Harold & Annie: A Detroit story of truly loving - New York News

Harold & Annie: A Detroit story of truly loving

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By Charlie LeDuff
Fox 2 News Reporter


DETROIT (WJBK) -- As the holidays approach, we're all reminded to think about those who are less fortunate.  That's exactly what's taking place in one Detroit neighborhood.  Two people once couldn't stand the sight of each other.  Now one is relying on the other for survival.

"My name's Harold.... I'm a retired Detroit fireman.  I met Annie in 1971 when I opened a business next door... right off of Gratiot on Conner."

"Her and I have had a love-hate relationship for years.  Now she's kind of in dire straights.  She lives in a big, old house here that she owns.  She has only electricity.  She has no water.  She has no heat."

"Nobody seems to care.  She's 83 years old."

When Harold and Annie where young, they bickered.  She was ornery and shot her second husband five times.  He lived, but seeing how it was, the second husband moved on and so did the third.

The neighborhood has since fallen down and Annie's grown old.  Now she's a shut away and all she's got left is Harold and her cat, Tootsie.

There was a fire a few months ago and Annie was trapped inside.  Since then, Harold has taken it upon himself to clear an aisle through her hoarding mania.

"To get in here, you had to grab the railing and pull yourself up.  That was part of the debris that I removed out of here so she could get out," Harold said.

"I was thinking if that fire would've (gone) a little further, she would've burned to death because she wouldn't (have) been able to get out of the house."

On many mornings, Harold boards up and barricades the windows where scrappers have crept in and robbed Annie while she sleeps.

Is she afraid?

"No, because I believe in Jesus and he looks after me and I say my prayers every day.  That's all I can do."

Is she glad she has Harold?

"Yeah, he comes every day with my coffee and doughnuts and my soup.  He does everything for me.  I should've married him, but he said I was too old."

Does Harold love Annie?

"I don't know.  There's probably some kind of love there.  It's more a caring.  I care about people.  I care about her.  Like I said, I don't want (anything) bad to happen to her."

It's growing cold now and Harold worries that Annie won't make it through the winter.  He'll bring Thanksgiving dinner from his table.  He'll bring that to Annie and a cup of human warmth.

It's been written that you give very little when you only give away possessions.  It's when you give of yourself that you truly love.

Annie will be fine.  She has Harold.  And Harold will be fine, too, because Annie doesn't have a gun anymore.

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