Friday, October 31, 2014

Coon Hill - Part Four - "Folded Paper"

Coon Hill

Part Four

"Folded Paper"

            Picking up where I... ‘when I closed the door... I looked at it’ (the death chair)... ‘just sitting there’ and therefore... NOT returning to the sneak thief and I in the same space several days later (Part Two)...yet ... I
            Did close the door and did go back to ‘cleaning out’ her dresser drawers and... finding nothing... much... at all... in the dresser.  This old dead woman, when alive... was well settled of things.  Her socks... for example... were ‘her socks’ in her ‘sock drawer’... in the dresser.  She ‘had some socks’.  Not too few socks and...  not too many socks.  The sock drawer did not expand socks at me like a jack-in-the-box when I opened the drawer.  Many sock drawers do... do that; ‘expand when opened’.  I know this.  I have opened other people’s... who are usually ‘now dead’... sock drawers... for many... many... decades.
            It is always the same; old New England home... old dead people’s... old dresser’s drawer... sock drawer... contents... cleaned out by I.  I find something ‘good’ ‘too’?  A lot of times I do... such as little ‘old coin’ bags with... old coins in them... tucked (hidden?) in the back... with the... old socks that are not used ‘as much’ back there... too.  Then the drawer is empty; ‘cleaned out’.  The dresser is empty; ‘cleaned out’.  It is ‘tied off’ meaning a ‘rope’ is ‘tied around it’ to ...hold the drawers from ‘falling out’ as it (the dresser) goes on a commercial antiques JOURNEY with ME.  “Tied off’ also tells my eye that the old dresser ‘is empty’; has been ‘cleaned out’.  Of its old socks and... of its bags of old coins.
            At these points (moments)... in an old New England home ...on an old New England property ...I am, I remind... working alone... by VERY ‘my choice’.  I want to be alone so I can hear the DEAD PEOPLE talk to me.  I don’t want a ‘you’... ‘there’.  “BEAT IT”.
            The first day(s) I ‘hit it (the estate clean out) hard’ with “TRUCKS” and a crew... who are told exactly ...what to do.  After that day(s)... I get rid of them and, reminding that contractually I... have ‘like’ fourteen days ‘or something’ to get to the contractual state... of the estate... being... this is a titled state:  ‘Broom clean’:
            So I get rid of the... ‘help’... and am ‘there’ by ‘first light’ and alone and... just let it all come to me as I ‘clean out’ to ‘broom clean’.  Then, after I’m done with ‘THAT’ that here includes follow up... ah... contact (such as I on the ladder getting the Coon Hill sign) (Part One) with the neighborly sneak thief... ALONE with ME... ‘in there’ TOO.

            “Yeah... I know... but you get used to it.  I promise.  He is just another ...sock drawer.  Open it and... he pops out.”
            THEN... I bring the ‘some of’ the ‘crew’ back and ‘everything’ such as the tied off old dead woman’s dresser is ‘cleaned out’.  Then I come back the next day after that and ...begin a series of days that end as the old New England property being... ‘broom clean’.
            That’s a joke... sort of... this broom ‘CLEAN’.  Anything I broom... CLEAN... I TAKE TOO.  The joke is that the estate wants the estate... broom clean... clean... by contract but to the ‘I’ of this... broom clean ‘finds a lot of good stuff’ ‘in there’ that ‘most people would miss’... so legend says.  I take it all anyway; good, bad, indifferent and... the ‘who cares’... too.  I am well known in the trade for doing this.
            OK SO I am in the bedroom with the door closed and the dresser cleaned out and sheets stripped off the bed and the old pillows ‘designated’ ‘to packing’ (material... as are the bed clothing)... and the lamps unplugged and their cords wrapped up and... I ...ah... get over to this ...well let us just be really fruity and call it an... ‘occasional table’... that was sort of ‘floated’ in the bedroom.  ‘Floated’ means ...sort of not against a wall, sort of towards a window but not NEXT to a window and... sort of NOT covered with all kinds of ‘stuff’ that is ‘piled on it’ and never touched and OK SO
            I had had had my eye on THAT for ...well... right off ... from the ‘walk through’ (the before buy-out bid ‘tour’ I go on) with an ‘estate principal’ (lawyer’s office girl or two) to “SEE” the “ESTATE”.  That’s a lot more complex than that sounds but... you don’t need to know... that stuff.  OK SO... I... ‘finally’ NOW ‘get to that’; this occasional table.  And I already know what it is oh way long ago in all this so I’m not ‘palpitate on the front of my shirt’ about THAT.  It looks like it has six drawer but only three ‘work’ and the other drawer fronts ...with their original brass hardware too... are dummies and ...I already know that too and just pull out the... tiny... ‘real drawers’ and empty them of what is a skimpy cache.  And put the drawers back in and
            It’s ‘cleaned out now’ but roping the three drawers in is ‘hard’ because of their ‘in the round’ format.  And just right here... I record for advice... that one does not ever ‘separate’ a ‘drawer’ from the what the drawer’s ‘goes to’ for ... it may well never get back to ‘go to’ if you
            Do (that; separate the drawer (s)).  (Continuing for the record THIS explains why ‘a piece of furniture’ is ‘missing a drawer’.  That’s what happened:  When the piece of furniture was moved the drawer(s) was taken out and ‘separated’.  Forever.)
            Here I just take a bed sheet and wrap up the whole ... pedestal base stand‘s (formerly referred to as ‘occasional table’) top ...up in the sheet... that keeps the drawers from... falling out ...and I leave it sitting like that... ready to go... but... BUT THAT... meaning ‘ready to go’ for ME to ‘take that out’.  It (this old stand) is, too, ‘clean out’.  It’s just that... I like it... AND noticed off and over in the room beyond the closed bedroom door that there “IS” in that room a similar stand “TOO”... that I’m ‘gonna get to that too’... which does not mean much except to add that until THIS MOMENT in the estate contents purchase and clean out... I had shown no interest nor spoken of in any way at all about either of these ‘pieces of old furniture’.  I did be sure that I ‘own them’ when I ‘bought the contents’ of ‘this place’.  I did this last by attentively monitoring ‘anything’ the estate ‘did’ about... ‘anything’; ANY THING... ‘in it’ (the estate).  The whole estate had a ‘mine; all mine’ status at this moment

            Where I was standing alone in the old dead woman’s bedroom with ‘most of that room’ ‘cleaned out’.  I looked at the back of the closed bedroom door.  I opened it and stepped into the outer room.  I glanced at the ‘pedestal base stand’ across that room in the dark.  The bedroom stand... too... was ‘in the dark’ of that room.  My antiquarian eye raked it... in the dark... as my eye had... just now raked the other stand... in the dark.  In fact, I turned from one stand to the other stand... while standing at the threshold... and raked them both... with my antiquarian eye.  Again.  Then I
            Went outside to the truck and looked at the stupid cell phone and the rolling clouds and that kind of crap for one point seven minutes of ‘break time’ and then went back into the house and across the room toward the bedroom skirting aside for the death chair that was then still in the same position as ‘she died in it’ and not yet moved into the bedroom by me yet and

            I see a small old folded piece of paper on the floor ‘there’ sort of off by the death chair and I bend and pick that up and go on into the bedroom where I glance around with the little piece of paper in my hand that I then look upon... in my hand palm and seeing it is folded I unfold it and inside it is an old lock of hair and it says above that in old brown ink: 

This you see Remember me

for ever

            While “the clouds roll by the blue sky I use from the windows as light so cause that light to... always be toning and moving as if... I am not alone” (Part Three) in this...
            Dead woman’s bedroom.
            Dead woman’s house.
            Dead woman’s property.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Coon Hill - Part Three - "The Death Chair"

Coon Hill

Part Three

"The Death Chair"

            Before I continue... with the nonchalance... of my... involvement... with the... unwanted yet fully attached... gentleman... sneak... thief ... OF this estate... clean... out:  I do not rid myself of unwanted for I ...need... to know where they are... when I go to emptying an old dead woman’s... property of her... old things.  Before....
            I gesture to a closed door... that was always ‘kept closed’ yet had been wide open... for and by I... as I trespassed WITHIN... and plundered ‘it’ (that room) AND closed that door ‘again’ when I was done.  Before I gesture to remind the gentleman sneak thief that HE has always been forbidden ‘in there’.  (Forbidden fruit IS that room to him).

            Before... he sticks to me like glue with beady eyes that flit hither-thither as he... feels with his verbiage to... endeavor... to gain... a feel... of my ‘I’ in this ever more empty... cold... dark... old  I
            Know that I did... move the ‘death chair’ ‘in there’; into that room.  After I sat in it.  AFTER I plundered that room.  After I pulled the bed sheets off and pulled at, calmly, the pillow cases to ‘just see incase’ the DO THEY TOO hide a treasure (?)...such as an old POCKET WATCH... long used for timing the night...  This bed did not...; the pillows, sheets and bed... did not... hide... a dead woman’s ...old pocket watch for ...timing her night.

            In fact the whole room was a little ‘sparse’ for ‘antiquarian plunder’.  The old dead woman’s room; her bedroom:  I cleaned it out... and took that clean-out out.  And put the death chair IN... to that room.  After I sat in it... for a minute or two... to reflect on mortality; mine... and everyone else’s.  That everyone includes, at my courtesy, the reader.
            There were (still) other ‘things’ left in the room; the old bedstead.  The... carefully select... ‘I found’ that I was ...not done with... and... not much else.  I wish to speak about the ‘death chair’... that I have put IN the ...old dead woman’s bedroom.

            In addition to being an ‘old chair’; an ‘antique chair’ I... must see past that to a more clinical ‘huh’.  I denoted it, when first shown... now what?  Four decades before now?  At least.  I denoted that is was, at core, an old... typical... traditional... (three slat) ‘ladder back’ ‘stick’ chair that... probably was made locally... and made of local hardwoods... in the closing decades of the 18th century... or perhaps... the opening decades of the 19th century.  A stickler for ‘that date’ I am not.

            The chair before my eye was... missing its once attractive ‘ball finials’ at the top of the slat staffs.  Worn silky smooth are their nubs.  The chair... was originally painted red and ...the chair retains that original and single coated old red painted surface.  It also has its original handmade... probably of ash splints gathered within... less than one hundred feet of the bedroom... two centuries ago... ‘seat’... that is, too, ‘worn silky smooth’.  That is the ‘old chair’.

            To become the ‘death chair’, one... or maybe two... ‘mothers’ ‘died in the chair’ first.  This is substantiated by legend only.  But it stuck.  THEN there came a mother; number two or three... who ‘lived longer’ in the old... thin... frail... and mentally blank (senile) condition that... required her absolute occupancy of the ‘death chair’ ‘for years’ as the homestead lived on around her with... she... being ‘in it’ (that ‘old chair’ AND household).  There came, then, that day... where it was decided to alter the chair so that ‘your mother’ is better (and more safely) confined to it... while being ‘in it’ (that ‘old chair’ AND the household).

            The old chair then... was altered by addition... to become an arm chair... with whittled and mortised ‘arms’ at the sides that were attached by hand-cut-from-board ... shimmed supports ‘nailed’ onto the front chair leg sides and... to the whittled and mortised arms...too.  Below that; at the feet... what would pass at first glance as very thin and awkwardly pointed ‘rockers’ “worn flat” were added ‘too’.  Are they rockers... ‘worn flat’ from neurotic rocking ‘by an old’ woman or... were they... just... simple strips of whittled wood ‘added’ to ...prevent the chair from ‘tipping over’ from the front or back?
            It doesn’t matter.  Once in the chair, the old... thin... frail... senile ... being ‘in it’ was IN IT (the death chair)... and ‘in it’ (the household) until she died.
            “In the old chair”.
            That (the chair) remained ever the same ever after and was so titled
            “The death chair”
            I own the chair now.
            And I have sat in it. 

            The chair; ‘I own it’, is ‘around’ in my antiquarian world.  My antiquarian day.  It’s for sale.  I don’t say that; ‘It’s for sale’.  Why bother?  Every now or then a somebody stops and sort of stares-at... it for a... whatever... and then says a ...whatever... usually directed to the obvious antiquarian merits of the chair as it is before them and... whatever.  Why bother?
            No... I never say anything.  I am told.  And I never speak of ‘the death chair’ or that this is a ‘death chair’ or that this is ‘the death chair’ from the **** ***** estate “you know; the OLD HOUSE up on the top of COON HILL”.
            “She died in the chair.”
            “Really?  Died in that chair?”

            Once one visitor... questioned:  “Why did she DO THAT?”.   Now-ah-days, if anyone asks... I just give them a price (“Two fifty” - $250.00).  That’s that.  I don’t really know what I’d do if someone actually bought the chair.  I mean... they’re not going to DIE in the chair.  And their butt is to big to FIT in the chair.  Probably they’ll just put a ‘cushion’ on the seat and ...let their cat sleep on it.
            Every now and then when I drive up over Coon Hill; past the house, I think of the chair; ‘the death chair’.  The house doesn’t look the same anymore.  It’s been ‘fixed up’.  There’s a new chimney now.  They (the current owners) took the old chimney “out” and put a new chimney “in”.  And stuff like that.  It would be as (‘like’) if I... painted the death chair... pea soup green.

            I’ve even thought of dying in the chair myself.  I mean... thought of it... not TOO much.  I have gathered... that one actually has to be pretty old to get to the point where one could actually be in ‘the death chair’ to die... in the ‘death chair’.  So all these dead mothers had to ‘live a long time’.  And:  I really understand that for her to die in ‘the death chair’ she had to work at it; prepare.  And... I understand too, now, that others before her... understood this and did prepare.  In fact... I’ve come to realize that having to be confined to ‘the death chair’, for an aged, frail, thin and senile mother... could actually be a ‘sense of relief’; an... ‘all is as it should be’ ‘for me’...  This ‘that’... today... is very lacking as an... ‘of these matters’. What I am saying is that... very few families... have a ‘the death chair’ to... fall back on.  These days.

            I have now remarked to the reader about ‘the death chair’... reasonably well.  There is a little more ‘haunt’ to it I fail to convey.  There is, too, a lack of stressing the... being alone in an old dead woman’s old house; being in her bedroom... alone... ‘cleaning it out’... alone... when the clouds roll by the blue sky I use from the windows as light so cause that light to... always be toning and moving as if... I am not alone in that... cooling down edge of fall ...afternoon... VISIT to a bedroom... for the shadow’s motion suggests... even to my hardened soul... that I am, actually... not... alone... in the bedroom.

            I stop what I’m... cleaning out; her ‘dresser’ drawers... and I go over and close the door to the bedroom... like it has always been... was... and now is... closed.  I return to the dresser... drawers.  One never knows what one will find... in a dresser drawer... in an old dead woman’s bedroom... in an old... cold... dark... dank... New England home... at edge of fall... and... all alone.  I always do this; ‘clean out’ the estate principal’s bedroom... alone.  I don’t want any ‘idiots’ around.  The haunt doesn’t either.  I close the door and ‘all that’ ‘waits out there’.  And I hadn’t moved the death chair into the room yet.  It was still ‘waits out there’.  Too.  When I closed the door... I looked at it... sitting just where she died.  In it.
            That made it easier for me to... ‘strip the bed’ for, well... she didn’t die... in that bed.  She just slept there for ...over half a century.  I am sure I was the first ‘other’ to touch that bed in... well... forty years.  I understood THAT too... while I... cleaned out... her ‘room’.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Coon Hill - Part Two - "The First Chair"

Coon Hill

Part Two

"The First Chair"

            “The difficulty with you...”
            “But that’s not the old chair.”
            “It is ‘the old chair’.  You just don’t know it.”
            “But my old chair; you know what it is.”
            “Yes and I have that too.  But not for you.  It’s mine now.  This chair... too... is mine and IS ‘the old chair’.”
            “I don’t see my chair.  Where is it?”
            “Oh... never you mind.”
            “Why don’t you ever trust me.”
            “Because you lie and you steal.  This house would be empty if you could... simply be left alone.  And... you WERE alone in here.  Finally.  Weren’t you.  But she kept you off.  Didn’t she?  Even when she was dead.”
            “I came in and, well, she was dead there in the chair.  I knew what that was.  Right there in the chair.  Dead.”
            “She made it to the chair.”

            “No... I think she was seated; been seating herself there.  In it.  For a while.  I just know that.”
            “You know that? ...Actually:  You probably are right about that; she prepared.”
            “Yes... and she’d moved the chair out this past year.  Out into the room.  I saw it.  I didn’t notice at first.  Then I understood.  I never said anything.”
            “So you come in and she’s dead in the chair.”
            “Yes.  It had been a day. At least.  Just in the chair... dead.”
            “And you... what?”
            “That... she was so small and frail... sitting there dead... I figured; that she’d be found, would be when they come by at noon.”
            “So you left her.”
            “And left; no stealing.”
            “I... didn’t feel right... didn’t do any of that.  Just... I don’t know what I did but... I was right here.  Then I left.”
            “Never touched her or the chair?”

            “I’ve moved the chair.  It’s my chair now.  I moved it.  And I sat in it.”
            “You sat in it?”
            “Just like you wish you could.”
            “Sit in it?”
            “And die.”
            “I’m not gonna die in that chair.”
            “Then why do you want it?”
            “You make me uncomfortable with that.  I never touched her or the chair.”
            “But you looked at her in that chair.  And you don’t know how long you did that for.”
            “I didn’t do that.”
            “You did too... and you cried.  Eventually, standing there, you cried.”
            “How do you know that?”
            “Because I know you... and how you lie and you steal.  This was too much for you.”
            “I didn’t... I don’t remember.”
            “No... that I do... but... it was her in that chair.”
            “No.  It was her dead... and that it was over.  There’s no point to your stealing; no point to this at all anymore.  And you want the chair.  Why?  So you can die in it too?”
            “I don’t believe you.”
            “It doesn’t matter what you don’t believe.  I have the chair.  I have it all.  I have this chair too.  This chair.  You don’t know about this chair.  It’s always been here in the house.  So you couldn’t steal it.”
            “Maybe I saw it.  Maybe.  I don’t know.”
            “No you don’t.  Don’t touch it.  It’s ‘spilled blood’.”
            “Oh don’t tell me that.”
            “Then what is this chair?

            “You don’t know do you.”
            “THAT CHAIR is the FIRST CHAIR; her ‘first chair’.  Her mother’s first chair.  And that goes back to every one of her mother’s... mother’s... mothers.  ALL the way back:  ALL of them.  This... is their FIRST CHAIR.  The other chair; your chair... is their DEATH chair.  ALL of the mother’s... death chair.  She got to it.  And died in it.  And you saw her there.  Dead.  And that’s all you saw.  Because you cried.  Right here in this room you cried.  After all the lies; all the stealing.  THIS CHAIR... I wanted THIS chair even more then the death chair.  But I got that chair.  TOO.  I have both of her chairs now.  BOTH of them.  And the rest of it too... except what you carried off from her barns.  And hid in your barn.  Stealing.  But you never got anything in here.  You were always too scared when you came in here... to steal anything.”
            “She might see it.”
            “Notice it; that you’d been in here... stealing.”
            “How do you know... ABOUT... this chair.”
            “She told me.  She had it to the historical society one night too.  Told them the story.  It’s a ‘first chair’.  It’s ah...  it’s old house spirit stuff.”
            “House spirit?”
            “That keeps you from stealing.”

            “This chair... this chair they brought here when they came here.  Massholes; moved up here.  After the Revolution.  Built the house.  THIS CHAIR they brought with ‘em; the mother’s... mother.  That was with ‘em.  When they came; ‘settled’.  Her chair; she sat in it.  Maybe died in it.  PROBABLY NOT.  Probably DID die in the death chair but... ah... that chair wasn’t FIXED UP yet.  Anyway:  This chair is their ‘first chair’.  And they knew it... always.”
            “Funny chairs those; hard to sit in.”
            “But they did.  Remember:  They were smaller and thin then.  Not big and fat.  So:  This was her ‘first chair’.”
            “I never heard her speak of it.”
            “Course not.  THIS CHAIR... well... they painted it white... probably at the Centennial (1876).  And put the hooked seat on... on TOP of the old splint seat.  Make it more comfortable for the old woman to sit on.”
            “Sit on?”

            “At the ceremony.  Centennial.  Celebration.  Had to sit up front on the stage.  Showed ‘em off; all the old settlers.  Probably.  Had to sit on the chair for several hours.  So they put a hooked seat on it for her butt.  Not that she needed it.  She was probably just as old and frail...  A wisp up there.  Sitting.  You know... she could have hooked the seat herself.  You know; preparing.  The chair for her butt.  Women knew to do stuff like that.  Back then:  Prepare.  Anyway.  I’ve waited along time for that chair.”
            “Is it worth a lot?”
            “NO!  Nobody even knows.  Except me.  And no one cares.  What’s happening... is that RIGHT NOW that old chair starts to drift.  I mean... I can be it’s guardian... you know; with my wife... for a few decades.  Or I could go down to that historical society and... what do I say... REMIND THEM of the chair.  And look at them looking at me with a blank look.  Like...”
            “I don’t see why you’d do that with it.   What did you call it?  A ‘first chair’.”
            “Trust me; no one knows what I’m talking about.  The God damn first woman in the wilderness up here sat in that chair and... every single woman descended from her sat in the chair until right now with me showing that chair to you and then... walking out this door with it.  Go steal that.”

            “I’m not gonna steal that chair.  Where’s the other chair; my chair.”
            “The death chair.  I already took it out so you couldn’t steal it.”.
            “Did you sit in this chair?”
            “Of course I did.  That’s my job.”
            “Your job?  To sit in that old chair?
            “Yes.  Who else is gonna do it?  You?”
            “Well I guess I could sit in it.”
            “Get away from that chair.  Your not gonna sit in that chair.  That’s my chair now.  I’m the first person touching that chair.  I’m the first person carrying this chair out that door.  First person... that isn’t from the family... to ever... do that.  I’m gonna keep it that way too.  Don’t you touch that chair.”
            “You make me WANT to touch it.”
            “Course I do.  And you can’t.”

            “I’m just gonna reach over....”
            “No you ain’t.  She’s gonna come back from her grave and kill you if you do.”
            “Kill me?”
            “And she ain’t even bones yet.”
            “How do you know that?”
            “I know about these things.  And you don’t mess with ‘em.”
            “Mess with them?”
            “You don’t.  She’s gonna kill you anyway.”
            “You’re the one taking her old chairs.  She’s gonna kill YOU.”
            “No she ain’t.”
            “Why not?”
            “Because I know what I’m doing and she knows it.  I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for that.  That includes me keeping you out.”
            “Me out?”
            “She knows I know to do that.  And will.  Your out.  I get the chairs.”
            “NOW how do you figure that?”
            “I get everything.  Except what you stole.  I’ll get that... pretty along.”
            “My barn?  You not going in there.”
            “I don’t have to.”
            “Why not?”
            “She will.  Why don’t you go down to her grave and talk to her.  You can’t miss it.  It’s the one with the fresh dirt.  There’s eleven generations of hers buried right there.  She’s the last one.  That’s the end of it.  Except for me cleaning this place out.”
            “Then it’s over?”
            “When is it over?”
            “I don’t know yet.”
            “Why not?”
            “You’ve still got a barn full of her stuff.”