So I was out on a walk…

I walked by a townhouse.

I know that in most of America, the single family dwelling reigns supreme. However, in a place as tightly packed as Manhattan, most people reside in multiple family dwellings. Yet, there are still some homes in Manhattan that only house one family…


There happen to be some in my neighborhood. They are just gorgeous, and I admit to coveting them…so when I walk the dog I look at the stately townhouses and daydream just a little. But on this particular day, I noticed that at least a week’s worth of newspapers sat on the front step.

So when you see a week’s worth of newspapers stacked in front of someone’s house, what do you think?

Do you think that the person went on vacation and forgot to cancel the paper for the week?

Or do you think that something bad happened to the person who lives there?

Are they in the hospital?

Are they still inside their home, unable to get out?

Are they being held for ransom?

This is when my mind goes into overdrive. This is why I like writing and storytelling and anything that can take a single snapshot and make it into something. This is where I love being somewhat creative. I may not write the story, but my imagination still gets a workout.

Some of you are now thinking, what about the people that reside in the house? What actually happened?

Alas, I can’t give you any more details. I don’t know who lives in the house. I don’t know why their papers are outside. I didn’t call or ring the doorbell or anything as to ascertain what happened. Whereas I like to think of myself as a good concerned citizen, I also don’t want to become Mrs. Kravitz, the neighbor who always butts in. In a world of see something, say something I have to decide what is worth intervening. Is this worth calling the police about when it is probably a case of forgetting to cancel the paper?

So here’s todays points to consider:

  1. Do you ever see a scene and just imagine all the who, what, when, where and why?
  2. Would you have tried to find out if the inhabitants were OK?


73 thoughts on “Newspapers

    1. Right? My head gets filled up so easily. I love looking at people and imagining their whole story, or hearing snatches of conversation and finishing the story in my head!


  1. I do tend to dream up backstories for the scenarios I come across, but I wouldn’t intervene unless I saw something that told me for sure that something was wrong. Because like you said, it’s probably just that they forgot to cancel the paper.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah…here’s a line between being a good neighbor and a nosy one. Like, I have an elderly neighbor. If I don’t see her a try to check in. But I know she lives alone, etc and has sone health issues

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The stories I weave in my head are usually more self centered rather than about the people around me. I see houses all the time with papers out front. I usually think they are asking to be robbed by not taking care of it. Never occurs to me that they aren’t just out of town.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This was one of the hardest parts of being a census worker. Some things will always haunt me. I had to go to this rundown trailer house multiple times. There was a notice on the door that the electricity was disconnected days before. I knocked but no one ever answered. It was piping hot out. No windows were open. But every time I came knocking at the door there was a dog inside barking. Was someone there who just didn’t answer? This house was in the city and all I could hope for was that the neighbors would seek help for this person and animal if necessary because I didn’t know if there was truly a problem or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. When you mentioned “newspapers”, the first thing that came to mind was…do people still read newspapers? (I love that they do)

    If I lived in a big city (Manhattan, for example), I probably wouldn’t look into it. Again, NEWSPAPERS?? More than likely, they forgot to stop service while on vacation.

    However, if it was on my street, I might look into it because I would know someone connected to them. Then, once I knew everything was fine, I’d request the funnies section. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Reality helps the mind reach for senility. I choose to walk most places, and compose a rendition of my reality. It helps greatly to imagine the future encountered, to perpare for what’s to come; if you always ready, saves time! Time jus seems to be the only thing one should covet¡


  6. It’s a good idea for a story. Someone will write it. Maybe me. Maybe you were an off duty female detective walking your dog and you pass by the house. Something else about the house is suspicious. Maybe a front window is open just a crack…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I imagine all kinds of things. All the time. But I research everything. I probably would have taken out my phone when I saw the papers and googled the property appraiser and that address. If the owner who came up was elderly based on google, I’d call the police.

    I live in a senior community where when that happens it’s because someone died. Younger people rarely get a paper delivered. They go online for news. So I’d deduce the person living in your townhome is older. He or she may be on vacation, in the hospital or something unexpected. But I’d investigate. Yeah, like Miss Marple.

    I moved into my condo in 2010. Since then more than a dozen people have passed away. About half of them had papers pile up at their door. A neighbor on my floor had a stroke and was on her kitchen floor for two days until someone finally called the police because they hadn’t seen her for a while.. So yeah, I’d investigate and make a call. You could save a life. As someone who lives alone that’s my biggest fear. Thus I take my cell with me in even into the bathroom when I shower. If I fell I could be lying there for days. My sons call me regularly but not necessarily every day.

    So, Come on Poirot. Go back and check if more papers have piled up. You could save a life. Inquiring minds here want to know what happened!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Honestly, it was in April that I witnessed it. I’m very ahead with blog ideas….(currently scheduling posts in October) I wrote this once before that I would never make a good amateur detective because if I really suspected something I’d go right to the police. Unless, like I told Kim, it’s my elderly neighbor who I do check in on

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, it’s a mystery, that’s for sure. Quite honestly, I don’t know if I would have investigated before I moved into a 55 and older community. Here I know who lives alone and who is really elderly. But I don’t know all the new people who have moved since I have been in treatment or those on the other side of my building. It’s a four story building with 40 units. I used to walk around each floor for exercise when it was raining outside so I had a better understanding of my neighbors. But I don’t do that anymore. I have a different state of mind these days. My friends and I check on each other. But in the city I imagine it’s different.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I check on a couple of people in the building that I know live alone and don’t have anyone close nearby, but that’s about it


  8. This is our first summer in our new house in a development of about 80 houses. It’s eerily quiet and I realized that most people aren’t here. Across the street the house is getting lots of Amazon boxes. It’s trash day, and I noticed they didn’t haul their bin to the curb. So they must be out of town, right? On my walk today I counted about 25% of the people are here. When people return in the Fall, I’m going to need to exchange phone numbers so we can check up on each other, like we did in our old neighborhood.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s very pretty. When I first moved there in the 1980s, most restaurants and hotels closed for the summer. Now it’s a hot spot for millennials from Los Angeles and it’s so busy.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Imagination is a beautiful thing. I would keep an eye on it, see if the papers clear in like three weeks. If it’s been a long time then surely it’s ok to check into it. Perhaps you can be the sleuth in your own thriller novel. I do hope nothing bad has happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I wonder those things all the time. There was a house on the next block that I pass all the time and I knew there was an elderly gentleman who lived there. I didn’t know if he lived by himself but I would see him sitting on the porch sometimes and he would wave at me and I’d wave back. Then for a while I didn’t see him and I noticed that the mailbox was getting full. I thought maybe he had been taken to the hospital or something. Finally the mailbox was so stuffed that I asked our mailman if he delivered to that house and if he knew who lived there. I told him about the overstuffed mailbox. He said that was not his route but he would mention it to the guy whose route it was. About a week later I noticed a sign tacked up on the front door. It was a notice from the city of some kind. I wasn’t nosy enough to go up to the front porch to read it (and it was too far away for me to get a clear picture on my phone – LOL) so I am not sure what it said. Another few weeks went by when finally I saw that the notice was down and there were workers there tearing down the porch and beginning to renovate the house so I figured that the old man had either died or been taken to a home. Eventually the house went up for sale and a new couple is there now. Did I prompt the investigation by the city when I talked to my mailman? I’m not sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Mmmmm. As we’ve discussed before on other topics, I think it is part of our hard-wiring to create a narrative out of, well, everything that we see/hear, etc. We all do it; admittedly, some more than others. I am naturally inquisitive, and love asking questions and thinking, so I tend to lean in the direction of at the very least wondering. I’ve chosen to work at this particular aspect of myself, to, in essence, stand outside of the reactive mind story creation, yet it is always there in some way. I would not have stopped and rung the doorbell; unless that is, there were more data points that pointed to a possible incident, and then….don’t know.


  12. 1. Yes, I’m a writer and a story teller so constantly.
    2. No, unless it’s an obvious problem when you’d call the authorities, I wouldn’t know how to be helpful.


  13. Sometimes when I spot a curious scene, my imagination kicks in and I wonder about the background… it makes for an interesting mental exercise. About the newspapers: I think it’s a matter of letting it be, since it’s probably what you mentioned, as the homeowners going on vacation and forgetting to cancel the delivery. Then you can wonder where they jetted to — was it a cultural trip (museum tours!) or an adventurous one (whitewater rafting!) or a relaxing one (margaritas by the pool!)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm…ok…I’ll play. It was a well kept building, practical yet pretty landscaping out front. It takes money to both own and maintain a property like this. They get The NY Times, so they consider themselves to be educated, well informed and cultured. They decided to jet off at a moments notice because they had a whim for pastry. Off they went to Vienna. Music, art, food….

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my! Do I imagine things? Ho LOL! Should I tell you about the time I took my son to a friend’s house , who I hadn’t met. He was picking up something. It took him forever as I sat in the car certain that they had tied him up for ransom and dare I knock or should I bust in.

    I probably would have been imagining 100 things with those stacked newspapers and I may have tried the door to see if it was locked. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I grinned with the Mrs. Kravitz reference, bewitching remembrance. Lots of comments here I will have to check afterwards. I do wonder but there are so many possibilities that I would not have investigated. I know it is probably different in Manhattan than it is in my 35,000 population. Sadly the way my thoughts are today, I would imagine the worst scenario. If it happened on my actual street I would knock on the door but otherwise I wouldn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. #1: all..the…time

    I think they are dead. First of all, it must be an older person who lives there, because I don’t know too many people who still read the newspaper, like delivered to their home read? No.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. On a practical level – if there are already piles of papers the owner probably died weeks ago so you can’t make a difference. I’d leave it to the neighbours to work out and not get involved. Not the most socially responsible answer, but practical.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I have quite an interesting imagination and would have been Abel to give you all the scenarios possible, but I wouldn’t have been curious enough to have pursued it even though I probably would have monitored it for a few days longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Interesting, I would have imagined some horrific scene, walked on unless I knew the occupants, and risked the Mrs. Kravitz reference! Sometimes I notice the decorations people put out front of their homes and I imagine what kind of people live within. It makes walking more fun. C

    Liked by 1 person

  20. 1) Yes.
    2) Hide the newspapers so that they’re not a signal for would be criminals that are looking for just those tell-tale signs. Hopefully, they have neighbors they know and love who will call police if they suspect anything wrong. Maybe ring the neighbor’s doorbell and inquire?


    Liked by 1 person

  21. When reading that I was immediately thinking of the whole scene. Such as, were the paper all kinda clustered together, or were they spread out? On the porch or off? Yes, I feel I have a good bunch of books in my mind that should have been published but the all aren’t finished, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

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