Notes from the Newsroom
John I. Carney

'Hoarders' tonight

Posted Monday, January 4, 2010, at 9:57 AM
View 23 comments
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  • Great...I suppose that the story about Thomas and Brenda Snell is now going national?

    -- Posted by TubeSock on Mon, Jan 4, 2010, at 2:30 PM
  • No, it has nothing to do with that.

    -- Posted by Jicarney on Mon, Jan 4, 2010, at 3:21 PM
  • Very sad story, especially Sam.

    -- Posted by titansfan on Tue, Jan 5, 2010, at 7:46 AM
  • It was very sad. I hope they are able to turn things around.

    -- Posted by Average_Joe on Tue, Jan 5, 2010, at 7:50 AM
  • John, I recorded that show last night so I could watch it today.

    I joke with my children that when I win the lottery I am going to build a house with more corners so I will have more places to stick "stuff". They remind me that I will never win, because you have to play before you can win.

    Seriously, Mine is not that bad, but I am getting there.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 5, 2010, at 12:37 PM
  • It was so sad to see those boys cleaning the house and the parents standing outside. I think it was laziness as much as the hoarding on the parents part. I hope they will not let this happen again. The boys need to put locks on their bedroom doors so the parents can't junk their rooms up again.

    -- Posted by greeneyes on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 8:28 AM
  • The sad thing is,Lewis' teacher told her class to watch the show that night.The poor kid had to go to school the next day and face his classmates.How many would have watched if she hadn't said to?She should be ashamed of herself!

    -- Posted by shrtckt2003 on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 9:21 AM
  • The media, that childs teacher, and Mr. Carney should all be ashamed of themselves. You have all exploited those children! The parents are both pathetic for putting their kids in such a horrible environment not to mention the embarrassment they have caused.

    I pray that the childrens peers are more sympathetic than the adults that made this public have been.

    -- Posted by Disgusted on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 11:50 AM
  • Well actually no one forced these parents to be on the TV show. They are the ones who have put their children in this situation and they are the ones who have made this public.They could have done this without making their problem public knowledge.

    I feel for those kids but they are 14 and 11 and should have been trying to help clean the house also. I am not totally blaming the children because I am sure this is the way they have lived all their lives they don't know any other way. But yet they are old enough to know that they are ashamed of the way they live.

    But maybe the shame of the way they live will help them all overcome the problem.

    -- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 12:02 PM
  • You are correct, no one forced them to go on TV and it is the parents fault! Seems that the children have better cleaning skills than the parents and that's pretty pathetic. It's the parents place to teach children by example.

    The children are not to blame! If the parents as adults couldn't deal with it how could children be expected to even know where to begin?

    -- Posted by Disgusted on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 12:33 PM
  • In my defense, I didn't know anything about the episode other than it had been taped in Shelbyville until I watched it along with everyone else. I did not know that children were involved. All we knew was that an episode had been taped in Shelbyville on such-and-such a date (the consultant Tweeted about it as she was leaving town). I'd never even seen "Hoarders" until that night.

    -- Posted by Jicarney on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 12:57 PM
  • I truly doubt when this blog was written that there was any knowledge of kids being involved.

    The parents CHOSE to be on the show but those kids should have never been made a part of it. The teacher however should bre reprimanded for announcing this. How tacky.

    -- Posted by gottago on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 2:06 PM
  • Look at the bright side.

    This is one of the rare times that John Carney has written about something that got double digit comments.

    At least give him credit for that accomplishment.

    -- Posted by somecommonsense on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 6:44 PM
  • Well, everyone knows this family likes the limelight. I hope the pay they received for exposing their children to such embarrassment was worth the price they may pay in the long run if their children also become alcoholics and hoarders. At least Deborah now can say she has been the star of both TV and the big screen. At first I thought this was just another acting job. I agree with greeneyes that a lot of what I saw appeared to be just plain slothfulness. Why would anyone "hoard" a nasty spilled mess in their refrigerator, or "hoard" the burnt-on grease on the cookstove. ( I hope the meal that was prepared by them for the Fly Dinner wasn't cooked on that stove!) Also, it seems a true hoarder couldn't stand out on the street smoking while someone else packed up their mess being they were so attached to it. It seems she would have been hovering over it guarding it with her life. Something about this story just doesn't ring true. If TV exposure is what they are after, why humiliate your children and other family members for 30 minutes of air time? I'm sure John Carney would have never encouraged people to watch this if he had known the children would have suffered embarrassment. I don't care how clean the house may be now, if I were DHS I'd be back on the same doorstep trying to decide if these parents really do have these children's best interest at heart. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging if not worse that physical abuse!

    -- Posted by writeattitude on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 1:03 PM
  • I agree totally with writeattitude!!!! We heard today they are going to be on The View next week. Great being famous for being a slob!!!!!!!

    -- Posted by missysmom on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 5:14 PM
  • According to a recent article in the paper you get jail time for mistreating animals, yet you can emotionally damage your children or put them in an unhealthy environment and you get TV time with pay! What's wrong with this picture?????

    -- Posted by writeattitude on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 9:12 AM
  • I saw the episode and had no idea that it was from Shelbyville. And I am sorry, but I believe that CPS needs to take the kids away from the parents. I mean, how can you live like that? And how can you subject your children to appearing on the show without thinking what mental damage that it is going to cause them! The mom was just a lazy slob. I mean, she stood around and watched her kids and the workers there cleaning. She didn't even help until the end of the show where she had to sort through what she wanted and didn't want. I don't think that the couple need the children. I believe that they would be safer and have more of a childhood living elsewhere. I don't mean to rough anyone's feathers in my comments, but this is simply horrible!!!

    -- Posted by PrpleHze on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 5:23 PM
  • My son is in the 8th grade and yes the teacher was advertising the episode to the school and from what I understand even "showed" a taped version the next day. Its a shame and this teacher should be brought up to face an ethics committee of some kind to answer for this very poor behavior. How twisted can an educator be to encourage the peers of such a child to watch him live thru his every day hell. Kids @ this age especially can be very cruel. I guess this is just one of the many reasons HMS can't seem to get their scores out of the ditch. They have teachers like this one...sad....very sad.

    As for this family..I can't see living this way. Hoarding is a very real "psych disorder" and I have no doubt that each and every member in the family had MAJOR issues and needs intensive therapy.... but some of that was just plain laziness and filth!! DHS should have been made aware of this problem long ago.

    This family is very well known and I even believe that Deborah has a nephew that is a city codes enforcer. I sure hope and pray that he had NO knowledge of the conditions those kids were living in. It all goes back to the good old saying "If your not part of the solution...your part of the problem" and I just find it hard to believe that the extended friends and family of these people did not know how severe this problem was..especially considering that this was not the 1st time DHS was involved with this very family for this very reason some years back.

    -- Posted by crystalclear2me on Sat, Jan 9, 2010, at 1:10 AM
  • Thank you for calling attention to this serious problem, that can be life threatening. Clearly it is difficult for anyone who does not suffer from a cluttering problem to understand what it is like to be paralyzed emotionally and unable to let go of things that appear to be trash to others. Thank god there is a 12 step group for people who are desperate to help themselves through fellowship, action and provides tools to let go of things one day at a time. Clutterers Anonymous http://www.clutterersanonymous.net

    -- Posted by berkcla on Sat, Jan 9, 2010, at 2:37 AM
  • Thank you,bercla,for your practical and empathetic contribution to this topic.

    Hoarders don't have to be morally or mentally deficient.

    Like folks with other flaws,they can be the bright,polite,"together" people we interact with every day.

    The other areas of their lives may earn our respect or even envy.

    As exploitative as the "surreality" programs can be,they can also pull the curtain away from not-so-perfect private lives and show that,just as public figures can have their secret difficulties,ordinary people can have extraordinary challenges.

    When we see how others live,we can view our own lives in a different context.

    We can catch on that the person we think is a loser from what we see of them MAY have the cleanest house,the most loving home life and the healthiest mindset of anyone we know.

    We don't know how the other half lives nor what changes they are capable of making in their lives.

    But,whatever damage can come from these peeks inside people's lives,some good can occur.

    Problems can be treated.

    Good things can be celebrated.

    Joys and sorrows can be shared.

    These "expose's" can reveal how little we know about our neighbors and how much commonality and connection we can have with strangers.

    The Obenchains may have some people think of them with contempt or pity due to how they have lived.

    But,they have exhibited the same symptoms when gathering souls that other people might have dismissed as too tacky,worthless or damaged to hold on to.

    They,like many other hoarders,may obsess over property but they also see the beauty and potential in every day,every object and every person.

    When the dangerous,crippling aspects of these habits are removed,the positive elements give us our recyclers,our restorers,our "re-purposers",our treasure hunters,anthropologists,curators and collectors.

    Hoarders can be helped by realizing that they aren't being asked to jettison who they are along with what they have.

    They're just being shown how to keep what matters to them in a safe and accessible way and how to let go of anything that's doing more harm than good.

    The "trash" a hoarder retains can be seen and touched (and smelled!) but who among us hasn't kept outmoded ideas,festering resentments,broken dreams and other invisible,intangible debris?

    The "pack rats" need not hear that they are lazy or have no ability to discern garbage from decent stuff.

    They just need to be shown how,one bit at a time,every part of their lives can be made useful and attractive.

    Some of those parts,they'll keep at their side.

    Others can be "retired" and removed but,as survivors of disaster (like the Cunninghams) have learned,the essence of a well-loved material thing can be kept in memory long after the physical part has been destroyed or moved on.

    -- Posted by quantumcat on Sat, Jan 9, 2010, at 12:21 PM
  • I think you people who are attacking this teacher and the school system are HORRIBLE!! Were you there the day this student brought up the fact that his family will be on the show!? NO you werent. So before you go jumping to conclusions and bad mouthing someone who you do not know maybe you should take a step back and think about what could have really happened!! Maybe this student wanted to get facts straight and talk about the disorder so that the kids didnt "randomly" see the episode and think the worse. Teachers are there not only for education but to help the students through rough times.. Hell they spend more time raising todays kids than the parents do!! I doubt the teacher brought a copy of the show in!! I mean be realistic!! You all owe this teacher an apology.. You should be ashamed of yourselves!!

    -- Posted by Defense Attorney B on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 8:08 AM
  • so first i want to say that teacher did say that to the kids & wrote it on the board if she was tryin to help she would of kept her mouth shut cause honestly wat 6th & 8th grade kids do you know watch A&E?So she should owe those children an apology & for the parents they should have had more respect for their kids not to exploit them like that!My little brother is the oldest sons bestfriend & apparently everyone made fun of those kids so the parents & that teacher deserve a round of applause for putting them through emotional & mental hell!children these days are cruel so what happens next year when sam or lewis want some friends over for their birthday or something half of those kids won't come all because of this.Bravo!

    -- Posted by loubanks on Mon, Mar 15, 2010, at 12:13 AM
  • which episode was this show on?

    -- Posted by 4fabfelines on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 5:57 PM
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