Know Your Neighbour

Cover of "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman"

Cover of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman

Would you recognize your neighbour if you were standing behind them in the check-out lane at the grocery store? What if they were in the car next to yours at the red light? I hate to admit it but I’m not sure I would. Oh, I would know Dale, the elderly gentleman who lives to our left and maintains a meticulous lawn all year. And I would recognize whatsisname who lives to our right and grills about once a week in his back yard, rain or shine. But the neighbour three or four doors down? I doubt it.

There are seven billion people on our planet – our world is so big and at the same time so small. And with technological leaps in communication, we hardly ever talk to each other anymore. Why call when you can text? Why talk when you can email? We don’t truly concern ourselves with each other these days, whether we are neighbours, friends or family. This lack of connection then leads to these kinds of tragic situations:

Yvette Vickers, an early Playboy playmate whose credits as a B-movie actress included such cult films as “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” was found dead last week at her Benedict Canyon home. Her body appears to have gone undiscovered for months, police said.

Vickers, 82, had not been seen for a long time. A neighbor discovered her body in an upstairs room of her Westwanda Drive home on April 27. Its mummified state suggests she could have been dead for close to a year, police said.

Susan Savage, an actress, went to check on Vickers after noticing old letters and cobwebs in her elderly neighbor’s mailbox. “The letters seemed untouched and were starting to yellow,” Savage said. “I just had a bad feeling.”

After pushing open a barricaded front gate and scaling a hillside, Savage peered through a broken window with another piece of glass taped over the hole. She decided to enter the house after seeing a shock of blond hair, which turned out to be a wig. The inside of the home was in disrepair and it was hard to move through the rooms because boxes containing what appeared to be clothes, junk mail and letters formed barriers, Savage said. Eventually, she made her way upstairs and found a room with a small space heater still on.She was looking at a cordless phone that appeared to have been knocked off its cradle when she first saw the body on the floor, she said. Savage had known Vickers but the remains were unrecognizable, she said. She remembered her neighbor as an elegant women in a broad straw hat, dressed in white, with flowing blond hair and “a warm smile.”“She kept to herself, had friends and seemed like a very independent spirit,” Savage said. “To the end she still got cards and letter from all over the world requesting photos and still wanting to be her friend.”

Savage said the neighbors felt terrible.

“We’ve all been crying about this,” she said. “Nobody should be left alone like that.”

Yes…nobody should be left alone like that but they are and sadly it happens all the time. So check on your neighbours every now and then, especially if you haven’t seen them for a while and their home is starting to look unkempt. You could save a life with just a hello and a smile.

RIP Yvette Vickers.

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