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American 2.0: Chapter Four

The couch in the den was my favorite. It was a big leather sofa you could lay on while watching TV or reading a book. When mom and dad were at work, I spent hours on that couch watching all my favorite shows.

A guy bought that couch before summer came around that year. He also picked up the end tables and a couple of lamps. Our house was getting real empty that year. We sold the furniture to keep the house which was empty because we sold all the furniture. It was goofy.

Mom was busy for awhile helping that guy from the communications company. He tried to start up some kind of consulting company and paid her money under the table to do all the work while he played golf. "Networking" he called it.

When his gold plated credit cards quit working and the electricity was shut off at his house, he stopped taking my mom's calls. Mom wrote him a nice email and said she loved working for him and not to be embarrassed. We got a Christmas card from him. He was living in Wisconsin with his parents.

The trucking dispatch service company shut down and dad did not get his quarterly check. He was still selling those tracking devices to car lots, so were weren't starving. But that money was hit and miss and was not enough to cover the mortgage and everything else. Mom applied for unemployment, but that only lasted for a few months. Then it ended because the government had to shut it down. Too many people getting checks and not enough paying in.

William and I gave up anything else we used to do extra. My clothes got small and Mom patched them up or bought me some stuff from second hand stores, at close out sales or garage sales. Naturally, I was mortified.

We ate a lot of rice then. I hate rice and I remember eating it every day for dinner. Rice and beans. Rice and vegetables. Rice and hot dogs. I felt like I lived in China. At least we weren't down to eating rice and rice. Not yet.

The government stopped giving money to people that needed it. There was no more money to give. They tried lots of things called stimulus and spent all that was left. Nobody was stimulated. More companies closed, more people lost their jobs, more houses got taken by the banks.

Some of the banks started closing too. My dad pulled money out of his and my mom's IRA's, his 401K and the savings account. The government sent him a bunch of tax forms and told him he had to pay penalties or they would put a lien on the house.

The bank sent us letter too saying they were "accelerating our loan". Dad said "We can't pay any faster". So the bank started foreclosure on us. They put the sign in the yard.

William snuck out one night and put the sign in the alley behind our house. He got yelled at for that, but I saw my dad laughing about it later.

Our neighbors stopped waving to us when they saw us outside. It was like we had a disease and were contagious.

"Don't talk to the Andersons or you will get the Foreclosure Flu" they seemed to say. I hated everyone of them.

A woman from the bank came by our house and took pictures of the inside. She asked where all the furniture was and my dad said some was at our summer house on the coast and the rest at the condo in Colorado. The woman did not think it was funny. She took her pictures and said she would be back in a few days to complete the "process". William told dad to kick her in the bottom.

Dad went out a few days before we had to move out and came back later in someone else's car which dropped him off out front.

"Where's the car, Dad?"

"I sold it."

"What are you going to drive?"

"Your mother and I will share the Lexus. Besides, I used my car as part of the trade in."

"Trade in? For what?"

"Our new house. You will see it tomorrow."

The next day we met the motorhome. I cried.

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