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The Working Class Foreclosure Blues
by Leah Sellers
2008-11-11 09:07:53
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I am one of the many Working Class Folks left moaning the Foreclosure Blues. One of the many Working Class Folks blamed for the Housing Financial Crisis in America. A few years ago I was a teacher with an excellent credit rating and no outstanding debts. As a teacher I received a flyer inside my on-campus mailbox offering me a 0% down home loan. It piqued my Interest (in more ways than one)!

The next thing I knew I was in a room with four smiling, friendly strangers signing a contractual packet (almost 100 pages in length) ‘Selling My Soul to the Company Store”. At each step along the way, everyone I spoke with on the phone and in person kept assuring me that they knew I was now a single teacher who could only afford to pay $750.00 monthly for a mortgage payment.

It was my mantra, and I sought with every conversation, with every person I spoke to throughout the process of buying my small home on two acres of beautiful hill country, to make it Theirs as well. I wanted no surprises. They continued to smile, to tell me how much they admired and appreciated teachers (while sliding one page after another across the table for me to sign) and to assure me that they understood that I could only afford no more (or not much more) than $750.00 monthly. Being a novice to the World of Finance, I had no idea how Adjustable an Adjustable Loan could be.

I was suspicious of a 0% down loan, but I was a single woman ready to purchase my own home who thought the Lenders were doing a special favor for teachers, because they knew how little we made in terms of the work we performed. Why else would they have advertised and intimated themselves as such within my on-campus mailbox at school? Plus, I was drawn to the ‘down home’ name of the corporation I was getting the loan from: Countrywide. It sounded folksy and somehow inclusively patriotic. So much for being ‘down home’. Although, bringing ‘down Homes’ is exactly what happened - to me - and thousands of other Americans.

I was overjoyed with my new Home (as was my Family). I loved decorating it, and inviting Friends and Family over to enjoy the Comforts and Beauty of my new Home with me.
I bought a lady’s electric chain saw and cleared my land and trimmed up all of my oak, elm, and cedar trees by myself. I also hand planted 12 fruit trees (peach, pear, apple, plum and fig) and flowering trees and bushes (pink, purple and white crepe myrtles and pink, purple and white oleanders) to outline my property’s boundaries with a natural barrier instead of putting up a fence right away. I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into my Home and Property. I loved it. I was proud of it. And I cherished Sharing special moments at my new Home with Others.

Then one year later, after receiving letters explaining that my Loan had traded Hands twice to other Loan companies, I received a new yearly mortgage payment receipt booklet. I was astonished! Instead of my expected $750.00 monthly payment, each month’s receipt claimed that I owed $ 1,150.00 monthly. If it had gone up $25 to $50 dollars that would have made sense to me. It would stretch me, but it would have been understandable. After all it was an Adjustable loan. But to hike my loan up to $1,150.00 overnight? I knew that it had to be a mistake - a type-o. So, I called my new loan company in order to get the gross error straightened out.

Actually, they straightened me out. I literally felt like laying down - straight out on the floor - after listening to several people feed me a lot of financial gibberish and mumbo-jumbo explaining why my Adjustable loan had now Adjusted itself up to $1,150.00. After several days, Dis-Couraged, I finally gave up in Dis-Belief. They were not a local company and I was tired of making long distance calls and writing letters to Strangers, who all fed me the same gobblety-goop. I sometimes felt as if each person I was passed on to was trained to spout out (verbatim) the same ‘party line’.

The loan company would not budge. I could not afford $1,150 monthly. I did not have enough equity in my Home to put it 'on the market' without having to pay out up to $5,000 at my end in order to sell it. I could not afford that kind of financial loss. My work with troubled and handicapped youth in a new equine therapy program had led my finances into other more far reaching directions that I deemed, at that time, to be of more worth than my hanging onto a Home I could no longer afford (no matter how much I loved it). I couldn’t find another renter (in time) who was willing to pay $1,150.00 monthly for my “little piece of heaven”. I didn’t want to live with a stranger. I had experienced a roommate who had stolen possessions and money from me in the past. So, I walked away and allowed the Loan (Shark) company to Foreclose on my precious Home and acreage - my Dreams.

I felt Robbed and Betrayed, but I had no real recourse. What they had done was legal and binding. Ashamed and depressed, I put the majority of my belongings and artwork into storage and sought an affordable ‘roof over my head’ elsewhere.

Eighteen Families lost Their Homes before I did according to Our community’s ‘grapevine’. No telling how many Others lost Their Homes after I left. Each of Us has Their own Tale to Tell. Each of Us had been Betrayed and Played by the Financial Houses We had Trusted and Given our Money - Our Hopes to. Each of Us felt the failure, humiliation, anger and defeat of losing Our Homes. Losing Our Homes to the Empty Financial Shell Games played by Others overtly and legally, unFairly, unEthically and imMorally prospering at Our Expense.

Now here We are - as a Nation - a few short years down the road and America is floundering with thousands of Working Class Families suffering from the Foreclosures of Their Homes at the Greedy, Red Hands of Vulturistic Wheelers-and-Dealers, Financiers, Bankers, Insurance Companies, Politicians and Lenders. Now that the Pain of The Foreclosure Blues is being moaned in Mass - has effected/affected the brimming pocket books of the very people - the very Humanity-Eating, Financial, Legal and Political Wizards (or Jokers) who created and/or allowed this Wicked Charade - this Societal Mess - who are responsible for Conning All of Us into participating in this Empty Financial Shell Game in the first place. Now that the Global Economies, Governments and Societies are feeling the ‘pinch and squeeze’ of these originally Global Financial Shell Games.

Now that the Dis-Ease of Foreclosure will be dealt with by digging into and pilfering the already lean pockets of Working Class American taxpayers even further. Can We All breathe a sigh of relief?! Can We?! I am One of those Many American Taxpayers paying out hard earned monies to help save the Homes of Others from the Foreclosure Blues.

Life is filled with endlessly Ironical Ironies - ha! The laugh is on me - is on Us the Working Class American Taxpayer!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-11-11 18:20:19
Indeed, what we had for a while in this unrecognizable country of ours has been socialism of the rich and prosperous and capitalism for the middle class and the poor. And to think that McCain dared to call a simple call for distributive justice "re-distribution of wealth" and stealing from Joe the Plumber and Joe six-pack and Sarah the hockey mother; while he owns 7 houses and 12 cars. It is nothing less than a travesty. Will the nightmare be over in two short months or will things have to get worse before they get better? Let us continue hoping, for some habits die hard and Obama does not have the majic wand or a cowboy's silver bullet for that matter. It is really up to us the people, ultimately.

Eero Nevalainen2008-11-13 19:03:14
Since when has English become German and started spelling Nouns with a Capital Letter? :-)

Leah Sellers2008-11-14 16:26:38
Hello Mr. Nevalainen,
Another Inquisitive Soul asked me this question (in another way) a few days ago. The question caused me to Ponder and Analyze my Reasonings for the capitalizations which fly so easily from me - ha ! But I had not yet had time to reply. So, here goes.....
As a Musician, I have always been Intrigued by and Appreciative of the Cadences - the Musicality - the Variances inherent within all Languages and Scripts. As a Musician, I relished Exploring the Emotions and Artistry I experienced Singing in different Languages (German, Italian, French) in Opera Theatre. As a Musician (and Idealist), the capitalized Words are my Stress Words - my Words of primary Focus, Attention and Intention.
As a Visual Artist, the capitalized Words add Shape, Context and Variance to the canvas of black lettering on a white Mindscape. More Visual and Idealized interest to the scribblings on a blank page (Tabula Rasa - ha !)
I Thank You and the other Inquisitive Soul who brought my Reasonings and Intentions to my Attention !

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