When I met my husband, he lived in an old family house in the country. During our get-to-know-each other two years before we married, I visited him there often. His house had been built for his parents when they married in the summer of 1952. My husband lived in this house two different times in his life—birth to four years old then again after college when he came back to work on the family’s farm/ranch.
My husband’s paternal grandfather bought old houses and either dismantled them and reconstructed them as new houses somewhere else, or he bought old houses and moved the entire structure to a new location, or he sold the dismantled house to someone. One of the reasons he, and others like him did this, was because out here on the treeless plains, the expense of purchasing lumber from a lumberyard or going some place to buy lumber plus hauling it home was prohibitively expensive. It was, apparently, cost- and time-effective to buy a house 100 miles away, tear it down and haul it back yourself, then build a new house from the pieces.
Back to my husband’s childhood house…
There are a couple of stories about this house.
One story is my husband’s grandpa moved this many-years-old small ‘cracker box’ house as an entire structure from its original location some 20 miles east near the Kansas/Colorado border to its current location, where it remains today. The house was set on a foundation and remodeled into a bathroom and two bedrooms onto which a laundry/utility room, kitchen, dining room, and living room were built.
Another story is this house was in the town where my husband’s grandma and aunts lived during the cold months of the school year, while grandpa stayed on the farm/ranch during the winter. This was a common arrangement back then. In fact, my husband and his sisters and his mom lived like this when he and his siblings were in school. The bus ride on those dirt roads went from ‘can see to can’t see’, so living near the school made sense for many families, especially when kids played after-school sports.
Regardless of the house’s place of origin, it was a typical small house of its time: nothing fancy, no insulation, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and drafty all year round. What made this house unique was the original part that had been brought in was disoriented to the cardinal directions, because it was set down on a foundation facing 90 degrees off from its original orientation. Specifically, the east side of the house was turned to the north.
When I was in the house, I’d invariably turn the wrong way coming out of the bathroom. Despite being only one way to turn, I’d still stand there staring stupidly at a wall while wondering where the hallway had gone.
When I casually mentioned this on one of my visits, my husband told me he also had troubles with directions in the house. He’d asked one of his uncles about the house’s history and had found out about the change in direction. My hubs said while he intellectually knew his bedroom door was on the north (to his left when he got out of bed), when it was dark and he wasn’t quite awake, he’d get out of bed and walk straight into the east window where the original door used to be.
While the house didn’t give off angry or creepy vibes, it was definitely unhappy. I sensed sadness when I was there. I think it was mourning the loss of seeing the sunrise from its front door and windows, now that they looked into the living room, dining room, and bathroom hallway.
I felt sorry for it.
Day 8 – Spooky Blogging – POEtry – Edgar Allen Poe – at the Firestar Press blog
Until next time,
Find Kaye on…