12 Dec True stories about neighbours, landlords and lodgers.
Wherever you live you have a neighbour and at one time or another, you likely rented or shared your living space with people who were not family. True stories about neighbours, landlords, and lodgers who arbitrarily made their way into our personal histories make for an entertaining yarn in an autobiography whether you remember them for their kindness, their strangeness, or even their rudeness.
In our working lives we’re used to masking our true feelings about people we don’t much care for, but when someone threatens our private territory things often become very direct. Think the housemate who stole your food or the neighbour with the thirty-foot Leylandii that blocked your light and sapped the nutrients from your lawn.
We interviewed some people about their experiences to show you how to spice up to your autobiography with a couple of your own memorable-neighbour stories. These are true stories and if you want to write a true story about your life but don’t want to end up in court, do what we’ve done here and change the names.
No smoke without fire extinguisher.
Mike tells a story about a woman who lived in the apartment next door to his when he worked for a firm of engineers in Barcelona in the 1980s. The woman hated the smell of cigarette smoke and at the time he was a two-pack-a-day man. Mike worked long hours, but on rare occasions enjoyed a glass of wine and a smoke on the balcony of his apartment. ‘The balconies were all close to each other, if I reached out I could water the plants on Eldora’s balcony, which I did when she asked.’ Nonetheless, Mike’s smoking got to the old lady.
Mike says every time he lit up Eldora either slammed her balcony doors shut or came out shouting and waving her arms about. Mike tended to ignore her, which upset her even more. ‘I took a perverse pleasure in annoying her but she got her own back one day when my back was turned. She snuck out, leaned over the railings and emptied a fire extinguisher all over me.’
Beggar thy neighbour.
As a child Gwen lived next door to a family whom she swears stole and ate her pet rabbit. She remembers a commotion in the middle of the night, discovering the empty hutch, and going to play with the girl next door later that same day. ‘I saw a pelt hanging on the washing line, it looked just like Benny’s lovely brown and white fur. There was a stew on the stove. I ran home, but I didn’t say anything because my parents loathed that family and I’d lied about where I was going.’
And Karen, renovating her house and mindful of any noise that might disturb her neighbours sanded the wooden stairs by hand. It made a soothing rhythmical sound. It wasn’t loud and it wasn’t late, but the woman next door thought differently and began shouting and banging on the wall. Finally, she came to Karen’s door wielding a bread knife and threatening to cut her up with it.
This was the second incident where the police had been called. The first happened when revellers at a party at this same neighbours’ house stole Karen’s window boxes and hanging baskets. Unfortunately, a witness from across the road admitted to ‘not wearing his glasses’ and was deemed unreliable.
Karen was glad to sell the house, and she was relieved to find her new neighbours had nothing to do with law enforcement. Yes, the knife-wielding woman was the wife of a police officer.
Not my tribe.
Every time we move house we’re exposed to new sets of neighbourly dynamics, cultures and economic benchmarking or keeping up with the Joneses, as it is otherwise known. Did you ever live in the worst house in the best neighbourhood, or experience car or home renovation envy? Or did you find your tribe and live in peace?
Reflecting on a past neighbour, singer-songwriter Neil Diamond remembers living next door to another famous singer and his family. ‘Elvis Presley used to live next door and I remember how his little girl and my son would talk to each other through the link fence. The kids, I remember very clearly seeing them in the backyard. There was a big gate between them with barbed wire on the top, and Lisa-Marie had her bodyguard and Jesse had his bodyguard and they were playing with each other through this fence. It was kind of sad.’
How to start an autobiography.
Stories about the people we rented from or shared houses or streets with can provide rich material for your biography. If you’re wondering how to start an autobiography and want to write your life story online, Johnnybio will show you how to write and publish your life story in a few easy steps. Or, if you’d like help contact us here and have one of our ghostwriters help you with your biography or life story.