My Daily Journal: Friday – December 30, 2016
Hanna The Hoarder Has Passed Away –
I’ve just received word from Hanna’s daughter – that Hanna passed away this afternoon after suffering a heart attack a couple weeks ago. At the time of her heart attack – she was still living on Simpson Blacktop. A few years ago – she became known as the chicken lady when the Hoarders TV show did her story of how she lived in a shack with chickens. But there was so much more to Hanna – that most folks ever knew. She actually had a heart of gold, really. And wanted for herself and her own family – the same things most of us want – love, respect, togetherness.
Kim and I got to really know Hanna after she was on the Hoarder’s TV Show a few years ago –
Many people ridiculed Hanna – because of the way she lived with animals and the horrific living conditions she lived in – but something about seeing her on that show just touched me in a different way –
I couldn’t eat for thinking about her sitting on that bucket and eating out of that old plate with chickens all around her. And I’d snuggle in our bed under layers of covers every night after seeing her on the TV show and think of her in that shack with no heat in the dead of winter.
I thought about her for about a week after the show and I realized I just had to meet her and get to know her – and see if I could help her – and I did.
Hanna The Hoarder: The Letter That Started It All
I wrote her a letter – she quickly replied and invited Kim and I to come and meet her and see how she was cleaning her house up after the TV show.
We made several trips to Hanna’s – always taking gifts and lots of food. We even took her bouquets out of my gardens. She was always so thrilled to see us and we’d sit and talk and laugh – We always hated to leave – because she was so interesting to talk to and so funny. And she’d always ask when we were coming back.
Kim and I ended up doing her story for my newspaper column Everybody Has a Story – and it was picked up by the Vienna Times and they actually sold out of newspapers and had to make more. That thrilled Hanna to pieces.
But although Hanna had her own problems – she still had a way of making the best of any situation. She was ‘doing’ with what she had to do with – and making the most of what she had. And she taught herself to be happy that way.
Marrying Richard was a desperate move – Hanna was looking for love and she had looked in the wrong place. She had met Richard in prison when she went to visit her son. And when he was released – he headed straight for Hanna – knowing how desperate she was. And boy did he pull the wool over HER eyes. We tried and tried to tell her – but she didn’t want to be alone and she said he was good to her.
Richard ‘seemed’ nice – but he didn’t care for Kim and I and he made no bones about it. He knew we could see right through him and we’d always joke on our way to Hanna’s that we wondered if we were driving to our own doom.
One day as we were leaving – Richard said “Hey – I’ve got a hole back in that back field that’s big enough to bury a car – and people in it – and it would never be found.” We just turned and walked on to the car. But we never went back after that – in spite of Hanna’s many pleas by phone and letter for us to come back. I told Hanna to send Richard packing – and we’d run back and forth like we had been doing – but she just couldn’t do it. He eventually left her for her own daughter. Talk about a Jerry Springer situation … gads.
But I truly loved Hanna. She was a victim of her own up bringing. She grew up and duplicated the life for her own family – that she had grown up in herself – and it was nothing pretty or anything to brag about.
But Hanna truly wanted to be happy and to love and be loved – She really just wanted the same things all of us want. She just didn’t have a clue how to go about getting a normal life.
That is so gut wrenchingly sad to me. And just think how many others there are out there – just like Hanna.
I was just sick when I heard she had had the heart attack and I couldn’t get to Evansville – and now she’s passed.
But I do know – that she knew – that she may have had a life a reality tv show could have been made around – but she knew there was 2 goofy ladies just 15 minutes south of her – that truly cared about her and wanted all the good things for her – that she wanted for herself.
It’s kind of like the old saying about a Dandelion – “Some see a weed – I see a wish” That’s the way “I” felt about Hanna.
Hanna was different – that’s a fact – but she will always have a little place in my heart.
Below is a note Hanna’s daughter Linda put on my page about her mom.