Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Once Upon an Old House - Part 4

It was almost sunset the next time I was able to go by the old house. The sky had lovely purple, pink and orange colors as the sun was slowly sinking on the horizon. No one working at the house and they had cleared as much as they were probably going to as evidenced by the 2 story pile in the middle of the field ready for a match.

The house was so majestic sitting up on the hill and I noticed that, at one time it looked like it was a pale yellow color. Could this place be any more lovely? A pale yellow old farmhouse high on a hill with a huge front porch and shade trees. The owner had planted a few knock out rose bushes, planted grass in the front and added a little bit of landscaping around the trees. The porch was perfect for a swing and some ferns and flowers. Right out of a story book. I could picture this house on the cover of Southern Living with all the greenery and a glass of sweet tea inviting me to take a seat on the swing and set awhile.
The front steps were all broken and had been removed so I had to go in the back door. Obviously there had been homeless people living in this house for quite some time. The trash factor was beyond words. If there was a show for homeless hoarders this would have been a prime location. Dirty, filthy, nasty and I do believe I started to itch. In the corner of one room there was a sheet hanging as if someone wanted privacy while changing clothes. Fires had obviously been burned in the very shallow fireplaces, and still more trash as I go room to room.
.If you can get past the trash… and see the house you would see some amazing qualities. The floors were hardwood… and OLD hardwood. If they were like my house all they needed was some sanding and one coat of clear and they would be breath taking! French doors between rooms. Fire places in the corners of two rooms. The plaster walls with solid wood behind them. All the ceilings were tongue and groove woodwork, just like the ceiling in my son’s room. Old school. I love it.
 
The windows were the old beveled glass and wood –rope pulley windows. When you look out of them it is similar to the heat on a hot summer day coming off of the pavement in waves. The imperfections in the glass give it the distorted wave appearance. In what was the living room or parlor there was a rocking chair, upholstered just like the ones a great grandmother would sit in the corner in front of the window looking outside. It looked lonely there as the only piece of furniture in the house.  How many years had that chair been a part of the lives of those who lived here? How many babies had been rocked here… looking at the world go by just past the front porch rails.
If I closed my eyes I could imagine the fireplace in the corner crackling and warming the room, a very old lady rocking in that chair. On the windows hung delicate lace Victorian curtains that had yellowed some with age and the hardwood floors had heavy area rugs, whose purpose was mostly for insulation, and were faded by the filtered sunlight. Allowing  the “oldness” of this house to take over my imagination, all my senses were heightened with my eyes closed. The smells of 100 years of good southern cooking were coming out of the walls. Lard; yes the good stuff, lots of biscuits were baked here! Fried chicken and fried pork chops along with ham, bacon, eggs, collards, butter beans, 10 layer chocolate cakes. Days were spent putting up vegetables in mason jars and storing them in the pantry.
 

The good old days, days gone by - times that were some of the best in American history. From horse and buggy to the first cars and paved roads, prohibition and depression, the worst hurricanes, WWI, WWII, Korean War and Vietnam. This house had seen and survived it all and was still standing. A survivor, receiving a much needed and deserved second chance, now getting ready for another 100 years.