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Our Crazy Neighbor

Updated on November 27, 2010

I live in a great neighborhood; in fact, it’s where I grew up. Yep, I live in the same house in which I grew up. Almost all of my neighbors have been in their same homes for decades, which is a good thing – except in one case. We have a crazy neighbor across the street who has caused a lot of problems over the past decade or so. I’ll call her Mrs. Jane Smith. She’s always been kind of mean, and now she’s crazy AND mean. This is NOT a good combination!

Mrs. Smith lives alone in her nice two-story home. I feel sorry for her, but sometimes it’s hard to have much empathy for someone who seems to purposely alienate everyone, including her own adult children. Her husband left her years ago, supposedly because of her nasty attitude. It was at this point that her instability became apparent. I’ve always wondered if she “went crazy” because he left, or if he left because she “went crazy.”

Jane spends a lot of time in her yard. She cuts her grass with a sling blade, and she washes the trunks of her pine trees. If we’re in our yard while she’s outdoors, she yells obscenities at us. Last week, she hollered to me that she wished I would die. I have no idea why she has so much animosity towards us. We’ve never had cross words. It’s not just us, though – it’s everyone. She curses at strangers walking on the street, too. And when we have visitors to our home, they get an earful when they arrive if Jane is her front yard at the time. Just a few days ago, in fact, a couple came to our home, and Mrs. Smith yelled at the man, “You S.O.B. (she said the words), you’re supposed to be over here cleaning up my yard!”

This lady is dangerous. She burns her trash on a regular basis, and the fire often gets out of hand. We live in the suburbs, where it’s illegal to burn trash. One day she hosed down the firemen when they came to investigate one of her fires. Another time, the fire burned down a substantial portion of the woods next to her house, and the Forestry Commission had to do damage control. One day hubby went over to her house to talk to the attending firefighters, and Jane pointed to him and yelled, “There’s that S.O.B. who sneaks over here and sets these fires!”

We were told that Jane has broken out the kitchen windows in her home and throws her trash into the back yard. When the pile gets big enough, she rakes it into a circle and sets it afire. We have city garbage pick-up, so I have no idea why she feels compelled to take this task upon herself.

Jane has terrorized the entire neighborhood. She had a Chihuahua that lived inside with her, and one day the dog escaped and ran to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor knew that Jane didn’t want the dog running loose, so she returned it. Jane was furious, saying. “Why did you steal my dog? I don’t see why everyone wants MY dog. Why don’t they just get their own dog instead of stealing mine?!” The dog-returning neighbor told me that the next night, Jane egged their car.

Jane also likes to spend a lot of time on top of her roof. Sometimes she just sits there, and sometimes she plays with the dog on the roof. She seems to enjoy this activity much more than the dog does. She also likes to wash her roof. I’ll bet she has the cleanest roof in the state.

We’re never surprised anymore at what we observe across the street. One day we had several family members over, and one of my sons-in-law gasped as he peered out the window. I looked to see what had shocked him, and there was Jane, running completely topless across the yard, chasing her dog.

Jane used to have a pistol, which she supposedly pulled on police officers. We didn’t see this, but we heard about it from several sources. In this case, they were trying to take away her vicious pit bull. The dog was out of control and had attacked several passers-by. Mrs. Smith is not the kind of owner that an aggressive pit needs. Thank goodness, the dog was removed. Now I don’t have to worry about the grandkids playing outside. She yells at them, but this won’t cause physical injury. The kids are, however, learning a bevy of colorful words of profanity.

Her latest eccentric act happened just a couple of days ago. Another neighbor had a large cement statue of St. Francis, which was broken by a fall. This neighbor put the beheaded saint on the curb for the garbage men to pick up. Jane evidently liked the head, so she placed in on top of her roof. It’s there now. Kinda reminds me of how they used to place the heads of prisoners executed at the Tower of London on spikes on the Thames.

Jane doesn’t drive anymore after an encounter with local traffic cops. They tried to pull her over for speeding a few years ago, and she outran them. They followed her to her home, and she jumped out of her car and yelled at them and threatened them once her car was safely in her carport. Since we don’t have a grocery store within walking distance, Jane walks up to a nearby gas station about once a week and purchases enough chips, Twinkies, soft drinks, and Vienna sausages to keep from starving.

My mom, a nurse, tried for years to help Jane, but Jane refused any help. I don’t know what the solution is. Her three children don’t want to deal with her, and neither does her ex-husband. I think she would be safer in an assisted living facility, and I know the entire neighborhood would breathe a sigh of relief. Would it be cruel, however, to remove her from the home in which she’s lived for decades?

Although we laugh at her antics sometimes, Mrs. Smith is actually a sad case. This woman was beautiful, cultured, and well educated. She was also a talented musician and a professional singer. She could offer so much to her young grandchildren, yet she’s chosen a different path. Or maybe she had no choice in the matter. Her youngest daughter swears that her mom isn’t crazy – she’s just mean. The daughter claims that Jane can be perfectly “normal” when she needs to be, so I don’t know where the truth lies.

Our crazy neighbor enjoys nude Chihuahua chasing.
Our crazy neighbor enjoys nude Chihuahua chasing.

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    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      There seems to be lots of crazy folks in your neighborhood! It must be the water! Oh that's right, I forgot my wife lived next door to you and...naw, too long a story!

      Seriously though, that lady is a superfreak!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Mr. Godwin! I trust you had a nice Thanksgiving? We want you guys to come over on Christmas Eve after the kids leave. They leave early to get the kiddies to bed so that Santa won't catch them awake!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes! Ate, slept, watched football! Very thankful!

      Will check with the boss, don't know what's cookin' on the eve!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Sad case, Holle. I feel sorry for both of you. You, because you and your family have to endure your neighbor's taunts and rants. And for 'Mrs. Smith' who appears to need professional help. And psychotropic medication.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Drbj, maybe WE need to go to the assisted living facility?? lol

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, Habee, you just made most of us grateful for "our" neighbors!

      It is funny to read about, but no joke really. The daughter that thinks her mother isn't crazy must be in denial. I am sure sitting on a roof playing with the dog, isn't on the scale of "normal" same goes for just about everything else!

      She knows no better, but it is affecting your entire community. Maybe prayer? Seems the only alternative until her family comes to their senses.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 6 years ago

      Habee, Interesting hub! It is evident that Mrs. Jane is hurting and suffering from a poor diet along with loneliness and much more... If she was really dangerous or crazy how come the authorities who are aware continue to allow her to live alone?

      I would suggest saying a prayer for her and asking all the neighbors to pray for her as well!

      Thank You for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      The closest I came to this was a neighbor who stored all her garbage in the garage. We also had city collection so there was no reason for it. It seems that social services should intervene in your neighbors case although liberal laws seem to prevent crazy people from being locked up.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      @dahogland-this lady lives in a very conservative state and town! Nice try though! LOL!

    • Anaya M. Baker profile image

      Anaya M. Baker 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow, its really amazing that after the fires especially she hasn't been declared a danger to herself yet, and placed somewhere where she can get the help she needs. Sad that her daughter says she is just "mean." Maybe she would be a nicer person if she had some help dealing with what seems like an obvious case of some form of mental illness. Sure makes me appreciate my neighbors that are only crazy in the fun kooky way!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Okay, habee, now I am thinking you need to find a way to protect yourself and your family. Are you armed? I am guessing yes.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Habee, This woman really sounds dangerous. There is no telling what she will do next. I am sure your are armed but it is a shame one of her children won't get the court to intervene as I think she could probably be committed. It is called a Baker Act in Fl but they would keep her and evaluation her for a specified period of time as she seems to need serious anti-psychotic medication. In the meantime, watch your back!

    • RogerAD profile image

      RogerAD 6 years ago from USA

      Too be fair, not everyone that uses a sling-blade is crazy ;) It really can be an efficient and fun way to cut the yard.

      Seriously though, sounds like a pretty bad situation. That is so weird about the statue head too, I mean wow!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Habee. I am so glad I don't have your neighbor across the street from me. My neighbors all seem to be fairly sane. That poor woman has quite a problem. The authorities really need to help her find a new happy home where she can't hurt herself or someone else.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, I totally feel for you, we have had some humdingers for neighbours, one kept setting fire to the rubbish bin in the downstairs communal cupboard, she blamed it on everyone else, but we knew it was her, and the lady next door painted the communal floor, barricaded herself in and told the police we were trying to kill her! as I was swimming at the time, and my son and husband were out somewhere else, I think they realised that she was mad as a hatter! thank goodness they have moved! cheers nell

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      The neighbors in the apartment next to mine sell drugs to underaged high school kids. The cops gave them a warning but didn't arrest them. It's a strange world.

    • profile image

      "Quill" 6 years ago

      Sad story Habee... do pray for the poor dear that someone look into the matter and place her where she will be safe and the neighbours will be protected. Sad to think of the pain and torment she must be going through.

      Blessings

    • Feline Prophet profile image

      Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

      She sounds like a sad case...but I bet she keeps you entertained!

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

      Holle, mmmm I like biscuits, mmmm your neighbor is funny,not funny haha... mmmmm. All jokes aside someone, her family needs to sign the forms to have Home Health come and evaluate. She very well may still have guns.

      Me thinks you have the talent to string us along, but this is unbelievable so it would be deemed true, 'cuz most stories like this are. Glad I have no neighbors and they are glad I'm not theirs, most likely :)

      Voted this up, Dusty

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Loved your story. Feel bad that you have to live across the street from this person though. I am surprised that no-one has removed her from her home with all the fires she has set and so forth…Maybe all the neighbors should get together and have her evaluated somehow.

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

      I have more than a few crazy neighbors.......... thanks for this! Kaie

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Boy oh boy! What a situation. I often wonder about such people and how to help. It seems that the ante has to be raised before anything official can be done. Hopefully she will get the help she needs and the neighborhood can settle down.

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      What needs to happen is to find out what the stresser was that snapped this woman into her current state of mind. The bitterness and the loneliness produces what you see and the outward display of hatred and meanness is but a cry for help and love. Yes, it is hard to approach a seemingly pissed off individual, but all of the above is just a wall she's built around herself. She's been hurt bad. Track the source.

      Meanwhile, realize that it ain't personal. It's an outward meanness towards all. Flip the script on her.

      I wish I lived closer to you.

    • Alen Ostovic profile image

      Alen Ostovic 6 years ago from Croatia

      I love this hub I am you FAN haha, the favorite part was when she egged other neighbours car for stealing her dog LOL. Now seriously she needs proffesional help, you just cant yell on people and burn the trash in the yard and that kind of stuff, she needs to be reported to the medical authorities because she can be dangerous for herself and for others aswell. I know some people wouldn't agree with me, but she needs medical help before she sets someone's house on fire and/or kill someone by accident

    • Loves To Read profile image

      Loves To Read 6 years ago

      Habee, i must admit this does conjure up a few chuckles. Just reading AO above was one. Obviously she is no spring chicken to be chasing her chihuahua around the yard topless.Or sitting upon the roof playing with a terrified little dog.

      But seriously though, this lady sounds as though she may be a danger not only to herself but also to others.

      I feel that she does need some form of help. She is definitely not a normal or happy lady. Thanks for sharing

      Love and Hugs

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      Jane better run from the law before they get some annonymous call from a concerned citizen hint hint... LOL sorry but I'm lmao, great story funny but to bad it's true. Do you have a really big privacy fence? BTW, that's one daf dog to not spring to freedom...

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 years ago from South Africa

      I hope you'll soon find a solution for this problem that may certainly change too easily into a tragedy. Take care!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 6 years ago from UK

      What a sad no-win-case this is. Impossible to end up happily and I can only wish you patience and courage.

      And Holle, please put back on that nice photo of yourself that I liked so much :-)

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Scribe, the son swears she's sane, too!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Very sad for the person and family. What to do best for her is a good question. It is amazing how they can play normal when it is necessary.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Deb, we've asked those questions, too. It's a bad situation.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Daho, Randy is right about her living in a very conservative area. She def needs some help, however. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Anaya, I like fun-kooky neighbors, but not scary-kooky neighbors! lol

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Bpop, girl, you know we are armed! And she's scared of my Great Danes, too!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Pam. We're watching our back, our front, and our sides! lol

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Roger, if only it was JUST the sling blade thing!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, KK Gals. Pass me a cuppa joe, wouldja?

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      OMG, Nell - you don't live in my neighborhood, do you??

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Rob, that's scary! Stay safe!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Quill, we've talked to her kids and to the police and firemen. I don't know what else we can do.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      FP, I can do without that kind of entertainment! lol

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      50, all this is totally true. You like mustard on those biscuits? How 'bout some fried taters? lol

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Susan, I think it might take torches and pitchforks! lol

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 6 years ago

      That is the greatest dog photo I have ever seen. I think this woman used to live next to friends of mine(or maybe her sister) ...in their case the crazy neighbor burned her own house down (accident of undefined sort), and since she was a hoarder with stacks of antique magazines holding up every wall it was quite the inferno. As the house blazed away she tried to talk my friend into going inside to rescue, of all things, the contents of her freezer. Those eskimo pies were expensive.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Kaie! You're welcome!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Steve, I think you hit the nail on the head - things will have to get worse before they can get better.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      I think so, too, Alen!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Loves to read, hugs to you, too!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      For real, Katie! I worry about the dog.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Martie!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      So, De Greek...you don't like my grandkids?? I can't put my photo back up until they can get the data from my old hard drive that crashed. But thanks!!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      HH, that is very strange!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Too funny, Grace!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      You had said that the young Jane was beautiful, cultured, well-educated, and talented. It seems as though she's controlling her current behavior quite intelligently in that she manages to stay just short of crossing the line to a place where she actually physically harms another and winds up incarcerated. It is such a sad thing, Holle. Thanks for writing this engaging piece. Your words make me grateful that I have such good neighbors.

    • profile image

      silentnight 6 years ago

      oh my, great story about your crazy neighbor but true. i bet someone at the Law office is keeping a close tab on Jones Smith.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Gosh, I hope so, Silent!

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