Family Snapshot

English: Looking northwest at Collyer brothers...

English: Looking northwest at Collyer brothers Park on a cloudy late afternoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She had gone to the park out of curiosity.  Here in her city, was something of legend, a mental and emotional thing that captivated people across the lines of time and here also was a place that sat in monument to that. The events were not great, they were in fact quite monstrous, but the powers that be felt that they should catalog and memorialize this thing. So she went to the little pocket park out of curiosity. Or that is what she told herself at the time.

It was collier’s park. It was the site of the infamous and famous Collyer brothers and the first massive and publicized case of extreme hoarding. The phenomena now seems to be part of everyday life for some people, spawning TV shows and jokes but then , at the first part of last century it was an oddity. People barely had enough, less on more than enough to the point of extreme excess. But here in her city was a monument to the most extreme.

She sat in the pocket park, thinking of what could have made these two men, college educated yet shiftless and unemployed, stay in this home, amassing tons of garbage and although having the money to do so, not ever paying for the simplest of “luxuries” like electricity or food. She sat there until she was roused from her reverie by a cat. He was scarred in some long ago cat battle for food to territory, having a squashed pan flat face and dirty bedraggled tail the creature was not of the cuddly kitty variety. Something about the knowing way that it looked at her gave her the creeps and she suddenly realized that she was, in fact, on the site of not just one bad death but two.  Suddenly she was in the need of hasty retreat, and a bath.

That first night she dreamed of the cat. She dreamed of it looking at her, marking her and watching. Following her all over the city, this largest of all cities, her and one cat in a battle of wills. She awoke feeling sick and scared.

“Where were you, yesterday” Emilie asked when she came to work the next day

“Collyer’s park”

After an odd little beat of time that rendered the throw away tone useless she asked “Oh, why did you go there?”

“Curious I guess”

Curiosity killed the cat, you know”

“But satisfaction brought him back,” She replied

“Yeah, pretty sure that part is bullshit” Emilie said matter of factly.

“So I guess you do not like Collyer’s?” She asked

“No, I don’t” Emilie said, though not unkindly

Still she was taken aback by the bluntness of the statement towards such an innocuous subject. “Why?

“There was something wrong with those men, something very wrong and eccentricity does not cover it. They were wealthy enough to pay off a mortgage with one check, but they lived without heat and electricity. That is not normal in any sense, and understand that this was in New York City, this wasn’t some brushy little back water where they weren’t exposed to things. These were college educated New Yorkers and they … it is just creepy. Something is just very very off on this.”

“They were just hoarders,” She protested

“That’s another thing, “Just Hoarders” is not a normal sentence either but you see, there was something very wrong with those men and I don’t know, it seems to be catching. Hell it seems to be catching fire these days. “Emilie went silent, “How much do you know about the story?”.

 

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