Commentary by Sue Morrow: Foreclosures do more than empty houses

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Washoe District Court Judge Patrick Flanaghan recently ruled that Nevada's foreclosure mediation program, which allows distressed borrowers to request a face-to-face mediation with lenders, is not unconstitutional.

It was a particularly important and welcome ruling on legislation passed in the 2009 session when one considers that Nevada's foreclosure rate was the highest in the nation for the 55th straight month.

My heart goes out to families who are uprooted from their homes because of foreclosures on their loans. I can't imagine the pain and anguish that accompanies that situation, and I wonder where do these hapless folks go after they are booted out.

A home is very personal and sentimental. It creates a sense of security and warmth and has a character of its own. Homes generate memories of our lives that last forever.

As a Navy child, we lived in a number of rental houses from coast to coast because my wonderful mother insisted on following the ship.

Each one evokes memories that will cling to my mind for all my life. There was a house we rented in Coronado, Calif., where I later learned that aviation pioneer and entrepreneur Howard Hughes had passed out in our front yard bushes after coming to one of my parents' cocktail parties accompanying a close friend of my folks.

Another Coronado rental reinforced the fact that none of the babysitters hired to tend to us high-spirited (bratty?) children - with me and my twin brother led by our "big" brother who was 10 1/2 months older - would return a second time.

There was a fascinating feature in that house. Drawers that were in the kitchen also fed in to the dining room. The babysitter was in the kitchen, and the three of us went in to the dining room and stealthily pushed the drawers so they would come out in the kitchen. The poor young woman shrieked with terror, believing, I guess, that there was a ghost in residence. Needless to say she didn't accept any more jobs from Mom.

I remember with fondness the lovely home in Dearborn, Mich., one of dozens owned by the renowned automobile maker Henry Ford, who loaned it to us during the time in which my father commanded a naval training center, a former Ford trade center which he had turned over to the Navy during WWII.

Ford took my parents to the house for a walk-though, and they eventually made their way to a basement "rumpus room." It had knotty pine paneling and a large bar with honest to goodness taps for kegs of beer. Ford, a tea-toteler, gesturing to the bar and with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, commented that that was where they could make their sodas.

I loved that house and especially so because my dad was on shore duty and could share it with us.

Our stay in Norfolk, Va., from where my dad's ship would come and go, was also memorable but not necessarily in a positive way.

Pre-war Norfolk was notorious for its anti-Navy attitude which was evidenced by signs at parks saying "dogs and sailors keep off the grass."

My mother got very frustrated about the apartment we rented because it had a refrigerator that wouldn't work - the landlady suggested Mom put her meat out on the kitchen window sill to keep it cold - and the fact that because of the lack of heat we had to eat our meals wearing our winter coats.

Her complaints were ignored, so she wrote a letter to the commander of the Atlantic Fleet. Imagine Mom's surprise when the landlady called her a few days later to announce that a new refrigerator was being delivered right away, and the furnace was being repaired. It seems the admiral passed the information on to the daily newspaper which ran a huge expose about the treatment of Navy families in Norfolk. No names were used but the Landlady from Hell obviously recognized Mom's story.

Because of my dad's military career, Mom and us children were often uprooted from our homes. But we always had a comfortable, clean and cozy place to replace it.

Unfortunately, that can't be said for the thousands of Nevadans who are literally thrown out of the dwellings they have come to love.

Something has to be done!

• Sue Morrow is a longtime Nevada journalist and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame. She maybe be reached at


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