Friday, July 31, 2009


The first time we saw the inside of the house, I saw these.

Something about these light switches really appealed to me. The solid click during operation , the mysterious way they were affixed to the wall and the well worn brass spoke to me of quality, endurance and sadly, neglect. If these light switches were in the entry, what else might we find in this house? In retrospect, I think that is one of the things that really drew me to the house - the mystery of what we might find.

We might find a box of depression era bonds, or a trunk of vaudeville costumes or maybe even the famed wardrobe of C.S. Lewis' story in the attic. It was a house untouched for years with an aura of neglected wealth, a patina that might reveal a glimmering treasure if only we cleaned it.

We've gone through the garage, the basement, the yard and the attic. Initially, there was a daily expression of surprise over some discovered item, some architectural or structural detail, or some way the house was affecting our lives. But in time, these tidbits of mystery occurred every few weeks and now it's every few months. Less and less the house seems like someone else's mystery. More and more it seems like our diamond in the rough, a diamond that needs so much shaping and polishing.

Still, I take pleasure even in the small surprises. Last weekend when helping the neighbor remove a tree, I saw several large pieces of limestone buried in the ground, along with a few old bricks. They were originally part of the farm that predated even our house. I have taken them to use as part of a limestone path. I wonder, what were they originally used for? Who put them in? How did they get so neglected that they came to be half buried under five inches of soil?

And if I keep digging, will I come across the rotted out stump of a lamp-post?

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