Sunday, April 18, 2010

My House is a Very, Very Old House

The front of the house faces a road that has not seen traffic for a hundred years, and in fact is no longer a road.  There was a barn here, and a garage.  Both are long gone.  Previous owners have added though, a sun porch, and a woodshed (now falling down).  In the last 15 years, the number of houses on my street has multiplied many-fold.  There are 13 houses now.  My house was the first.  200 years ago, if you believe the seller's disclosure statement.

It's like Washington's axe.  The head has been replaced three times and the handle twice, but it's still Washington's axe.  I think the only original pieces in my house are the stones that make up the basement floor.

I was talking to someone at the fire house yesterday about what's involved with volunteering and he asked me where I live.  I told him the street, and then he asked me how far up the street I live.  I said, "the end."

He immediately knew the house. "Ah, the old farmhouse."

He said the last time he'd been in my house was in the '80s when the Indian chief lived there.  - Huh?

He's not the first old-timer to tell me stories about my house.  It's had an interesting life.  There was the helicopter, and the marijuana bust, and the golden delicious apple tree, and the big open part in the middle of the house, or maybe not.  But the memories are all faded and jumbled and all I get are tantalizing bits. 

I'll bet if I listen quietly, if I listen a lot, I'll be able to put together a story, and in the process put myself in it.


  1. I'm SO behind on reading blogs, but I just took the time to read this post of yours. I LOVE how you wrote it! Matter of fact, I may print that out to do . . . what (?) with! Anyway, it just really struck a cord with me. I love it when people recognize that a house need not be only a structure . . . many houses are characters in your story!

  2. And that is the kind of home I want to live in! Lots of character.

  3. And maybe, if you listen, the house will tell you its name. Lovely post.

  4. Our home is 102 years old (the old farm house has now been surrounded by town) and we too hear stories all the time. In our first home together (an old stagecoach stop) my husband and I remodeled the kitchen, and found graffiti - in pencil - from the 1920's and 30's. Your post reminded me of all the things that I love about old homes.

  5. Great story Erin. Thanks Chicken Mama, nagoonberry, Christine. Even with all the extra pains, I like old houses better than new houses. I may feel differently in 20 years - but that's still a ways away.

  6. Do tell about the Indian Chief?!?

    Our house isn't that old, only 1940s, but we bought it from the kids of the people who built it. Got some great stories. Apparently, the wife wanted to knock down a (supporting) wall and make the front two rooms into one. Husband wouldn't let her. So, one day when he left for work, she went out and got the sledgehammer....