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Life as a Scot in California

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“Age Disna Come Its Lane…” My Granny used to say.

Posted by berkeleyscot on March 29, 2008

Last week, as I was walking home from the shops, a neighbour called out to me. “Call the police if you see somebody at my door!”

“Has someone been trying to break into your house?” I asked. I would not have been surprised if this was the case. There have been a few burglaries in the area and someone even tried to break into my house a few years ago. I was at home at the time and I know how unsettling that can be.

But I was very unsettled when my neighbour told me that is was her daughter who had been breaking into her house and had stolen checks, compromising her back account.

I asked her if she’d changed her locks. “Yes! But my daughter STILL gets in!”

I asked her what the police had done about it. She waved her hands vaguely and looked confused.

I suddenly realised that my neighbour was completely changed. For the 20 years we have been neighbours, she had always been impeccably dressed in subdued colours and understated jewelry. She had been full of energy, living happily independent in her small house and was always delighted to chat when we met.

Now I was talking to a dishevelled stranger. The neighbour I had known had gone away. I’d seen her as recently as three weeks before.

I started to feel skeptical about what she had told me about her daughter stealing from her. I did not know her daughter and the fact that my neighbour believed that she was still able to get into the house after she’d had the locks changed alarmed me.

I noticed that my neighbour had a sign indicating she had a home alarm system installed and asked if she activated it at night. “Oh No! It makes too much noise!”

My neighbour was anxious and my questions had added to her confusion.

I visited her the next day and offered to help her in anyway she needed. She’d told me she was going away and needed to prepare to leave her house. But, on that visit, she’d forgotten my name and that we’d talked the day before.

Now, it occurred to me that she might think I’d come to steal from her! Oh dear! I was a stranger in her house and any attempt to help her pack might confuse her further, so I did nothing.

I’ve heard a relative is coming to take her to live with her in another state and will deal with all the logistics of the move.

I’ll say goodbye to her, but I’ve already said goodbye to the neighbour I used to know.

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