Monday, May 17, 2004

Ms. Lindy

We saw Ms. Lindy's obituary a few weeks back and suspected from its wording that her death had not been from natural causes. The obit listed that she had been found dead at home. As a former journalism major, I know this is usually, though not always, code for suicide. Mrs. A, however, knew something of Ms. Lindy's battles with depression and she suspected this to be the case.

Ms. Lindy was not a regular patron, so I've not written about her before. What makes her passing stand out to me even more, though, is that she had also been a former neighbor of mine.

Before moving into our current house, my wife and I used to live in an apartment within walking distance of the "liberry" down a twisty, windy, scarcely paved one lane county road. (If you've lived in WV long enough, you'll discover that the vast majority of roads that aren't highways or interstates are twisty, windy, scarcely paved and one lane. They're deathtraps because the locals drive them like they're being chased by the Devil; flying around blind curves and hoping for the best, with barely a care for life, limb or fender. Oddly, you get used to it.) Just down the hill from the apartments was a nice, mocha-brown two story house that sat empty for the first few months we were there. My wife and I really liked that house. It had a large fenced backyard, a separate garage, front porch and a picket fence in front. It wasn't overly big, but was a comfortable amount of house to settle down in and raise a family. About six months into our tennantship, Ms. Lindy moved into it.

I didn't know Ms. Lindy even then, beyond the occasional friendly "Hello" as I walked past on my way to bravely attempt to get some exercise walking along the deathtrap road. She struck me as something of a lonely soul, though.

Ms. Lindy did a lot of work on the house to fix it up. She planted a flower garden, touched up the paint, redid some of the fencing and brought in a couple of sweet dogs to live in the back yard.

A couple of months ago, Ms. Lindy came in the library to ask if we had a series of religious self-help books. I didn't even recognize her, but I remember that she seemed sort of spacey and lost. We did have one book in the series she was looking for, but she wasn't interested in it as she really wanted them as books on tape. I wrote up three interlibrary loan slips for the books and told her they should be in soon. Ms. Lindy had not been in the library in quite some time, either so we updated her contact information in her patron record. I recognized her new address and then I realized who she was. I told her that we used to be neighbors, but I didn't tell her how much we loved her house.

This tale isn't quite as ironic as you might be expecting. No, she didn't commit suicide before her self-help tapes came in. The tapes arrived within a few days, I called her about them, she came to pick them up, presumably listened to them and returned all three volumes within a couple of weeks. It was nearly a full month later that we learned of her death.

Mrs. A said that at some point a few years back Ms. Lindy managed to finally kick a decades old substance abuse problem. However, depression had plagued her afterwards. (I imagine that depression may have been a root cause for the substance abuse too, but that's just my own little theory.) Lindy's family had bought the little mocha-colored house for her so she would have a place to stay where they could keep an occasional eye on her.

I still regret not telling her that we liked her house when I had the chance. Not that I have any delusion that it would have made any difference. It's just a regret.

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.