Date of Visit: December 22, 2012
Okay, I confess - I'm a hopeless sentimentalist. After my parents died, I went through my childhood home and searched every nook and cranny, looking at old cancelled checks, receipts, insurance policies, manuals to long-lost television sets, blueprints for the house, etc. - gleaning every little tiny piece of knowledge about my past that I could gather. I brought quite a few of those documents home with me to scan and enter into the family archives. My brother still lives in the house, but I know that after he dies (assuming he goes before me), I'm going to have an absolutely terrible time going through the house and clearing it out because everything
there has meaning to me. Throwing away anything that was picked out at the shop by my mother or was repaired by my father or that sat in the house where I was raised will be excruciating for me. That's just how I am.
And that's why I often find abandoned farmhouses so baffling. So many times as I walk through them I see objects tossed aside that I know that I
would find impossibly sentimental and could never bear to see lying on the floor in the dust and mouse-droppings. And I think, okay, obviously the last person who lived here must have been the last member of the family alive, and after he/she died, there was simply no one left who cared.
And being the nosy person I am, I go home and I research the people who lived in the house. And so often I find that, no, actually, there's plenty of family left alive, in the same area. And then I really
wonder about these people.
Take the stunningly gorgeous old farmhouse featured in this episode. Just look at it. Isn't it amazing? So beautiful! From the outside. And then you walk inside and... there's no kitchen. The kitchen floor has collapsed into the basement. The house is in a terrible state of disrepair. And upstairs there's a box of vintage Xmas decorations and wrapping paper, just sitting there gathering dust. And here and there are a few intact knick-knacks, and a few broken ones that could be glued back together again. And I think, no one would let a house this beautiful rot. There must be no one left.
And then I take the names I gathered from the debris in the house and I search for information on the family. I'm not sure when the house was built but in the early 20's a World War I vet and his new wife moved into the house. They raised three daughters and four sons here. The man died in 1970. His wife died in 1982. The house has apparently been sitting vacant since that time. Two of the children are deceased, the rest are still living in the area. They have abundant children and grandchildren. One son alone has 6 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
And yet... they let this beautiful house waste away? And they leave their grandmother's Christmas decorations behind?
I will never understand some people.
And perhaps they will never understand me?