Hello? Leroy?

In less than a month, my family and I will be marking a momentous occasion. On June 20th, it’ll be 7 years since we moved into our palatial West Philly estate. WOWZA. 7 years! Where does the time go?

This event is especially significant b/c we purchased our home through a special University of Pennsylvania guaranteed mortgage program, created for people like us: well-educated family types who work hard for the university but are otherwise too young (read poor) to undertake homeownership w/out some help. I know a lot of people in West Philly fault or praise Penn for all sorts of things. Gentrification (or PENNtrification, depending upon perspective), the UCD, drunken college antics, and what have you. But we’re nothing but grateful for the university’s assistance when it comes to our home-sweet-home.

7 years ago, the PENN mortgage program generously provided us with $15,000 to settle w/in specified boundaries of the neighborhood – a loan which would be forgiven IN ITS ENTIRETY, were we to remain as principal occupants of our residence for (you guessed it) 7 years. We got our letter in the mail recently alerting us that as of June 20th we have fulfilled our promise. Were we to sell our house June 21st, we would not owe Penn one red cent. Not that we are thinking of moving, but it sure feels good to have that psychological burden lifted. In addition we have our beautiful house, which 7 years ago cost us $115K, and today is worth 3 to 4 times that. Life is good.

So, who – pray tell – is Leroy? How could we have reached the 3rd paragraph already and not have a bloody clue WHO this guy from the title is?? Well. To be honest, I am thinking the same thing. Who is Leroy? And I am not talking about some existential debate here people, I am wondering WHO THE HELL IS LEROY?? And WHY for the past SEVEN YEARS have people been calling here looking for him????

Hello? Leroy? Hi, Leroy? Hey, is this Leroy’s Variety? I have gotten every possible variation on this theme. On the other end of the line is often an Indian man or woman, going by the name of Sue or Bobby or Pat, with an accent so thick I could cut it with a knife. I have been answering the phone time and time again to inform all of these people, phone solicitors, lawyers, rental agents, snack machine vendors, product salesmen and anyone else who wants to KNOW that Leroy’s Variety IS NO MORE. The past 7 years. Yes, I am polite. Nowadays I am often laughing. But, I tell them, I am not the Business Owner. For THIS is a residence. Now that my husband’s email address has somehow mysteriously become associated with this Leroy, I am finally putting out the call. HEY LEROY, IF YOU ARE OUT THERE, I HAVE A FEW THOUSAND MESSAGES FOR YOU. Send me your number. I’ll make sure you get them.