…. The roof is collapsed on the right side with a small elm growing in the wall behind the gutter. I can see a damaged carport, but can’t discern where the driveway starts. A broken cement walkway leads to the front porch which is still intact. The original limestone foundation extends beneath the porch. I see windows under the porch indicating the presence of a room accessible only through the basement. A place for summer guests once an alarm system is installed.
To the left I see an open concrete framealong the outer wall that I guess leads to the basement. The cellar flap is gone, a plywood board covers the steps. Some of the houses of the era have an inner foundation ledge wide enough for an adult to lay upon. If the chimney stack goes to the basement, I could set my wood stove there and place cushions on the ledge for multiple guests year round, canning on the wood stove in the summer, all-seasons artist area, and perhaps a second bathroom. Would I do an acid stain, polyurethane cover, tiles or just power wash the floor and walls weekly with bleach and let it be?
The back yard has some privacy to the east, west, and south, but is open to my northwards neighbors. The foliage is green along the remnant of fencing and the February grass is green. The gutters have fallen and the foundation for the back porch appears to have some of the flat rocks missing. About half of the windows are missing. I close my eyes remembering the Maytag wringer washer on my grandparent’s back porch. Where was the old clothes line or did the original owners send their laundry out?
I don’t see any fruit trees, mulberry bushes, or raspberries vines, but I do see where a green house could go. I could clean the soil this summer from the inevitable contamination with mustard greens and sunflowers and still have a solid tiny harvest with a raised garden greenhouse.
I find the old garage cement floor with a cinder block foundation, two blocks high and ten long still holding the ground at bay. Two piles of cement slabs and stones are at either corners of the house. Two strong men with goggles and sledgehammers could have those broken down to useable pieces in an hour.
This is going to take a miracle, but I have seen miracles in the past. I lift my eyes to the heavens and pray, “Unless You, Lord, build this house, those who labor over it labor in vain.”
No ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds to hit my upturned face under the large-brimmed hat i wear. I get back in my car and look at the solitary broken attic window where insulation hangs down like a tattered thick curtain.
I call Landbank and leave a message requesting an agent to schedule an appointment to view the three houses. It is 10:15 am, February 15, 2016, and I am filled with a humble sense of non-specific gratitude.
…. To be continued….