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Walk Off

J0438458 It has happened again.

Last Friday, after coming home from his second week away on business during the month of February, my husband and I were out on our driveway.  He nodded his head toward a house down the street from us and stated, "I think they're gone."

"Really?" I asked, my heart sinking.  

"Yup," he answered.  "Unless they've been gone on a three week vacation, they're just gone."

Just gone is something that's happened more and more often in our neighborhood; we live in Warren County which just racked up a 14.7% increase in home foreclosures in 2009, from 1,308 to 1,498.  The foreclosure crisis is hitting every neighborhood I know, from the working class ones that surround the interior of our historic downtown to the upper class ones that sprawl across land that was once farms at the edge of town.

Across Ohio,home foreclosures hit a new record in 2009, hitting an all-time high of 89,053; by the looks of what I see happening in my neighborhood, 2010 will be no better.

I hadn't noticed that another house had gone empty on our street; February has been a busy month for us, one filled with inches upon inches of snow, the resulting snow days for my older two, and two week-long trips for my husband.  It was his absence that made him a more astute observer; as he and I talked about the house on our street he told me he hadn't seen any tire tracks or footprints in the snow (and we've had a record amount this February) on the driveway. 

We both began racking our memories to think of the last time we had seen the family that lived there; we couldn't place the date.  Today, as I dragged our trash can up the driveway from the curb, I glanced toward their house and saw no trash cans, no recycling bin, no evidence of life happening behind those doors and windows.

We live in a large neighborhood, one whose very size guarantees a certain amount of anonymity; this family, however, I knew just a little bit.  I knew their kids, polite and kind, and I have been wondering and wondering how they are processing this.  I have been wondering how any parent tells their kids that the place they call home isn't theirs anymore.

When foreclosures happen, or when people simply walk off from their home in anticipation of a foreclosure, everyone suffers.  Home values in my part of Warren County are laughable simply because if you don't laugh, you might find yourself reaching for a Kleenex instead.  But I'm not complaining; we have a home, my hubs has a job and the bills are paid.   We are blessed and I know this; everything that we can afford beyond the basics seems an utter luxury in this new economy.

What my mind keeps wandering back to is wondering how families are coping with this very real, very prevalent situation.  I cannot help but think that there is a growing swell of children in this generation who will carry the memory of losing their homes and all the resulting consequences for the rest of their lives.

How has the foreclosure crisis in Ohio affected your neighborhood, your town, your family?

When she's not trying her best to keep her family on an even keel, Marianne shares money saving tips and her love of Krogering at The New Frugal Mom and her thoughts about life and writing and Writer-Mommy.