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Monday, October 18, 2010

This is how I Spell F-U-N!

Imagine with me, if you will. An abandoned house on a magical, if neglected, country property.
A house which was inhabited by the hoard-iest kind of hoarder.

Then imagine that someone as curious about people and yesteryear as me gets invited to Help Myself to the plunder.

Imagine collecting some sisters on a Saturday morning and taking a road trip with coffee in hand.

Wanna join me on a virtual tour? Party pants required.

Optional: Really nasty undies with a teeny weeney pocket intended for I-Don't-wanna-know-what. Plus racing stripes. ewwww.

Might help to explain why the one-time lady of the house found it necessary to hide a bottle of gin in her drawer of delicates.

There was uplifting literature cleverly placed within the rubble. With pants in hand, I felt it inevitable that I too could Be Someone Special!

Tempted that I was to borrow an ingeniously repaired set of spectacles, I managed to navigate those cluttered rooms without them. I did need frequent breaks to utter any number of exclamatory phrases.

Such was the nature of the treasure hunt.

Some treasures then:

#5 Red Wing crock in perfect shape. Hidden behind roughly 40,000 empty milk jugs.
A metal dish rack. I just know I'm going to think of some ingenious use for that!

Moments after hanging my recently acquired enamel soap dish, I find another one. The layers of grime were barely a distraction.
Some vintage sewing notions; and hidden in a "bathroom" smelling of eau de pee pee, a whole box full of flour and sugar sack cotton. A whole lot of vinegar and tide later: voila! Ready for repurposing.

There was no end to the tins, bits, baubles and weird-osities that these people hoarded. I actually felt overwhelmed a great deal of the time and limited myself to one suitcase (out of five we found in the bedroom) full of oddities and treasure.

Doors. Oh, the doors.

And the property.
If only I could copy and paste it a whole lot closer to my childrens' schools, I'd rescue this old dump and live happily ever after on my treed and orchared villa.

Although I chose to leave the dentures wrapped in dirty paper towel behind; I couldn't possibly go home without this fully functional Singer Sewing machine light!

Or the clock.
Or the empty cigarette package stuffed full of poetry about the frustrations of being a woman.

What's a #5 Red Wing without a #4?

Ah, the scenery. Both indoors and out.
And now a petition. If I ever start storing remnants of cut crepe paper, hooks and eyes from discard intimates, hardware off of suspenders, tins full of broken pens, dentures in plastic bags, phone books spanning the centuries, half an attic full of empty cardboard boxes, five gallon pails in the kitchen, bits of linoleum, scattered game pieces, moldy hats, broom handles, wooden boxes, and balls of old shoe laces; do me a favour.
Leave me alone.
I just might be having the time of my life.


Lori said...

I think you and I might spell fun the same way. Looking forward to the rest.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the way I got to see all that "stuff" sans smells . What an opportunity for you and thanks for sharing. If that old house could talk...imagine!

Judy said...

I swooned Joyce, I swooned.

it's a gong show... said...

brings a whole new meaning as to why they call lemon gin "panty remover" :)

p.s. word verification - deldos *blush*

SL said...

I miss you. I miss my sisters. I miss my family. L

joyce said...

Gong show, I am SO impressed! (and jealous because i never thought of that!!)
panty remover indeed.
Those creepy short things kind of looked like a naughty piece of bull fighter costume or something. ewwww.

bbnm- apparently the man of the house was a real schmuck-jerk-idiot. So, I felt like the stained walls, filthy floors, and hoarded junk sort of did talk. And I felt badly for the woman who apparently raised 6 or 8 kids in that squalor.

judy- I sort of thought you'd be all over this. Wanna come? (no dolls though) And no pink bathtub. Or running water.

Laura, I think you might have been horrified. It amazed me that I got Kathy out there. She and Mary were fully decked out in sanitary gloves. They probably would have worn full body condoms had they been available. Actually, we were all really into the scene. I suggested we should have brought some weinies and EATEN in the place.


How do all these treasures make me feel?
I just want to get out and find some more.
Yes, I need a diagnosis.

joyce said...

(and I have bleach)

Laura said...

Yes, I looked at the pictures and imagined myself in the house. Trying not to touch ANYTHING and not letting ANYTHING touch me. But feeling fascinated non the less. Bleach is good.

Mary K. said...

Joyce you summarized it oh-so-beautifully! and Laura, kathy & I wore garden gloves, but Joycie?? oh no just her bare hands!

Mary K. said...

Oh and yep, I'm gong back again on Thurs. with 3 more friends.... just a mere "3" miles from my house. F-U-N spells fun fun fun.

Anonymous said...

wishing I was Schwester's schwester.
I am torn between envy and bleeding heart for the woman.. the children...
the lemon gin...
may it never be my home..
(ikes... I have some of those things - but really the nicer things.)

joyce said...

gloves, shmuvs.
You got to have the FEEL, baby.

bb- you nailed it. By room three, I had to go outside for some air. I imagined a life of repression for this woman, storing her home grown herbs in her husband's empty tobacco tins.
She had really nasty taste in clothes though. wow. And stinky. But maybe she had no water? Maybe a woman keeps every plastic bag, milk jug, and shoe lace when she has been stripped of power and influence in every other aspect of her life?

Oh, and.
It should come as a relief to both you and I, BB, that our homes look totally put together in comparison.

We've got a long way to go, baby.

janice said...

WOW - fun indeed. And you document this fun so well.
Kind of reminds me of the first house I bought - in the CITY! I bought it from the estate of the original owners - a 50 year old house, and was SO scary when I looked at it. And so fun to transform it.

There were a few treasures left even after the family cleared it out. I found a chamber pot and a bottle of 'hospital brandy' - stashed way in a dark corner in the basement. It is still half full - the brandy bottle, that is.

joyce said...

that reminds me of another tidbit that I left out.
Behind the "master" bed, stashed away in the far corner was a Brown Paper Bag, containing a larger bottle of gin. It still had 1/3 of its contents. I am proud to admit that I did not consume it!!

and I'm glad the chamber pot was not half full. That would be too much.

but our fellow reader BB bought a country property that was lived in by a truly "off the grid" kind of guy. He pooped in his two toilets (in a house with no running water) until they were full, level with the top. Then he started pooping in the bushes. But I bet that house smelled WAY worse that this cigarett-and-damp castle that I just explored.

Mary K. said...

Oh speaking about poop -- apparently there were 5 pails lined up upstairs. 3 were full, the 4th had been started and the 5th was still empty. This was before "we" got there!

Laura said...

These pails, were they fresh (GAG!) or composted? Was someone perhaps too ill to dispose of them?

Mary K. said...

That was while "they" were still living there -- discovered by fire-fighters who were called to a fire in the house. Yikers!

christine said...

wow. i am filled with SO much envy, i must send a prayer up above. i can't believe you got so many jewels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! goodness.
what an adrenaline rush that must have been!!!

brenda said...

Reading thru your narrative I couldn't help imagine what it would be like having strangers go thru my home and stuff...making character judgements along the way. In this woman's case, Joyce, I think she would have been have someone like you who sees the human behind the article, the value in the simple things, the joy that comes from a worthless treasure and the story that lives inside every antique specimen. I don't know what happened to this woman but if she's moved on from this life I think her ghost was smiling at you from a favorite perch in her abandoned home that day!