Another kind of slum lord
Dear Editor:This week marks the fifth year since my husband, Pete Stone, died. I had decided to pass this marker by sorting through and organizing his files. One file was labeled “Neat Things” and in It I found clippings and notes he had selected long ago, All’ ho knew Pete know, how he loved Aspen.The following is a poem written by John Updike from Collected Poems (1953-1993).Slum LordsThe super rich make lousy neighbors -They buy a house and tear it downand build another, twice as big, and leave.They’re never there; they own so manyother houses, each demands a visit.Entire neighborhoods called fashionable,bustling with servants and masters, such asLouisburg Square in Boston or Bel Air in L.A.,are districts now like Wall Street after darkor Tombstone once the silver boom went bust.The essence of the superrich is absence.They’re always demonstrating they can affordto be somewhere else. Don’t let them in.Their money is a kind of poverty.For the last 10 years I have seen house after house in my neighborhood be torn down and rebuilt. They’re beautiful. My property value and my taxes have soared. There has been activity and life during the past summer months, but no eye contact or response have been given to my greetings. Now, again, my neighborhood is dark, empty and silent – except for air conditioner compressors left running with no one at home.Ruth StoneAspen
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