Bill Davis, 60, one of our 100 interviewees, who is still seeking full-time employment, contributed this piece describing how he felt about the loss of his home in 2008 to foreclosure :
One summer day in 2008, I walked out the sliding glass door that led from my sunroom onto the back deck of my house. I walked over and flipped on the main light switch that lit up my back yard, two acres of manicured lawn with little ‘islands’ that featured flowering shrubs or a dogwood tree, and each had a light that shined up so that every little island was a special feature within the large green lawn. In the woods that surrounded the property along the boundary line were other lights, high up in the trees so that when the main switch was turned on, it lit up the entire area behind my home.
This home was the crowning jewel of all my hard work, savings and plans for over 20 years. As I looked out over the scene it no longer felt like a thing that was mine – mine to enjoy, mine to call home. I stood for a long time, remembering my boys growing up here, racing about with their friends, the birthday parties we’d had with all our friends over. It was like looking at a postcard of some beautiful place, bright with color but just an image, a two-dimensional representation of something that was real, but that I was not part of – not any longer.
Turning back inside, I went and sat on my couch. I looked around the family room at the pieces of furniture – mahogany chests and cherry wood tables, glowing from the polish applied with caring, loving hands. These things were mine; they were part of me. Each piece represented a kind of accomplishment, an addition to the accumulated totality of my life. They were more than just things, each had a history, a story. And I felt like crying.
Earlier in the day the sheriff had posted a notice to evacuate the premises, a foreclosure notice. I would be packing up and leaving in just a matter of a few weeks. All the furniture, my boat, everything would go to either to the bankruptcy court or the IRS. I had been forced to close my employment agency because the economy would no longer sustain it. Trying to keep things going, I had gone through most of my savings and investments. I was broke and had just enough money left to rent an apartment.
Telling my kids that we would have to leave our home had been the hardest. They would have to change schools. We would be leaving our friends and neighbors. I was unemployed and getting older. The skills I had developed over the preceding 15 years had little practical application in the current marketplace. As I sat down with my kids and explained this, I knew that this was just the beginning – harder times yet, I feared would be coming. I couldn’t then have imagined how true this would turn out to be.