It appears that the Crankee Yankee and I have upset someone’s applecart here in our little town. Having never been in trouble with the law in my life, I am a bit shocked by what is happening to us now. Here’s the story.
We live on a small, somewhat narrow street (24′ wide; often a squeeze to have two cars pass each other) with no sidewalks. We live near the curve of the street, and, despite a “25 MPH” sign on the street, people zoom right through, and often do not stop at the stop sign. Our seniors, school kids, bike riders, walkers and skateboarders are more than a little nervous about being on our street because of this. We have two indoor/outdoor cats who like to cross the street to the green space on the other side of the road, and we have had some near misses with them. So we usually have to be outside to watch out for them.
We have lived on this street since 2007, and the Crankee Yankee’s family has lived at this address since 1960. We have been renovating and repairing the house since 2007. The Crankee Yankee is a retired carpenter, concrete construction superintendent and former building inspector for the town of Londonderry. He does all the work on our house himself, and, as we are on a fixed income, we pay cash upfront. We wish that we had the resources do everything at once, but we are doing the best we can with what we have.
We have been parking his truck and my SUV on the street so that the Crankee Yankee can use the driveway as his work area. We are trying to sell our older Toyota T-100, and have it parked on one side of the driveway. Having our two vehicles parked on the street by our house has actually helped in slowing traffic down. Soon after this, we had two separate police visits about this (no doubt responding to a complaint), and both smiled and said, “I see that you are trying to slow traffic down.”
The Crankee Yankee said that yes, besides giving him room to work in the driveway it did indeed slow things down. The officers had told him to ‘keep up the good work.’
Soon after that, it became an issue with a capital I; it seems that someone with some pull in the town has complained and we were then told to get the vehicles off the street. We explained the situation to the police chief, and he appeared to understand. We agreed that, after the Crankee Yankee’s work was done for the day, we would park one of the vehicles beside the T-100, leaving the smaller car on the street, parked close to the curb.
That seemed to work for a while. Then evidently the police received more complaints, and we received more visits. The latest one ended with the news that the town is going to put up a “No Parking” sign right in front of our house. We can park a vehicle behind the sign, but since we will have to park one car beside the T-100, it means that the Crankee Yankee will not be able to work in the driveway. Since our garage is under construction, all his equipment he uses each day; table saw, tools, wheel barrows, concrete blocks, bags of cement, rakes, ladders, etc. take up a good part of the driveway.
Our eight raised bed gardens in front of our house means that he can’t work there, so he will have to work on the side of the street by the No Parking sign, and hope that he doesn’t get sideswiped by a passing car. We have also been told that we must now remove everything from our driveway (except cars of course), and get rid of the T-100 we have been trying to sell.
At this point I have feel we have some kind of target on our backs. We keep on asking why this has suddenly become a problem and why can’t we know who we are upsetting? We are getting no answers, and I wonder if the next step will be villagers with torches trying to run us out of town, a la old Frankenstein movies.
We have addressed the speeding and traffic volume concerns at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting, with the result that they will meet again next month. I have written a letter to the editor of our local newspaper to explain our situation; it will be published this week. I have no idea if it will do any good, but I am hopeful.
I fail to understand why, as decent people, good citizens and helpful neighbors, we seem to be singled out. As far as we know, we are not breaking any laws or violating any town ordinances. Neither I or the Crankee Yankee have ever been in trouble with the law, destroyed any property, hurt anyone, passed a bad check, stolen anything, sold drugs to children, or supported ISIS. I wonder most of all why we are not allowed to know who is applying pressure on the powers that be. We can’t seem to get a clear answer.
I’m sorry that this isn’t my usual type of post; no funny stuff, thought-provoking comments, poetry or haiku, or upbeat ‘ain’t life grand’ post, but this situation is weighing heavily on my mind and I have temporarily lost my ability to “rise above.”
If this can happen to people like us, what’s next?