Purple makes some neighbors see red

August 28, 1993|By James Bock | James Bock,Staff Writer

Pat Jeddock just adores purple. Purple ice trays and purple window shades. A purple picket fence and heart-shaped purple petunias. And, oh yes, a Charles Village house that's as purple (well, it's really more of a dark lavender) as possible.

"Purple's been my favorite color ever since I can remember," says Ms. Jeddock, 29, while beating the summer heat in her purple flip-flops. "Eventually, inside and out, the house is going to be purple."

But neighbors talk, and the talk around the Jeddock house at 32nd Street and Abell Avenue has not been at all complimentary. One person's thing of beauty is another's eyesore forever.

Score another "people problem" for Baltimore neighborhoods.

In the Baltimore area, as elsewhere across the country, residents' No. 1 complaint about where they live is their own neighbors, according to a federal government survey released this week. Annoying neighbors top crime, noise, traffic, litter, upkeep and poor government services as the prime source of pique.

Nightmare neighbors come in assorted packages, all of them unappealing, according to a sample of Baltimoreans consulted yesterday.

The neighbors from hell are noisy or nosy. They are the loudest nocturnal creatures in nature. Their dogs bark, their kids howl and their stereos blare. They never touch a weed unless it's marijuana. And sometimes they adore purple.

A man who has lived on Pat Jeddock's block for 30 years walked by, shot a glance at the purple and muttered: "I think that's the worst thing in the whole neighborhood. I think it's lousy. But if you don't like it, move." He wouldn't give his name.

Grenville Whitman, vice president of the Abell Improvement Association, said Ms. Jeddock's purple palace "is not going to be in Town & Country. People giggle. But it's her taste [vs.]

everybody else's.

"What can we do? It's better than it used to be when it wasn't painted. It doesn't violate any law or code. I could care less. If we could take care of the crime, the schools, the speeders, the looters, then we could worry about pastel colors," Mr. Whitman said.

Ms. Jeddock, who has lived in the neighborhood since she was 16, says she wouldn't change her house's color no matter how many petitions were brought to bear.

"It cost me over a thousand bucks to get that painted," she says.

If some Charles Villagers' eyes are sore, Nancy Cook, a cashier in East Baltimore, complains of what must rate as a neighborhood "earsore."

Ms. Cook likes nothing better than to enjoy her afternoon soap operas. But recently a neighbor's daughter and boyfriend have been conducting amorous encounters at such a decibel level that even the television can't mask the sound.

"When I watch my stories, I really watch them, but that distracted me," Ms. Cook says. "You've seen love scenes in movies. Well, it's louder than that. I found out what the boyfriend's name was because she hollered it so loud. It's a little ridiculous, don't you think? I wouldn't want nobody to hear me."

Ms. Cook, who has a 15-year-old daughter, complained to the neighbor. "They could be discreet about it. She told me if I didn't like it I could close the windows."

Christina Wiley, 19, had a male neighbor in Fells Point who insisted on sunbathing in the nude in his postage-stamp backyard.

"You could easily look out the back or side window and see him and his friends," Ms. Wiley said. "He said it's his yard and he should be able to do what he wants."

Susie Johnson, a 49-year-old nurse in East Baltimore, says the ZTC hot weather brings out the boisterous, late-night drinkers who regard her front steps as a second home. But Ms. Johnson says she has found an answer to their presence: prayer.

"They drink and I pray and they move," she says. "I was praying for me to leave, but the Lord made them leave. I have to stay prayed up all the time because you don't know these days who's out to get you."

No federal government survey asks about dream neighbors. But Pete Maggitti says he has some.

Mr. Maggitti, 48, moved into his rowhouse near Patterson Park 17 years ago. Before long, the couple next door was helping him take care of his young daughter. They continued to do so all the way through her graduation from high school last spring.

About six years ago, a new neighbor moved in on Mr. Maggitti's other side. Mr. Maggitti, who is divorced, and his neighbor, a woman who is also divorced, struck up a friendship. In the past two years, it has become a romance.

"I can't complain too much," Mr. Maggitti says. "My neighbors have been nothing but good."

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