Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Oldest House - A Follow Up - Bits and Pieces

The Oldest House

A Follow-up

Bits and Pieces

            “That part… (in the previous post; “I don’t want to be outside here tomorrow talking with the owners and all locked out and have a ‘I didn’t go in there’ thing.”)… I LIKED THAT; that you got that in.  TRUE IT IS.  I don’t EVER want that.  But, of course, I’ve HAD THAT HAPPEN.  Don’t like it and it don’t happen NOW like when I was YOUNG.  Oh boy back then.  I WAS BUNK ONCE.  But I know it.
            “So I was thinking about all that.  And I want to show you something.”

            He takes a …jagged but squared-off broken piece of dark olive green glass… out of his pocket, rolls it with his thumb in his palm and then presents it in his palm toward me.  I know exactly what that is.  He knows I do and he continues.

            “You probably remember this.  NOT this piece of glass but where it came from.  Remember… well… twenty-five?  I THINK ITS twenty-SEVEN years NOW.  Ago.  I got that Barter farm.  You remember that?”
            I nod acknowledgement as a flashing memory of a large Victorian farm… up on a hill… outside of town… years ago… BEFORE it was ‘restored’… as it is today as I drive by it all the time… ‘comes back to me’.
            “You remember that one.  Big one.  This is FROM THERE.  This.” he says holding it up by his thumb and forefinger “is the LAST THING I got out of there.  I keep this… well… I KEEP IT for more than JUST THIS but… KEEP IT… to REMIND ME.
            “You remember:  We were in there for TWO WEEKS.  Left alone all ok for that was a BIG clean out.  And I knew it and was right on top of it.  Started at six (AM) everyday.  And of course we emptied it.  And cleaned it.  And then I creeped it.  The whole thing myself.  Never said a word about it to anyone.  I’d do it in bits and pieces EARLY.  No one was around.  It was fun too.  THAT HOUSE; the Victorian one… was built AROUND an early house that was built in 1822.  So I knew that.  And the family.  It was ALL in the same family.  So you know what that means and that’s good:  LAYERS[1].  But that’s not the point
            “The point…  was that there was a lot to creep; barns and sheds.  MOST were attached to the house but one shed was out back off  from the rest.  You had to go out the back door of the ell to get to it.  And of course that ell was part of the OLD house.  And that back door was once THE back door to the old house.  And I still feel that shed was the FIRST barn for the WHOLE FARM.  Anyway…
            “I’d go in and out of there the whole time.  Cleared that shed.  Great old shed and found good things in there.  But back and forth.  Through THAT door.  And I never stopped.  Nope:  Never.  Right to this day I know that.
            “So we got done.  Everything.  And I tell ‘em we’re done and we close out.  So I go over and Mr. Man he’s all real pleased and we walk through everything and its all so cleaned out empty he keeps saying you’d never KNOW the place and THAT’S THAT.  Including going over that shed out the back door.  We go over, walk the building, close it and he LOCKS IT.  You know; the lock out.  Fine who cares I’m done.  We walk back to that back door.  Chit-chat.  We stop there looking at the yard.  Its all over grown. 
            “So THEN… I just happen to look down along the foundation line to the right of the door.  And this little piece of line runs up into the corner where the old ell butts into the Victorian HOUSE.   I just look there for no reason.  And I see THIS piece of GLASS (he hold up the broken piece).  I see it lying there.
            “And I know EXACTLY what it is just like you do only I’m four feet away.  And I see it and I don’t let on but I’m ‘OH NO’.  Yep:  Right there it all hits me.

[1] “Layers” in the realm of estate contents and antique hunting… is a big point of hidden value.  Worthy of a whole post - story, the subject will be covered.  Understand it to mean the “layers” of the generations who, all of the same family, always occupied an estate “for generations”.  Preferably seven to eleven generations.  Each generation lived upon the top layer of the last generation further burying the past generation’s “stuff” “in layers”.  Ideally, “nothing” “was thrown out” “ever”.  It (“the family’s stuff”) is “all there (inside the estate buildings) in layers”.

            “So not only do I know I’m looking at a piece to an early blacking bottle (1820-1840 New England made olive green pontiled molded glass and typical form shoe/boot blacking bottle) but I also realize that THIS being the BACK DOOR to the first house that they probably threw the trash out that door RIGHT THERE where that piece of glass was lying so it was a dump of sorts and I had not DUG THAT.  In fact I’d never even LOOKED or THOUGHT TO LOOK or ANYTHING like an IDIOT.
            “All at once that all hits me and Mister Man is going on chit-chat about the BIRDS and I’m staring at the piece of glass over there next to the house like clubbed rabbit.  I ain’t listening to HIM at all and I step over and pick up the piece of glass and look at it.  He stops talking and looks too.  So I’m pretty quick:  I say ‘someone’s gonna get CUT stepping on THAT!’.  I hold it up and then put it in my pocket.
            “That there was the last thing I got out of that place.  But:  I still can’t drive by there without KNOWING I didn’t DIG THAT SPOT.  Right to this day.  AND THIS PIECE of GLASS:  I’ve kept that all along now and I SEE IT all the time… so I KNOW, if you know what I mean.  That’s why I’m showing it to YOU.  I have never shown this to ANYONE until right NOW but you know WHY I am and WHY I have it.  When I FOUND that I was already ‘locked out’.  And don’t I know what being locked out means because of that.
            “I’ve probably had A DOZEN of those bottle MINT since then.” He continues
            “I’ve got a couple right now.  I’ll go get one.” I said.
            “Don’t matter:  That PIECE is the WHOLE STORY.  Don’t matter to me to have a whole one when I got THAT PIECE to haunt me EVERY DAY of my life.  Of course I LIKE IT; like the HAUNT too.  Foolish are we all.”

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