I knew the day would ome day come and about two weeks ago it did: the day our wonderful next-door neighbor “Miss Ruth” Gartrell moved away. Her once-bustling home is now empty and it makes me sad.
We first found out about her impending move over New Year’s when a for sale sign appeared in her yard. She told me that she was unable to keep up with her large home the way she used to and also felt she should move back to California where she could be closer to more of her family. A few months then went by before her packing began in earnest and one morning about two weeks ago she and her family left for good.
Living next to her was like living next to an angel. We always looked out for each other. She once wrote one of the most humbling things anyone has ever said about me when she delivered a thank you note to me for something I’d done. In it she had written “I thank God that you are my neighbor.” Wow.
We will all miss her friendly smile, the stories she would tell, the cookies she would bake for the kids, and the hugs she was always happy to share. She’s invited us to come see her in California anytime and I’m hoping we may one day be able to accept. We miss having her next door but someone in California just got an awesome neighbor.
Her empty home won’t stand as a memorial for long. A developer plans to raze it and replace it with three upscale homes. This work might take place as early as next week. It’s progress, I guess, but it just won’t be the same without the comforting presence of Miss Ruth.