In preparing for a complete kitchen renovation, I knew that we would find treasure as the walls came down. That is the nature of old houses. Things make their way into walls and/or are put there to be found, like a time capsule.
There are lots of loud noises that accompany construction. Hammers pounding, saws cutting, plaster falling, fans humming, you get the idea. What I wasn’t expecting was shrieks of glee reminiscent of Christmas Morning. I was recording a podcast interview and could only hear the muffled hints of the activity below me but I knew something fun was occurring.
Fun is just the beginning.
On day one of the internal wall removal Eric and Orlando found two hats, a newspaper from 1935, a pocket knife and some other small items. We oohed and ahhhed and took pictures. I spread the goodies out on a table on the porch. Gracie made a social media post. This discovery generated conversation, it had all of us wondering what life had been like here for the Hart family. The dates told us that perhaps the kitchen was added in 1935.
There was a receipt from 1917, though, so who knows!
It was on day two that the shrieking occurred. When I came down stairs after recording my podcast I was met by Orlando and Eric. Well, they were behind the plastic but when they saw me Orlando came to the porch. He beckoned me over and I joined him on the porch. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were toys, small utensils, magazines, books, and newspapers. Clearly these things were put into the walls on purpose.
This got us thinking.
We are going to put together a time capsule of our own. Some of the items we found will be returned to the wall. We will photograph everything. We will add items of our own. A track camp t-shirt, a MollyB bumper sticker, a Red Sox cap, a copy of Motherland. We will include pictures and a paragraph detailing what we found, what we are doing and what we think the timelines have been in adding the kitchen to the mix.
“Things” can become so important.
Since Molly’s death, anything that was hers or that she touched has become terribly important. Proof of her existence. Getting rid of, or changing these things can feel like an erasure of her existence. Looking at items that were placed into our wall long before it belonged to us by hands that no longer exist is profound. It is incredibly relevant in our journey through life without Molly.
We are not the only people who lived life in this kitchen.
We are not the first family to change it from one version to another.
As I sit in the early morning silence listening to the sounds an old house makes when it thinks no one is listening I ponder all that had occurred here. The birthday parties, the births, the deaths, holidays and regular days of the Hart Family and then the Grover Family. We are just the third family to live here. Ninety or so years for the Harts, five or so for the Grovers.
We are in the beginning of year twenty-four.
This will be Gracie’s and Jack’s house to keep or sell long after Kenny and I are gone. So, this house will be home to us for another 35 years anyway. (I plan on living for a long time). At that point it will be up to them to decide.
I picture a kitchen renovation sometime around 2073. Gracie will be seventy-two, Jack fifty-two, and Kenny and I, long gone at this time, would be one hundred twenty-eight and one hundred twenty. It will likely be time for some changes. Perhaps, at a later date it will be demolished to make way for a new more modern neighborhood. Maybe it will be empty.
Fifty years, eighty years, a hundred years, who knows!
In our currently crazy world, nothing can be predicted and certainly nothing feels sacred. It is my plan to hover in my spiritual reality near the back of the house when said renovation/destruction takes place. I will float there and watch those who discover our treasures shriek in glee, or shake their heads in disbelief.
I will remember these days, and all the ones that lead up to them.
It gives me hope.