies in your heart will remain.
    I'm in heartful thoughts with you and your neighbour friend, Julie.


  2. Oh my goodness,that is very sad. I am surprised that they did not want to salvage the furnishings and it would have been so nice if you had enough warning to move the plants.

  3. I'm so sorry all that destruction is going on in your neighborhood, Julie. It's so unreal that no one was given the chance to remove anything and place these items where they could possibly be used by someone needing them. I'm glad you were able to remove a few items to remember your friend although I know she will always be in your thoughts. Prayers for you and your friend.

  4. I would rather see a apartment building than houses so close together - I wouldn't be able to live in a house that was so close to another although I know in the huge cities it is like that here too. We live in the country - I can't even think of that!

  5. That is so sad! It seems like even around my city they are building homes closer together and taller to get the most for their money. Sweet bike--I can't believe that would have gone to the dump.

  6. I am not surprised you feel sad I would be devastated! to just "throw away" her life like that is so sad ... I dont understand how it could be destroyed like that xx hope it is not too awful a development that is built across from you x.. loving the picture of the bike x

  7. So sorry. There will be even more changes by the time you return from the family reunion. It is hard to see old memories torn down and discarded.

  8. It's all so very sad. Sad that the woman's family had no need for family "treasures." I can understand not wanting things but photographs! Glad that you and your family were able to recover some items. I hope you don't lose your sun with the new building.

  9. That is truly sad and I would have gone in and taken what I could. Like you said, there are families would would have loved to have those things. I hope that they build a nice home that fits in with the older homes and not something that crowds the area.


  10. After 30+ years in Japan I feel most people accept a 'disposable' lifestyle; use an object till its worn out and then toss it out. Houses are not done up, but pulled down, cars are not cared for and cherished until they become vintage collectables, but traded in for a new model after a few years, there are brand new clothes each season and things you no longer want end up on the dump, not the charity shop...
    I am glad you had the chance to salvage some of the household goods, and the bike!!! As for the plants, they will love to live in your garden, Julie.
    Be prepared to welcome FOUR new families; houses get smaller and smaller.

  11. So heartbreaking. I wouldn't be able to watch given that I couldn't intervene. It makes me sad to read about it. The barely repressed hoarder in me surfaces with stories like yours. I hope you don't get another tower built in its place.

  12. I can relate in a small way. My dear friend and neighbor passed away in February. We rescued several of her things, including the American flag given in honor of her late husband's service to our country. I couldn't believe the family didn't want that, of all things. I told them we would remember him and his service. His flag is in our home and we will remember him.

  13. I could hardly stand to read your post. I can't imagine how awful it was for you to have to watch and hear everything. Incredibly sad.

  14. Happened across the road from us. Old bungalow with established garden, including the best decorative double petalled boke ever. Presumably the aged owner moved on to smaller accommodation, or died. Garden torn up. The two 2-storey houses are, I guess, nice enough, and probably better inside than the bungalow was, but small parking spaces of concrete instead of big garden outside. :-( And the ownder (our landlady) had awful trouble flogging the houses - it can hardly have been a good investment.

    Down the road there was/is an instance of it so bad that a petition actually appeared in our letter box (which of course we signed)! Didn't stop it of course. Big grand old house with massive garden is being turned into a concrete block of overpriced coffins and, unbelievably, one of those car vending machines for all their cars. There are supposed to be housing regulations in Kamakura! It is appalling, and everyone was appalled (is still? I'm not sure - I think it's "shouganai" now for most). I have trouble even walking that way. The fact that the company are selling the apartments at super-high prices based on the name of the former house that they ripped up is particularly disgusting. When they break up a grand old house into flats in Europe, people still get to live in part of the grand old house (usually in some splendor!).

  15. I'm so sorry to hear this, Julie! I can well imagine the harsh noise and dust and the sadness you are feeling. Hang in there dear friend.

  16. Queeniepatch hit it on the head. A disposable society. I too can imagine your heartbreak, especially when the home was owned by someone you knew. It is too bad that the family didn't want the things owned by their mother but that is the way all over I think. More reason to value the things we have when we have them and then give them away ourselves when we can no longer care for them. I know MY kids aren't going to be able to distribute all MY stuff someday, they probably won't even get to Japan to look. Just sign a paper and be done with it. I would like to be the type of person who just gives and gives until there is nothing left to throw away.

  17. Oh dear, change is horrible isn't it?

  18. Sad indeed. I wonder why her daughter did not clear out her house before selling. Too bad but nice you were able to save some things from the dump.

  19. Very sad and scary too Julie. How are you and your neighbors? Leia is so beautiful!! God bless you.

  20. Mom, I'm so sad to read this news and see the destruction. You know I hate change, and this is of the worst sort -- wonderful of you and Norie to salvage what you could from the garden. Where we live, it's almost no effort to post free pick-up items on line, and see them disappear quickly - no excuse for anything usable to go into a landfill, even mature woody plants! We finally got rid of our pile of old chimney bricks this year in no time, by posting on line.