One of Steve Hartman's more memorable reports was about a woman who stubbornly refused to sell her house, even as a giant building went up all around her. The story's taken another twist, as Steve found out in tonight's "Assignment America":
At the bottom of a 5-story chasm sits a story-and-a-half … a story about a little old lady who stood up to a big new development. You've probably seen similar stories, but I promise, you've never seen one that ends quite like this.
It started, for me at least, about a year-and-a-half ago when the walls were just beginning to rise around the home of 86-year-old Edith Macefield. I'd flown to Seattle to ask her why.
For those of you don't remember that interview …
… That's probably because it never happened.
Even after I sent her flowers and offered to help with the chores …
"Do you want some help, Edith?" Hartman asked.
Macefield proved to be as unwelcoming to me as she was to change in general.
But apparently there was another side to Edith - a sweet side. I found a picture of her hanging on the refrigerator door of Barry Martin, the construction project manager - the man basically in charge of walling her in.
"You really ended up enjoying her company?" Hartman asked.
"Oh, yeah," Martin said. "We got along and we thought a lot the same ways."
When the building project began three years ago, Barry started checking in on Edith - just as a courtesy. Then one day she asked him if he wouldn't mind taking her to the beauty parlor; Barry obliged.
Later it was the doctor's office - and pretty soon he was cooking her three meals a day and visiting her on weekends.
That explains why she re-gifted my flowers to him.
Barry was the closest thing to family Edith had - a responsibility he took seriously, especially after Edith was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
"She didn't want to be put into a nursing home," Martin said. "She wanted to stay there and die in her house where her mother died. And I kind of realized that if I didn't do it, she wasn't going to be able to do that."
"It's funny, every time I come in here I expect to look over there and see her," he said.
Her house is now his house - Edith left it to him.
Today it's not worth a fraction of what it was. But that's OK.
"I walk around there and look at things and think about her," Martin said.
Seems the owner still isn't ready to sell.