a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Progress...

Elizabeth street would never be the same, in fact, it would probably be renamed after its destruction by the hulking pieces of equipment.  Tonight, the last night, for these three houses to stand, the equipment stood still and silent while the houses spoke.

Three houses, side by side, were the only evidence of a once affluent neighborhood from the late nineteenth century.  One by one the houses had fallen to fire, vandalism and natural forces.  No one seemed to care...but me.

I came to visit the past and would walk through the rooms in the unnatural quiet that seemed to surround these houses, but I could hear.  I could still hear the laughter in the kitchen as the children had an early supper with the servants.  The happiness traveled through the tips of my fingers, up my arm and to my heart when I touched the old broken kitchen table.  There was a lot of love here.

The  large living area with an elegant chandelier still in place, echoed with laughter and music.  I could feel harmony, friendship and yes, even love, when I touched  the fireplace stone still standing.  The very bones of this house shouted happiness through every wall I touched.

In the second house, I felt a sadness so deep and so intense, it took my breath.  This home had been childless, I could sense it...in the stair banister and in the empty room that could have been a nursery. The only thing that remained was a small carved horse, smaller than my hand, sitting, forgotten in a corner because its purpose in creation no longer mattered to the person who had carved it. 

The architecture in this house was amazing, the details intricate, showcasing the talent of the craftsman.  I could not linger long, the sadness had a way of seeping into me, if I stayed, I felt I would not find the strength to leave.

The third house was the grandest of all, surrounding by ancient oak trees that no one could reach around, the house set far from the street's edge, as if to say, I want no visitors. I traveled the drive, broken brick, some up heaved by more than a century of weather and disuse, sprouted small trees that in another few years would have completely blocked the house from sight.

The outside seemed oppressive, the inside was worse.  I could not breath, the fear overcame me as I heard the shouts of a man and the quiet whimpers of a woman from just opening the door to enter.  I swear I could smell bourbon and cigars in the air.  I started to climb the stairs but the banister produced such sadness, fear, and menacing cruelty, I returned quickly to outside.

This was one house I would not miss.

I had said my farewells to the old homes.

 The next morning, from afar, I watched as all the iron monsters roared to life and began their destruction.  It took only two days to remove the houses, leaving only the scarred ground to mark their existence.

I wondered if the hearts of the houses were destroyed too or if you could walk the ground and still sense the life that once lived there.

Tomorrow, I would see.

12 comments:

ellen abbott said...

Well written Gail.

COUNTRY GAL said...

Wonderfully writen, It is a shame for alot of these old centery homes and buildings. We here in our village main street have lots of old centery buildings that are abandon and slowly falling a part, our village years ago had two major floods and a hurendouse fire and left a lot of damage, our council and community are triying their best to reconstuck the main street and village to bring back its history and have the buildings occupied by local buisness like it was way back. Have a great day !

Jules said...

Very well written Gail. The story mad me sad though, being in architecture I shudder at what we now call progress. You should have asked for the chandelier. I try to salvage from buildings like that.

Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Barb said...

Your narration had me wanting to rush in with my piggy bank in hand to try and buy them some more time. Very well written.

LindaG said...

Awesome. Leaves me wondering if it's fiction or fact, or a bit of both. :)

Six Feet Under Blog said...

I love old houses and your horses are beautiful!

Judy said...

So sad to see old buildings die...so much character which cannot be replaced by the new...

Rusty said...

A tale very well told! One looks at these things and wonders about the people that built, worked, and played within and around these places. One can almost feel the pressure of time past - up to perhaps thousands of years in some places. Some hands had cut and laid that stone - and so on. ATB!

Rudee said...

Beautifully written.

I see houses like this every day of my working life.

Nora said...

Well done, Gail. I apologize about the goat.

Queen-Size funny bone said...

nice job

Pat said...

I love the whole concept of this story. I was right beside you when you walked through these three homes - your imagery just jumped off the screen! What a great short story!

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