11:08 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 29, 2008
By JESSICA MEYERS/ The Dallas Morning News
Marilyn Mock went to last weekend’s foreclosure auction in Dallas as a dutiful parent. She left as a minor celebrity. Now, she’s a national hero.
The 50-year-old Rockwall woman acted on instinct when she bought Tracy Orr’s Pottsboro home back for her while Ms. Mock’s son was signing papers on his first house. But at a time when economic woes rule the headlines, a stranger’s big-heartedness can make national news.Ms. Mock’s good deed prompted Good Morning America to knock on her door before dawn, drew local police to investigate CNN’s satellite truck, and led to a slew of interview requests from the Oprah, Ellen and Dr. Phil shows.
“All these people are calling and calling and calling and calling,” said Ms. Mock, who runs a rock yard with her three children. Two pot-bellied pigs wander around outside.
“I don’t understand it. I just happened to be there, and anybody else would have done the same thing.”
But few others have agreed to bid on a piece of property they’ve never seen, for someone they’ve never met. Ms. Mock paid about $30,000 for the house in Grayson County and plans to use her dump truck as collateral against the mortgage payments. Ms. Orr will make payments to her instead of a bank, Ms. Mock said.
The women are awaiting final approval from Fannie Mae before they visit the single-family home for which Ms. Orr, 38, took out an $80,000 mortgage in 2004. She lost her job a month after taking out the loan, and earlier this year she lost the house.
“I’d kind of already accepted the fact that this was the end. It was closure,” she said.The two women were sitting by the auction door Saturday when Ms. Mock struck up a conversation with the sobbing Ms. Orr and discovered that she was about to lose her house.
“Then she was standing there and bidding and someone was shaking my hand,” Ms. Orr said.
“She didn’t even know if I had a job or was a nut case. She didn’t even see a picture of the house.”
None of that mattered, Ms. Mock said. “She needed help. That was it.”
Ms. Orr’s fairytale rescue happened amid a sea of foreclosures. At least 4,200 homes in the Dallas area are scheduled for a foreclosure sale in November, according to Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service. More than 46,000 homeowners have been threatened with foreclosure this year, a 31 percent increase from the same period last year.
“All these things were going through my mind,” Ms. Mock said. “I grabbed her arm and pulled her with me and tried to make her understand.”
After the purchase, Ms. Orr disappeared. “I thought, what if she left?” Ms. Mock said. “What would I tell my husband, ‘Hello, honey, I bought a house for this lady and I don’t know where she went?’.”
But Ms. Orr, a former U.S. Postal Service employee and now a housekeeper at All Saints Camp and Conference Center, was waiting outside in tears.
Then a news camera showed up.
“They caught us,” said Ms. Mock, who was hoping to keep the deal quiet.
The Mock family is adjusting to the extra attention, said her son Dustin,27, who accompanied her that day.
“I said, ‘I can’t believe you just did that. What are you thinking?’.” he said. “It’s a little annoying,” he admitted about the endless ringing of the phone. “People are calling to say, ‘The story touched me so much.’ We appreciate
it, but we are trying to get stuff done.”
The women talk on the phone daily but haven’t met since the purchase or worked out details of the financial arrangement. In the meantime, Ms. Orr said she doesn’t mind the barrage of media, saying she hopes others will follow Ms. Mock’s lead.
“More than my house, she gave me something inside, and that’s more important than material or financial things,” she said.
I was surprised to read THIS one. I SURVIVED MY FIRST EARTHQUAKE, and I didn't even know it!
Two minor earthquakes shake Dallas-Fort Worth area 08:26 AM CDT on Friday, October 31, 2008
By ARLINDA ARRIAGA /
The Dallas Morning News
Dallas-Fort Worth residents received a pre-Halloween scare as two minor
earthquakes shook the area overnight.
The U.S. Geological Survey says a 2.5-magnitude earthquake centered in
the Grand Prairie area was reported at 11:25 p.m. Thursday. A slightly stronger
3.0-magnitude quake centered in the Irving area occurred 36 minutes later.
Law enforcement agencies across northern Texas said they received some
911 calls from concerned residents but no reports of damage.
Irving police spokesman David Tull said his agency received about 25
calls around midnight from people inquiring about the vibrations, which set off
car and building alarms.
Grand Prairie and Fort Worth officials also reported no damage. "We
just learned about it on the news this morning,” said Dawn Atkins, a Grand
Prairie emergency dispatcher.
USGS geophysicist Randy Baldwin said the quakes, which lasted only a
few seconds, most likely felt "like a lightly loaded truck passing by, kind of a
sharp jerk and then a rapid vibration."
Irving resident Christine Laughland said she was sleeping when the
earthquake woke her up. She's from California and wasn't too shocked by the
vibrations. But she couldn't say the same thing for her dogs. “They were barking
hysterically because it was their first one,” she said.
Reports of the quake also came from Dallas, Euless and Hurst and
Fort Worth, Mr. Baldwin said. Aftershocks could last several days. There is also
a possibility of more smaller quakes in the coming days that no one would likely
Texas occasionally has earthquakes. An April 7 earthquake in southern
Texas had a 3.7 magnitude. A minor earthquake was felt by some people in
Amarillo on March 30, 2002. The Amarillo area also recorded seven minor
earthquakes in 2000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.