A holiday message from home occupier Marc SimonOccupyOurHomes on December 25, 2012
Marc Simon and his mother Pearl have been fighting Fannie Mae and JP Morgan Chase to keep Pearl's home of over 50 years. Marc created a campaign on Start2.OccupyOurHomes.org to build organizing power around their case. So far, they've been able to keep their home, but they're not out of the woods yet.
Marc emailed us a holiday note and asked that it be shared with the Occupy Our Homes community of activists. It is copied below.
Hello, Housing Justice Advocates and Kind People,
Looking out the front windows in my home that I share with my elderly mother Pearl on the eve of Christmas, the scene looks unusually magical: a combination of snow and ice has gathered within nearby maple and evergreen trees, creating a scene that seems as it were pulled out of one of those family Christmas specials that have run for decades on TV. Add in the tinsel and lights on some of these trees, and it is especially enchanting. For five decades now, my mother and I have seen an attractive holiday-season spectacle out of our front windows, but this holiday season, the decorations, snow and ice seem to have come together to make it especially memorable for us.
For those following the OccupyOurHomes.com website, it is apparent that this holiday season, we nearly did not get treated to this sort of magical spectacle. An unmanageable mortgage loan solicited to my late father a few years before he died created an odyssey of difficulty for us that I would not wish for any of my neighbors to go through. Even last year’s spectacle of eagerly looking out the front window was nearly short-circuited for us: the big bank that pushed that mortgage loan – with the loan especially becoming unmanageable after my father died -- gave us a December 25, 2011 evacuation date in a letter. It is a small miracle that we are able to see December 25, 2012, in all its frosty, magical glory, out of our front window this year.
If there is any God out there, it is perhaps due to him working a bit of magic on the fellow working from “the other team” who was given the highly unusual task of carrying out a summary eviction almost as soon as the judicial order to allow this was received. Evictions are quite rarely locally carried out this way, and the attorney who was asked to do this to us simply could not throw out an 86-year-old disabled woman, who had been in her home for 52 years, in this manner. My own attorney explained to me that both he and that other fellow are Rotarians – people in the business world who are held to an ethical code in how they conduct business and life. One doesn’t need to try to provide “product placement” to any fraternal nonprofit group out there to say that this action does speak well of the Rotary International in how its members have chosen to obey its ethical code, and put the community welfare at the top of the list in how they conduct themselves to others in their communities.
My Christmas/holiday wish out there is for more people in the financial and legal world to “be Rotarian in spirit” and to realize that leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths through the pushing of unmanageable financial products, which may well return robust quick profits, is probably not the best way for banks and other financial institutions to cultivate lifetime customers. After all, after the kind of experience that I and my mother went through, who would even want to have a basic checking account at one of these institutions? Maybe one day, these institutions will see that “a different way” is not only the right thing to do, but is actually good for business in the long term as well.
This is my wish, along with hoping that anyone facing foreclosure is able to keep their homes if they wish to do so, and that even people facing post-eviction trauma, such as the Vinjes who have graced this website with their sad saga, can find peace and hopefully even get their homes back if at all reasonably possible. In my previous personal comments written here, I indicated that I would rather take a proactive as opposed to a reactive stance in regards to housing justice. As a New Year’s resolution, keep posted here: I have something special, as a spinoff from my academic work as a student, that I think is innovative and can help in that regard, to be posted as a link to the “Start2” OccupyOurHomes website. It has tools and concepts that would be more valuable to all concerned – even to the financial and housing institutions out there – than my and my mother’s foreclosed house in their possession, I humbly feel. (And, by the way, I love feedback and suggestions!) Keep posted!
Again, best wishes to all…and for now, I and my mother still have that magical window scene to inspire us -- and give us hope…. –Regards/Peace, Marc Simon