It was two years ago, in this month of early green, thieves ransacked our home. Since then, I’ve concluded the only way to avoid theft is to own nothing of value, or care less. Live lightly and invest in trees.
We haven’t replaced much of the jewelry and silverware is now borrowed for dinner parties. I spent a few lonely months, browsing antique stores for my Granny’s tea set, and gave up. We did replace our oldest daughter’s charm bracelet, one she wore and loved, and are slowly replacing the charms, one by one, to mark her moments of joy. I grieve often for my version of cherished charms from my grandmother’s travels around the world. Somewhere, there’s a small scrap of scrawled notes from my younger self, of where each charm came from and when. In my head, I see a crack den somewhere, a tortured soul going mad, trying to deduce the meaning of each of these small silver objects. It gives me perverse pleasure that they will never know.
Memories? All mine.
There are bigger losses that I fight. Not every car parked on our tiny street is suspicious and some knocks at the door really are children selling Girl Guide cookies. Home repairs requiring a trade to come on the premises now come with internal debates. Is he scoping the place for possible entry?
Lucy, the guard dog who wasn’t, has healed from her trauma in the garden.
We’re getting there.
Until I read Malcolm Johnston’s Toronto Life piece this month: The Break-in Artist: the hunt for the cat burglar who terrorized Toronto.
Gagnon possessed a preternatural ability to climb just about anything: he could scamper up a seven-and-a-half-metre drainpipe with ease or cling squirrel-like to a wall. In April 1996, he attempted to break into the 15th-floor penthouse of a high-rise at Sheppard and Don Mills, occupied by a jeweller. He accessed the rooftop via the stairs, then free-climbed, some 45 metres above the pavement, to the penthouse balcony below. In the process, he startled the owner’s parrot, who squawked loudly. When the owner flicked on his bedroom light, Gagnon, realizing the jig was up, vaulted over the railing and lowered himself down to the balcony below, then hopped one balcony over and climbed two back up to the roof, then descended the stairs to the street.
A chilling article, one you likely won’t want to read as we head into Earth Day weekend. You should anyway, as a wake-up call.
Forget investing in all those fancy schmancy security systems. If they want in, they’ll get in.
A better approach is to invest in green. Flowers, shrubs, trees. They’ll be there to soften the blow, when the place is cleaned out.
Don’t go shopping this weekend. You don’t need anything else. Hug a tree, then someone loveable.
Happy Weekend. Happy Earth Day.