My Neighbor is a Witch but so am I

Margaret-Hamilton-Wicked-Witch-WizardofOz

I have mentioned my neighbor Mrs Wheatgrass in the past and have whimsically called her my nemesis.  This was probably due to the fact that my plans included this being temporary. I have always wanted to win her over.  I am a big believer in “turning the other cheek.”  And that everyone can be “killed with kindness.”  This is something I have preached about and I really do believe it but let me tell you; Mrs. Wheatgrass is one tough nut to crack.

neighborhood yellow brick road

She and her family moved in next door about seven years ago. It was late August just before the onset of another school year.  My son and I were taking a walk around the neighborhood.  We were engaged in some sort of conversation when we spied a moving van in front of the beige house next door.  My son was excited. He wondered if the new people moving in would have a son his age.  We saw a blonde  woman in brown shorts exit the front door and we immediately went up to her. We introduced ourselves and welcomed her to the neighborhood. My son who was about 10 or 11 at the time, had been working on his handshake and extended his hand.  She asked him what grade he was going into. When he told her, she looked at him doubtfully and then me.  She informed us in no uncertain terms that as an educator she knew he must be a year younger. “I can vouch for him, I’m his Mom” I said half joking.  She seemed to doubt me too. I thought this strange at the time. My son was a little upset. His fragile preteen pride was damaged somewhat but I saw it as a teachable moment.

Maybe this is all a misunderstanding” I told him.  “She she could have misspoke or we could have misheard her.”  I advised that we should give her the benefit of the doubt and so we did.

Whenever I saw my new neighbor I would smile warmly and say hello.  She seemed about my age. She had a friendly husband and a sweet little daughter who was a baby at the time.  I thought we could become friends. Most of the people in my neighborhood at the time were elderly and I was looking forward getting to know her.

The scarecrow doubts my advice

She seemed wary of me and I just chalked it up to shyness.  I am shy myself. It has been a lifelong handicap that I fight to this day.   So I kept it up. I would smile and wave. I would say hello and try to engage her in small  talk but to no avail.  MM joked that she was afraid of me. I could be coming on too strong. I tend to overcompensate for my shyness by being “over friendly’  so I backed off. I would smile and say hello but that was it.

Time passes as it does.  She added to her family with another cute daughter. I would hear them in their backyard whenever I would be working outside. Back then I was able to spend more time on my yard and I have to say it looked nice. Green, well-manicured and full of colorful flowers.   I was working this time in the front yard, carefully weeding around our newly planted Yoshino Cherry tree when Mrs Wheatgrass approached me.

neighbor Wizard-Of-Oz-witch_l

A-ha! Obviously my friendly vibes were winning her over, I thought.  “How can you stand that?”  She asked and gestured to our crazy neighbor who was parked in front of his house blaring his radio and yelling “Yeah!” over and over.  I laughed.  I agreed it wasn’t easy putting up with him but at least his taste in music was good.  “Aren’t you going to call the police?” she asked.  I said no.  I told her that I liked his music and frankly that was not a good reason to call the police.  She said that he scared her.  I told her that he was loud but harmless. “Just try to ignore him” I replied. I said the wrong thing I suppose and she walked off in a huff.

I think back to that time now and I regret not being more sympathetic.  I admit I was a bit put off.  If she was so concerned why didn’t she call the cops herself? Why ask me?

I wrote about this exchange at the time and that is when I actively set out to kill her with kindness.  I will win her over I thought. Maybe her life isn’t so rosy. Maybe she needs to feel understood.

neighbor dorothy and toto

One day about three years ago during the onset of the “great recession” I was again walking in the neighborhood, this time with MM when we saw her out walking too. This was surprising since we had never seen her do this before. She approached us with a  worried face. MM asked her what was wrong. She told us she had just lost her job. We said how sorry we were. She thanked us and wisely mentioned it could be a blessing in disguise because now she’d be able to spend more time at home with her daughters.   Tragedy has the capability of bringing out the best in people.    I thought of Mrs Wheatgrass and her two adorable daughters and how they would benefit from being able to spend more time together.

But there it was, Monday morning and like always there they were at seven a.m. like clockwork, lunch pails in their tiny hands waiting by the van door to be let in. Daycare again, but why?  I thought it was almost like she was still working. She would dutifully take her daughters off to daycare and then return home and stay inside until it was time to pick them up.

I knew it was none of my business, but my heart ached for those little girls and for Mrs Wheatgrass. Being a parent I know all too well how fast children grow. Every moment is precious. How could she just send them off like that when she didn’t have to?

I suppose it is not my place to judge I thought…and I remembered a quote…

oz the great and powerful

“Never judge others. You both know good and well how unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life.”
― Colleen Hoover

More time passed and Mrs W and I had many more interactions. I’ve gone over them in my mind, trying to figure out where I went wrong.  What could I have done differently?  Maybe it was the times I weeded the side yard we both share, maybe it was when I didn’t have the time and  stopped the weeding.  It could be that that I worked at home. She did snidely call me retired from time to time.

It was as if we had this undeclared competition between us with the yards. I would be out working in mine. This was my hobby. I enjoy it. I love plants, this makes me happy. I am not trying to outdo anyone.  Every time she’d see me out in the front yard she’d send her husband out to work on theirs. He didn’t seem to be enjoying himself. I sort of felt bad. It was as if it was my fault he had to dig up dandelions.   What can I do? I thought and just kept on keeping on… it is what it is…or at least it was what it was…

…until our home business started to wither and slow down to a crawl and I returned to the workforce.   This changed things at home, inside and out.  Our well manicured lawn turned brown and the backyard went wild. I am not proud of this but again, it is what it is.  My weeks are full and my weekends are even fuller.  My beloved hobby took a backseat to the more pressing matters of day to day life.

TreeWiz

It was a sunny Saturday a few weeks ago. The Wheatgrasses had just removed a mature tree from their side, a tree that provided shade for much of our yard. Big branches fell down on our side and onto our tomato plants.  MM asked the men cutting down the tree if they could please remove the branches when they were done.  The men were very nice about it and cheerfully did as MM asked, obviously this did not sit well with Mrs W because when MM came in from the yard he had just had a heated exchange with her and was visibly upset.

She said our fence is rotten, our yard is an overgrown mess and there is ivy growing everywhere.” She yelled at me and said we better do something about it.”  I hardly ever see MM like this.  His face was red and he was shaking.  I admit our mutual fence is weathered-looking but it is sturdy and frankly we don’t have the money for a new one.

I’ll talk to her” I said and went over to see her.  I knew that if I explained the situation she would understand.  It was if she was waiting for me.  Before I could get within two feet of her she smirked and said in a condescending tone “You’re upset about the tree aren’t you?”  Before I could answer she yelled to the workmen who were taking a break on her lawn.  “I bet you get this all the time!” I could tell from the looks on their faces they wanted nothing to do with the whole thing. I instantly felt sorry for them…and me.

“I would have liked some warning about the tree.  It’s removal did change the whole micro-climate of the backyard. I will have to move some plants but I know it was an old tree and it needed to be done.  No, it’s not that…”

You damn tree-hugger!

You damn tree-hugger!

She cut me off before I could finish….”I don’t have time for this.” she said and looked to her van parked in the driveway.

At this point I admit that I was getting angry. I am very protective of the people I love. She had upset MM and now she was working on upsetting me.  I am a small person and it takes a lot to get me going but once I do I am like a mighty lion and my roar can move mountains….

ROAR!!!

ROAR!!!

Knowing this I backed off.  I could see it was going nowhere.  I said we’d talk later and I went back inside.  MM was worried…I told him that she had no power to make us pay for a new fence…I jokingly referred to one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies The Wizard of Oz…when Glinda The Good Witch says to the The Wicked one…

witches-question

“You have no power here! Begone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!”

Wicked Witch of the East with Dorothy's house that has fallen on her

Wicked Witch of the East with Dorothy’s house that has fallen on her

A couple of days went by. I asked my son if he could help by cleaning up the ivy next to the fence. As he was working he overheard Mrs. Wheatgrass talking in a nasty tone to someone in her backyard.  “They’re having their long-haired son doing it now.

That was it!  He was hurt, MM was hurt and I’d had it!  The lion was ready to roar when Glinda took over and asked?

Are you a good witch?

 I had my answer. I simmered down and thought for a while…

Why does this bother me,  I ask myself?  So what if she doesn’t like me or never did?  So what if she is prejudiced against my family? Is it this rejection or is it something deeper? Is it a rejection not just of me but my ideals. I set out for her to like me, when she didn’t I tried to win her over. I thought surely she’d like me after she found out how nice I am, but she didn’t.  There is a lesson here…

 WIZARD-OF-OZ_

I ran across the following quotes which fit the bill…

“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.”

~Rita Mae Brown

and

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

~Ann Landers

I’m taking a page from Glinda, Ann and Rita, putting on my Ruby slippers and going for a walk around the neighborhood, It may not be Kansas but it’s pretty nice here too….after all there’s no place like home…

Have a great day!

Strawberryindigo.

These are made for walkin'

These are made for walkin’

 

Somewhere over the rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole   (YouTube) Beautiful version of this song!

I Am A Witch (neverquitebroken.wordpress.com)

Detroit Neighborly Love (abeautifuldetroit.wordpress.com)

Neighbors help save family in house fire in north San Antonio (kens5.com)

Man in custody after attacking neighbor with chainsaw on South Side (wgntv.com)

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43 thoughts on “My Neighbor is a Witch but so am I

  1. Oh my goodness Nancy – I do feel sorry for you with such a neighbour right next door! That final quote about letting go is soooo true and I hope you manage to do it as well. I am similar in that I want people to like me, so I understand the feeling of being affronted! Don’t let her get you down!

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    • Cathy, writing this was quite therapeutic. I needed to be honest with how I felt and move on. It’s funny…her cat keeps coming over to my house. We call the cat Ebony and she is there on the back porch to greet me every morning. I think she likes the vibes over here better. In a way it is a kind of revenge that her pet spends more time with us than her. Animals are very good judges of character I think. :D

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  2. Ugh, she is obviously a very unhappy person. I’m like you; I would have tried to win her over several times. After a couple of insults, though, I think I would quit! Sorry you have to endure this situation. Here’s another quote: “You can’t change the people around you, you can only change the way they affect you.”

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  3. Nancy, I never read about Mrs. Wheatgrass before this post, and I have to say I admire how you’re handling — I mean, living next door to — her. ;-) My hubby and I also have a Mrs. Wheatgrass in our lives. Mr. Macho Man lives across the street from us, and he seems to hate everyone. He and hubby have had their confrontations (the details of which I’ll not go into but they unfortunately involved a court and a judge), but now we seem to have formed a peaceful coexistence in which we just mostly ignore each other. And compared to the “before,” this “after” works much better for all of us.

    Life just happens and things change, sometimes for the not-so-much-better. I like to say that God is moving us from one comfort zone to the next, because after a period of time in the “new normal,” there is always a time when it becomes your new comfort zone.

    Blessings to you and your family!
    ~Anna

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    • Oh Anna. I do so much agree with you about God moving us from one comfort to the next. It would get boring otherwise and we wouldn’t grow and become better people if it were not so.
      Blessings to you and yours too my friend! :)

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  4. I take my hat of to you for having so much self control. I also use the “kindness” method, but sometimes even that doesn’t work, then we have to just simply walk away. Having her as a neighbor though must make walking away rather difficult though. :)

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  5. Good for you! I am the type of person who does quite often turn the other cheek, try to be kind, and not cause waves but things like this, while I am smiling on the outside, eat me up inside. I have a hard time moving on from negative connections like this, so I am glad you are able to do so – very healthy. Plus I love all the Wizard of Oz woven through. We watched the prequel to it with the boys a couple weeks ago and they loved it! I think it is time to bust out the original and see what they think. :-)

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  6. Wow, simply wow…you are doing the right thing. She seems like one of those people who thrive off of conflict and negativity. She is probably just lashing out at you because that is her way to feel better, and since you didn’t feed into it before now she is targeting those you love hoping to get a rise. What a…I think she doesn’t deserve the title of witch, maybe crazed-she-bat?

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    • Hey Niaaeryn, I must admit she probably doesn’t deserve the title of witch but it did fit in the the Wizard of Oz theme and the title was fun…I took liberties with that. I’m a writer after all…I do wished I could have fit the flying monkeys in somewhere though.

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  7. Amazingly beautiful post! We may neither be able to make everyone like us, nor be able to win everyone over, but we can always be the best of ourselves.
    Let’s always do what is right, not because it is reciprocated, but because it is worth doing.
    Keep being as good as you can, my dear. You have done nothing wrong, and even if you have, you deserve to be forgiven as much as you have forgiven her and made excuses for her.
    Very engaging story and so full of lessons too! :)

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  8. Pingback: For Me?! You Shouldn’t Have! | My OCD Diaries

  9. An all time favorite of mine. Love the new one too which was a prequel of how the witch was created. My son watch it with me. I think he’ll be scared with the first. The witch’s face is just terrifying with the original. As for having witches as neighbors, don’t we have a few of them all the time. Ha, ha, ha.

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  10. ‘hehe’ – in a way I always like witches, and I love to bring up their education – it calls on the little “devil” in me – my former neighbor’s sister in law was a ‘real’ witch and she was very contrary when she visited them – so I was always invited too and had to sit next to her at the dinner table – “I’m counting on you,” said my neighbor woman always with a smile – and it works fine – the first time she was probably a little shocked to meet one who was unimpressed by her try on intrigue – and then she was acting like everybody else at the table – even witches can be sweet, if we don’t let them olay their game… :-) ;-)

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    • Hello Drake. I don’t blame her. I would love to sit next to you at the dinner table. I’m sure you’d make a terrific dining companion…so dashing in black. I bet your attentions would even cause my neighbor to be sweet. ;)

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  11. I’m so sorry to hear that you have to deal with this woman neighbor. It makes me wonder if she has some mental problem. I don’t know how her daughters and husband live with her and her madness everyday… Maybe it’s better to avoid her much as you can.

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  12. Ah, grasshopper . . . the first lesson went well. Learning to not care about what others think is something that comes natural to a few, but coming to it later in life is the next best thing.

    The next lesson is to stop trying to make friends. Perhaps not with everyone, but with that one for sure seems like it would be an easy lesson to master. Stop the waving, stop the hoping, stop the conciliatory attitude . . . some people are richards, and richards they will remain. At some point you might even learn the fine art of letting them know that without having to actually say it out loud, but that requires a particular shift in thinking . . . all in good time.

    As far as yards, they are a lot like clothes . . . if someone objects to them, they are most welcomed to give me money for new ones.

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  13. I enjoyed reading this, thank you! :[-) I’m glad you commented on my recent post which led me here. The title of this post caught my attention because I too had a recent encounter with a nasty neighbor who, thankfully, has already moved out. I felt the impulse to share my experience and insights but I set it aside, waiting for the “right” moment. Admittedly, I was still full of anger and didn’t want to merely vent in my blogging. And this post served as a reminder, and an inspiration, for me to remove it from the shelf and blog about it. Again, thank you and much blessings to you…Namaste… ♥♥♥NadineMarie♥♥♥

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  14. I had such a neighbor for over two years. She was elderly and during the time she and I were neighbors I made $3,000 to $4,000 worth of improvements to the property line (fence, etc.) to try to make her comfortable with me. None of it ever worked and in the end I had to accept that you are just never going to reach some people; that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt my feelings and there weren’t nights I didn’t sleep.

    The Wizard of Oz is my favorite; I love the photos.

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    • Hello Charlie, I think from the responses I have been getting from this post that many do have problem neighbors. Frankly I like the crazy guy two doors down better. I’m glad you like the Wizard of Oz too, I am forever quoting this movie and have seen it at least 10 times.

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  15. I always seem to be able to relate to your posts, not sure in this case if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’ve had a few experiences with … neighbor witches, in fact one lives next door, with 2 dogs (large) one vicious that tries to push the fence planks (yes our fence is old too, lol) through so he can try to bite us and we have called authorities etc, and when I did attempt to have a conversation with the lady of the house, she almost bit my head off (like the dog tries to do)! So I totally relate and emphasize with you on this one. Excellent, excellent post here! I did laugh quite a bit even as I was getting angry with your b… witch myself! :) xx

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  16. I suspect those two daughters are much better off going to day care! Some folks are just so miserable they poison the air around them. Best to avoid whenever possible.

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  17. This poor woman doesn’t like herself; how can she like anything or anyone else? She probably thought her life would be perfect when she grew up, and it isn’t. So now she wants to take it out on anyone and everyone around her. I feel sorry for her and for her husband – and especially for those two darling daughters.

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