Chapter III New Neighbors

August 9, 2016

The Parks Family

Chapter III New Neighbors

The Parks family had noticed that two houses down from their house there were three lots with a “for sale” sign in them. One day Paul mentioned that it would sure be great if they could buy those lots and build on them. The others agreed that it would be great to have their own house. Paul realized, however, that with his current income, it would be foolish to even think about buying those lots, much less building a house on them. Mary liked to dream that their new house was going to have a big living room and three bedrooms.

One day they were disappointed to see that the “for sale” sign had a “sold” sign tacked over it. Several weeks went by and no one knew who bought the lots. One day word began to spread around that the lots were purchased by a veterinarian from the province of La Rioja. Several more weeks went by and nothing more was heard about the buyer of the lots. Several thought that maybe he just bought them for an investment. One day, however, someone heard that the new owner planned to build a house on the property and live there with his family.

The truth is that Mary was a little disappointed that the lots were sold. She was also disappointed to learn that a doctor was going to live there. In her mind, a doctor and his family would live on a level so much higher than theirs that they would have little in common. Some days later some of the neighbor children told Charlie and Priscila that there was a truck parked at the lots. They asked permission to go with the other children to see what was happening. Before they got there another truck had arrived. The two men that came in the first truck had unloaded a lawn mower and started mowing grass in the lots. The two men in the other truck unloaded posts, wire and tools for building a fence. They started setting posts around the lots. The boys were disappointed because the three lots had served as a soccer field for them. If it was fenced in, that would mean they couldn’t play there anymore.

Some days later, when the children came home from school, they saw that men were working on the lots. They had scraped off the grass and weeds on the portion that had been mowed and were putting in cement frames for a foundation. The next day, when the children came home from school, they saw that a cement truck had been there and cement had been poured in the frames and the floor had been poured.

After that almost a month went by and there was no further activity there. Then, early one Saturday morning, a big truck stopped in front of the lots. The truck was followed by a family in a car. On the truck was a prefab house ready to be assembled. On the front of the truck there was furniture and a mountain of cardboard boxes. Dr. Alvarez, the new owner, directed the truck driver to back up to the slab of cement.

Mrs. Alvarez and the children stayed by the truck while Dr. Alvarez and the truck driver started walking door to door in the neighborhood looking for men to help unload the truck and assemble the house. He offered to pay $20 pesos to any man willing to spend the day working. Paul was thinking about going to the carpenter shop and working on the cabinet he was making for Mary. When he heard that he could earn $20 pesos by working there he took advantage of it.

In less than a half hour 10 men were at the building site, ready to unload and set up the prefab house. The house was new and Dr. Alvarez walked around with the instructions in his hand to tell the men where each section should go. At noon the walls were all up and Dr. Alvarez told the men that they could go home to eat their dinner. He and his family took the truck driver in their car to a restaurant to eat.

At 1:00 the men all came back and by 3:00 they had the roof on. Then it was time to unload the furniture and the boxes of household goods. Mrs. Alvarez took the responsibility of telling the men where to put everything. Some of the young people from the neighborhood volunteered to help unload the boxes. The two Sparks children were there watching. Their father told them to stay out of the way.

The Alvarez had three children. Martin was 10 years old, Carolyn was six and Natalia was four. They appeared to be a special family. Paul observed that Dr. Alvarez was kind and very considerate. He never had time to talk to him because he was busy directing the workers. By 4:00 everything was unloaded and the truck driver left with the truck. It was obvious that the family had a lot to do yet to get everything put away. Dr. Alvarez called everyone together and thanked them for the good work they had done. He paid each one the $20 pesos he had promised them.

Next week, Lord willing, we will find out more about the Alvarez family.

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