Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Days Gone By

This was another photo op day. It took me to another time and my mind was spinning with the possibilities, probabilities, and the wonder of unknown lives.

There is an old, abandoned house in an isolated area that will soon be used by the local fire department boys for a practice burn. It makes more sense than just pulling it down. Some small trees were cut down, to avoid what they call candling, and starting fires where they are not wanted.

There was also a massive cottonwood tree on the south side. My job was to take pictures of the guys cutting up this huge tree. As soon as I drove down the little lane, my brain went wild at the wonder of it.

This place doesn't belong to now, kind of like me. Nothing would suit but for the pictures to be treated with Vintage and Old West actions from Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

Who lived here? Who built it? Who added each of the rooms, one at a time, as they seemed to be? Was it generations of the same family? What did they do on warm summer days and on cold winter nights? Did some couple raise their children here, see them grow and move away, and grow old together looking out of these windows? The place spoke volumes to me.

This seems to be the back of the house. The large-ish looking room jutting out on the right looks kind of like a family room. The room that was probably the front room is in the center of the house. Under the sagging porch roof going in the back door is a tiny kitchen. I went inside, so I know.

The floors are all linoleum tile. Some places the wood is showing through, but not intentionally. It isn't a strictly empty house. Whoever left it didn't want the very large drawer full of 60s and 70s ladies' magazines. The fruit jars, spare linoleum squares, and boxes of nuts and bolts and odds and ends didn't make it to the next home either.

It has a homemade mirror on the front room wall that is right out of 1970. It is a piece of cheap, dark, wood paneling with mottled mirror tiles mounted on it. Godfrey, it's ugly. I remember whole walls done like that.

I saw an old kitchen table with more jars and a couple of the old fashioned beer glasses that looked like 10 pound goblets. There was also a box of India ink bottles, expensive pencil leads, a broken antique inkwell, and a box of the tiniest pen nibs I have ever seen. Yes, I brought them home.

Someone looked at this sight after a day's work, and had the feeling of coming home. On cold nights, he stopped off on the right side of the porch at the coal bin and filled a coal scuttle to take in for the night. There is still coal in the bin.

The paint is peeling, the shingles are almost gone, the windows are rotting out of their frames. Inside isn't much better. Walls are peeling, floors are coming up. Cupboard doors are askew, as are the doors.

One tiny room that must be, or must have been, a bedroom is full of poop. Honest injun. Poop. The guys said it is dog poop, but I didn't care to check that close myself. It was just off another room that had a child's crayon drawing nailed up on the wall.

Somebody lived here and called this place home. I would guess that it was someone's home for many, many years. These walls have heard laughter and seen tears, and more recently, maybe something else. There were also empty wine jugs and an empty oxycodone bottle.

They may have cooked and heated with coal at some time, but the house had electric. Plugs were put in after the fact, as you can tell by the way they are placed on window sills and other similar places. You can also tell by the old electric washing machine that wasn't good enough to take along any more. Although the pictures call out for black and white, the drum on this rusted out little honey is my mother's favorite turquoise blue.

I expect this was the front of the house. This is where front-door company came. I think that at one time, this was a pretty little house. Maybe pretty enough for a young housewife to clean and love and take pride in, and for her husband to care for, protect, and expand over time. Just like everything else in this world, it grows old and decrepit and goes away. . .

. . . like the old cottonwood. Click on the picture and you will see a man in a hardhat on the left behind the foliage. The trunk was five feet across, and one of the limbs was big enough and hollow enough to stick a small person inside, if such was your desire. It too was old and getting decrepit. If you look at the area on the satellite map, you would see that the tree is so big that you cannot even see there is a house under it. It would have stood much longer too, if things had been different.

I got my pictures of the guys chopping up a big tree today.


  1. I wanna go see it!

  2. I still think you should be a writter. The piucture you painted of the people who could have lived here was wonderful!
    The whole thing brought a tear to my lil eye.

  3. So I read your post to Honey when he got home from work...I asked him what he thought and he sniffed-just a little-and said, "that brought a tear to my eye". He thinks your good too!