It’s been just over two years since Melissa Pigue survived an explosion at her home on Surfside Road caused by a propane leak.
The explosion and ensuing fire left her badly burned, and destroyed her home along with everything that she owned. Two years later Pigue - the owner of the Melissa David Salon & Restorative Spa - is rebuilding her life, including her new home. She’s navigated a long road to recovery, but Pigue was not prepared for the piece of mail she received this week.
Stuffed inside her mailbox, Pigue found an anonymous letter from someone describing themselves as Pigue’s “future neighbor,” and asking that she “please put in a lawn in consideration of your neighbors.”
While the shingles are up on Pigue’s house and she is living there, the lot is still dirt, with weeds growing in in some places.
“As anyone knows that has dealt with a construction undertaking, it’s slow going,” Pigue said. “Which is why I haven’t gotten to the freaking lawn!.”
The unsigned letter gives five other suggestions for improving her property - including pulling weeds, hiding garbage cans, and trimming bushes - and concludes with the following:
“We will be sure that ours is done for the benefit of everyone and it will not impact your taxes!”
The letter was posted by Pigue’s friend Lane Corbett on social media, setting off a firestorm of angry comments about the anonymous letter writer.
What was Pigue’s reaction?
“If I’m being honest, at first I felt shame and a little sick to my stomach because I know the yard has come back honestly sooner than I thought and a little wild but it has been virtually impossible to find anyone who has the room in their schedule or the time to come tend to it,” she said. “This was quickly followed by a little anger because who are you? No, literally who are you? If you have such specific opinions on my yard the least you can do is tell me who you are so I can explain why it looks like that. And I’m sorry but starting from a dirt lot into a nice lawn does take time and a good amount of money!”
The insensitivity of the letter - and the circumstances of Pigue’s situation and recovery from a traumatic event - have prompted some island residents to go beyond expressing their outrage online. A few have been sleuthing property records and real estate sales in an attempt to identify the letter writer.
Pigue isn’t one of them, but we asked her what she would say to the person who wrote the letter if she happened to meet them.
“I would just want them to know why my lawn has not been at the top of my priority list after losing everything I own and that it is honestly sad to me that these are the things that affect their life so tremendously,” she said. “Trust me, as a couple of my other fellow islanders can attest that have dealt with loss from fire and the crippling blow of the ‘help’ of insurance or lack thereof, the things you thought really mattered like super green grass and curb appeal 1000 percent do not!”
“A couple of friends have joked that I should offer to rent the yard out to store boats, fill it with plastic flamingos and even chickens and cows,” she added with a laugh. “I love our community.”
Beyond the outrage over the letter, Pigue has received words of encouragement from friends and acquaintances, along with offers of assistance. Since the letter was made public, Josh Sandsbury, of Grey Lady Plumbing, along with Waterworks of Nantucket, have offered to donate an irrigation system and seeding at Pigue’s property. The gestures have all been uplifting for Pigue, who just got into a laser surgery trial at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for her burn scarring.
“Sometimes you get so downtrodden from the day-in-and-day-out when having to start over but then you get swarmed with all the people that have your back and the overwhelming sense of community and then some, at the drop of a hat,” she said. “I need to remember that. We all should.”