Tag Archives: old house

A Noisy Old Place

My old house is a noisy old place…

Sometimes my house makes a whispy-whish-woo
When windows are open and winds blowing through
And sometimes my house makes a-rat-a-tat-tat
When rain’s pouring down on its roof like a hat

And sometimes my house makes a zoom-zooma-zoom
When it’s hot and there’s fans blowing air ‘round the room
And sometimes my house makes a crackity-pop
When it’s cold and the woodstove is burning non-stop

And sometimes my house make a ticka-tick-tock
When gears are wound tight on the grandfather clock
And sometimes my house makes a meepy-meep-beep
When alarm clocks go off and wake us from sleep

And sometimes my house makes a clump-a-dump-bump
When water gets pulled through the well by the pump
And sometimes my house makes a clinky-clink-clank
When hot water goes through the pipes from the tank

And sometimes my house makes an eeeky-squeak-creak
When stair steps are loose or the floor boards are weak
And sometimes my house make a thumpity-thump
When a cat on a windowsill chooses to jump

And sometimes my house makes a gushy-gish-gush
When stuff in the toilet goes down with a flush
And sometimes my house makes a gurgly-goo
When stuff in the toilet can’t make it quite through

And sometimes my house makes a whesha-whish-whesh
When the washer is getting our clothes clean and fresh
And sometimes my house makes a hum-de-dum-dum
When the dryer spins clothes in it’s rotating drum

And sometimes my house makes a…

Yakety-yak and a ticky-tak-talk and a chitty-chit-chat and a smoochity-smooch and a lovey-bug-hug and a sniffly-sniff and a hacky-yack-hack and a tooty-toot-toot and a giggly-goo and a sing-sangy-song and a laughity-laugh and a… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… and so many more!

And those are the sounds that I most want to hear
The sounds that my house enjoys all through the year
The sounds of my family, the big and the small
Those are the bestiest-best-sounds of all!

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A Ghostly Tale (the audio version)

The original post here if you’d like to read along.

Or here you can read about the real Abbie Hill in the photo.

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Mr. Smither (the audio version)

The original post here if you want to read along!

*Music from The Banjo Barons, The Good Music Record Company, 1986.

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What’s in the News?

Old houses are mysterious places, filled with stories and history and artifacts and memories of all the residents who have ever called that house a home.  Sometimes those mysteries are in plain sight, easy to see, easy to decipher.  Other times houses hide their history under layers of paint and wallpaper, or inside walls, or under floors, only to be discovered when renovations are in full swing.

We’ve all surely read stories of homeowners finding jewels or money hidden under floors or in spider-web covered attics. People find household items and tools that were accidentally dropped inside unreachable crevices during building or renovation.  Occasionally lucky homeowners discover old photographs and letters that were intentionally left inside a wall by previous residents who knew that someday someone would be tearing into that wall as their family grew.

We have done our share of renovations at Brown Road, but so far have not found a hefty bundle of cash inside any walls. Our contractor did pull a small, seemingly handmade hammer out of the inside of a wall during one stage of our construction and we found a picture of two young girls that appeared to be from the late 60’s or early 70’s. More recently we began updating my son’s bedroom. Under layers of carpet and linoleum type flooring, we discovered a section of the floor that had been insulated with layers of newspaper. We had known it was there from pulling up corners of the carpeting years ago to see what the wood floors looked like, but it was only now that we finally began to update this particular room.

These newspapers were Chicago Tribunes, from various dates in 1949.  They were in amazingly good condition, preserved under layers of flooring and there were probably at least one hundred pages to look through.  There were so many fascinating things to share, but in the interest of brevity, I picked just a few interesting items and photographed them to share below.

Some Headlines:


From the sports page… YES, that would be the BROOKLYN Dodgers.

In entertainment… Danny Thomas at the Chez-Paree.

and Al Jolson singing in “black-face” would be frowned upon today.

Before the bailouts, when Detroit was KING!

Back from the war? You can own one of these town houses for only $190 down!

For you ladies, here’s some fancy Gabardine suits for only $39.95!

and for Mom and Dad, keep your baby Dry and Comfy.

I could have gone on and on, there were so many interesting and unique articles and photographs and advertisements.

So, I won’t encourage you to go tear up some old flooring or punch some holes in your walls.   But, you never know what might be hiding inside your house!

 

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Mr. Smither was in a dither…

Mr. Smither was in a dither while fixing his old house one day.
Kneeling on the floor, his knees were sore, a rusty nail was in his way.
His floor was squeaky, sometimes creaky, a shiny nail would do the trick.
But first he must, remove that rusty nail, a task that should be quick.

He tried and tried, he pulled and pried, his hammer wouldn’t win this fight.
The more he pulled, that nail would hold, onto that board with all its might.
His arms soon ached, he took a break, and came up with different angle.
A crowbar would, release for good, this nail with which he’d been entangled.

He hooked the claw, he clenched his jaw, he mustered up his strength and brawn.
He cranked with force, so much of course, he knew that nail would soon be gone.
Then what transpired, that nail it fired, like a bullet through the air.
Across the room, with a sonic boom, it bounced off the old-rocking chair.

In that chair, was often where, his Cat named Fred would take his naps.
Fred slept this day, snoozing away, dreaming of catching mice perhaps.
Unaware, of the oncoming scare, that would quickly give him quite a fear.
Poor Fred he leapt, from where he slept, straight up into the chandelier.

Mr. Smither, still in a dither, ran to see what he’d begat.
He was shocked, the chair it rocked, but in the seat there was no cat!
Then he heard a cry, from toward the sky, he looked to see poor Fred in fright.
The lamp was swinging, Fred was clinging, his big wide eyes were quite a site.

He grabbed his ladder, to fix this matter, and climbed up to the precipice.
He reached for Fred, who filled with dread and soon began to growl and hiss.
Then Fred decided, somewhat misguided, that he would rather try to jump.
‘Cause cats survive, they have nine lives, Fred nailed the landing with a thump.

With this commotion, in slow motion, Mr. Smither high upon that ladder.
First he twisted, then he listed, then he fell with quite a clatter.
Lo and behold, it knocked him cold, he lay there in a foggy trance.
Mrs. Smither, now in a dither, she quickly called an ambulance.

The Doctor said, “well, he’s not dead, just some bruises where he hit.”
“But I’d suggest, it would be best, to stay off ladders for a bit.”
The moral here, it is quite clear, if your floor might have a squeaky board.
Just let it squeak and let it creak, lest you end up in a hospital ward!

Listen to the Audio Version

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A Ghostly Tale

Our old house is sometimes creaky.
Sometimes noisy, sometimes squeaky.
We love it still with all its quirks.
So long as all the plumbing works.

We live there happily undaunted.
Although we’re told the house is haunted.
Our guess is that it’s just a hoax.
Though spirits are elusive folks.

There’s a story ‘bout a ghost that’s told.
She harkens from a time of olde.
We think her name is Abbie Hill.
Albeit we haven’t seen her still.

See, Mrs. Hill and her loving spouse.
They used to own this big old house.
They built it as their family grew.
Way back in Eighteen-Ninety-Two.

Now why she’d rather stick around,
than head off where she should be bound.
The answer, surely no one knows.
But this is how the story goes.

The previous owners told this tale.
To us, before we closed the sale.
They saw her at their kitchen table.
They swore this story was no fable.

She sat there in a kitchen chair.
A fancy bun up in her hair.
She wore a nineteenth-century dress.
Her image had a slight fluoresce.

Then just as fast as she’d appeared.
Her ghostly apparition cleared.
It took all of their common sense.
To explain this strange experience.

Then one night as the wife was sleeping.
She awoke to find the ghost was peeping,
at her, as she lay in bed.
A sight that filled her up with dread.

But this ghost seemed not to bear ill-feeling,
as she played this game of brief revealing.
Then with a touch of Laissez Faire.
She vanished quickly in the air.

So when we heard this new disclosure.
We had to keep our strict composure.
We loved this house with all our might.
Why worry about a ghostly sight?

We bought the house with nervous laughter.
And moved our stuff in shortly after.
Wondering then, to what extent,
We’d see our ghostly resident.

But so far she has not presented.
Apparently she’s quite contented.
To share this house on old Brown Road.
This home with which we’ve been bestowed.

And now we’ve lived here many years.
Shared smiles and laughs and hugs and tears.
Regardless if we’re rich or poor.
We hope we’ll live here many more.

And if our ghost decides to show.
In all her radiance and glow.
I guess we’ll have to let her stay.
To haunt us for another day!

Most of you have read the full Ghost Story here!  If you’d like to read more about Abbie Hill, check out the link! 🙂

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My house smiled at me today…

My house smiled at me today. I didn’t actually see her smile, but I know she did. We’ve just had her painted, and I know that she feels good when we take care of her. Her old bare and peeling soffits and trim and window frames and siding are tightly sealed up, caulked and primed and painted. Her wooden sections all match once again, the old and the new, the worn and the fresh, all the same cream color, subtly contrasting with her century old brick façade. A shiny new coat of green paint covers both of her outside doors, a splash of color worn like a spring scarf. Her roof is new as of last fall, the upside of an aggressive hail storm that ripped through our area, and resulted in a rash of insurance claims and a windfall of business to the local roofing contractors.

I stood in front of her today and I told her she looked beautiful and she smiled at me. I didn’t actually see her smile, but I know she did. She smiled because she now knows and trusts me as her caretaker of the last sixteen years. She smiled because she now knows that I have been willing to put my own blood and sweat and money into keeping her solid and beautiful. She smiled because she knows me now as she has known all of her caretakers before me, likely dozens of men and women and even children who have cared enough about her to keep her structurally strong and vibrant and standing proudly for over 120 years. She smiled at me because I told her she looked beautiful.

I do believe that I am her caretaker. Yes, she is the house that protects us from the elements. Yes, she is the place where my family has made sixteen years worth of incredible memories. Yes, she is the only home my two children have ever known and likely will know until they move out on their own. Yes, she is the place where my family has shared smiles and tears, hugs and fights, ups and downs. Yes, she is the place where we have celebrated the miracle of babies born and mourned the deaths of those who have left us. Yes, she is the place where birthdays and anniversaries and holidays have been celebrated. Yes, she is the place that has made us feel content and warm and safe for sixteen years and hopefully many more decades to come.

Yes, she is all of those things and for that I consider myself immensely blessed. But she is also so much more. She is a piece of history that harkens back to the days before automobiles and electricity and indoor plumbing were prevalent. She is a reminder of where we came from, a time when houses were built on the backs of strong men with a meager assortment of hand tools, yet possessing incredible craftsmanship skills. She is a reminder of a time when rural living and one room schoolhouses and fresh food and hard work reigned supreme. She is our personal museum and I am her caretaker and I take that responsibility seriously.

My house smiled at me today. I didn’t actually see her smile, but I know she did. Someday, she will have a new caretaker, and a new one after that and on and on and on. For now though, I am her caretaker and I will continue to do my part to make sure she is still standing proudly for many more wonderful years to come. If I am lucky, down the road, when my wife and I are old and gray and feeble, we will still be able to stand in front of her and tell her that she looks beautiful. I hope that she smiles at us then as well… and perhaps even says “thank you.”

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