Sunday, November 30, 2008
Quaint fixrupper in
rustic, natural setting
Well, perhaps that description pushes the envelope, but it’s better to laugh than cry. It never ceases to amaze me how houses with some impressive, out-of-the-ordinary elements seem to be the ones that are summarily abandoned.
This house (formerly a home?) looks to be about 1,500 square feet, perhaps a bit more. It has six, count ‘em, six gables. Perhaps the builder was trying to emulate Nathaniel Hawthorne and Hepzibah Pyncheon in The House of the Seven Gables, but missed it by one.
Like many of you, my curiosity runs amok when I see a once belovéd family shelter abandoned, shunned, and deteriorated past the point of redemption. The questions raised by the sad sight of a ruin are familiar to us all. Who lived there? Why did they split? Why was the place ultimately abandoned, not sold?
The last question may be the easiest to answer. In a lot of cases, the presence of too many heirs spoils the real estate.
Ask developers or real estate agents about potential buyers who wanted to restore an old urban structure, only to discover that transferring the title meant negotiating an agreement with a legion of kinfolks, none too fond of the others and spread across the land like a covey of quails. The resulting stalemate means that an otherwise useful piece of property is abandoned to the elements or the wrecking ball.
As Mother Nature wreaked her havoc on this structure, it seems certain that two of her crafty minions were in cahoots, to wit: termites and untoward weather. First the army of termites arrives for its cellulose smorgasbord, then burps en masse before leaving a weakened structure in its wake. Next the stout and steady west winds fester up and pound away with furious foot pounds of energy. The results are predictable. The southwest corner is now the southwest breezeway.
From the breezeway you can see an interior room decorated in the prized and favored avocado green of the early sixties. I say “prized and favored” with a mouthful of tongue-in-cheek. I called it puke green back then — and still do today. I once had a friend whose mother redecorated an entire two-story house with puke green walls, puke green drapes, and puke green carpets. I had to preface all visits to this defiled domicile with healthy swigs of Pepto-Bismol, else my entire person would take on the pallid hue.
We can wail and mourn the demise of a once-loved structure, just as we observe other losses to the march of time. Never forget that mourning and wailing are parts of the price we pay for surviving.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.