When we first looked at the house that we would finally purchase and make into the family home we’ve lived in for over 5 years, we were astonished at how much random stuff was crammed into every crevice we saw. The folks who lived here at the time seemed to have an insurmountable pile of random stuff and just put that stuff wherever it could fit.
Needless to say, when we finally moved into the house, we were expecting to find large piles of stuff left behind. We were actually somewhat disappointed when we came up with very little.
Over the years, things have popped up here and there. An old pooper-scooper hiding behind the garage, half of an old gravity style coffee pot, the remains of a bed frame, doors (one of which I’m still not sure where it’s supposed to go), and several things that the owners obviously believed we would have more use of than them, since they were extra things intended for the house, like replacement shingles or whatnot.
Our house is fairly large, and we got pregnant for the first time rather shortly after moving in, so we’ve never quite finished getting everything to the way we envisioned when we first moved in. Our basement, in fact, is a place that got completely overlooked, becoming something more of a holding area for boxes and old clothes, and…well…pretty much everything we didn’t know what to do with.
Every once in a while, I get down there and clean things up and get a bit of work done toward removing some of the installed tables and stuff that were there when we moved in…you know, getting it closer to the envisioned end point.
This weekend, whilst cleaning up saw dust and spider eggs from who knows how long ago, I saw this hiding behind the drawers in one of the tables:
I don’t know if the picture truly does it any justice…just imagine living in a house for five+ years and then finding out that there’s a package wrapped in a black garbage bag, hiding in the already rather creepy basement…
Pulling the bag out from it’s location didn’t do much to ease my concerns over what might be inside:
Now, I will admit that there was a small amount of hope in my mind that this was just a bag of heroin or something, you know, as opposed to an asbestos bomb or something. I was honestly quite unsure if I should even open it, fearing that what’s inside had more of a chance of being something frightening than something that would be worth seeing.
Of course, curiosity and a sense of adventure/story won out and I ripped the well-taped bag apart to find:
At this point, I figured I shouldn’t continue doing the unboxing alone, although concerns of there being a VHS tape within kept me cautious about allowing my children to watch me open it (which I failed at, because they really wanted to know what I was making my wife look at).
And now I should probably reveal to all of you what we know about the previous owners of our house. They were selling our current home due to the fact that their marriage had failed. We had actually seen the female part of the relationship down at a restaurant my wife worked at on a number of occasions, seeming to try to pick up the bartender. From what we had heard, they had been officially split for over a year, trying to sell their house, while still living under the same roof (the one I happen to be under while writing this post). In fact, the day we signed the papers, we were not allowed to be in the same room as the sellers because it had become an incredibly emotional day for the two of them, the woman breaking down in tears on a number of occasions because this was the official end of the relationship between them, and the man getting inexplicably angry throughout the whole process. We were told stories through people who heard them from other people, that this relationship had been very unhealthy for a very long time. We’ve actually seen both of them on a few occasions since, noting they are looking rather domestic with completely different people.
In other words, we really had very little reason to believe this was what it actually was. At this point, we assumed it was something squirreled away by the woman during the early parts of their split up….
Let’s open the box:
First thought…thank God it’s not a VHS…I would have had a hard time keeping myself from watching such a thing, even knowing that it would be the exact thing to keep me from having any more children in the near future.
Second thought…well, actually pretty similar to before. Looked open and shut to both me and my wife. The female of the relationship had hidden these trinkets from their wedding/honeymoon during an especially trying portion of the separation to ensure they would continue to be in existence. Not too surprising it would be left behind afterwards, as the events that followed would, no doubt, cause this moment to have been forgotten.
In a sense of, well, that was kinda cute, but disappointing, I started getting everything back together…when I pulled out the stuff that was in the bottom of the box to keep all of this padded…we found the last piece of the puzzle:
For those of you who haven’t had your eyes lasered and have poor eyesight, here’s the text of the note we found written in the bottom of the box:
Koreen and Mark [last name redacted] lived here until Sept 2008 for 14 years. We loved deeply, passionatly and fully. This house was many happy memories and is my love song to her.
I love you + miss you Koreen
Suddenly everything changed. This box was left for us, by the male, intentionally. I may know very little about the relationship these two shared, but their life together was encompassed by this house. They may have started before moving in, but moving out was the final end. Everything in between was what they considered the product of that relationship…my house.
Although this house has been here for 113 years, it’s hard to think of the idea that it ever served as anyone else’s home. In fact, when first pulling this box out from it’s hiding spot, I had to explain to my daughter why there would be anything in our house that we didn’t put here…she seemed quite confused that our house could have ever been anyone else’s, even knowing how old it is.
It’s fitting then that this discussion I had with my daughter about how this place has served as the home for countless other families ended by finding a note about how much this house meant to the family who lived here immediately before us… a family who considers this house to be the place where their relationship existed, considering the fact that it ceased existing after they left it.
There’s obviously more to the story than that, a story that can be found through the enhancements they made to the home, but also a story that we’ll just never know completely.
Of course…this just makes me ever the more curious about the other people who have called my house home. Like the Quakers who headquartered here in the early nineties…
Have fun out there!