My mysterious house

Every so often we still find a “surprise” leftover from The Cursed Move, which if you recall was still giving us paperwork headaches a year and a half later. (“Surprise! Your flood insurance isn’t valid!” and “Surprise! Your email address got turned off for no reason other than you used to live in a different state!”)

I met a woman at the playground. I’m sure we looked a sight. Her name was Integrity and her baby’s name was Aesthetic, and she dressed in flowing sheer skirts and I thought would look very good in a crown of daisies. I sat on the ground in my unfashionable jean-shorts and a t-shirt proclaiming “THE APATHY COALITION,” and we talked about babyhood, motherhood, baby slings, cloth diapering, and that sort of stuff. She asked where we lived, and I told her.

She said, “Have you walked down to the end of the road?” When I said I had, she asked if I’d gone into “the culvert” and I said, “Actually, it got kind of creepy back there, so we turned back.”

She said, “The spirits are angry back there.”

I said, “Did we put our garbage dump on a native burial ground?”

She shook her head. “The natives are peaceful. It’s the colonists who get angry at our technology and for taking their land.”

This explains why we felt all that creepiness when we walked back there, on foot, without iPods or even our car. But okay. I can deal with a house full of secrets, and if the previous owners knew about restless colonists and failed to tell us, I guess it’s too late to do anything now.

We’ve had a new surprise, though, in a hidden corner of the house.

Back when we moved in, I had just researched my grandmother’s sewing shop from Brooklyn, the Liberty Handkerchief Company. Googling it immediately showed there’s a Liberty Handkerchief at work in England, and they produce very high-quality silken kerchiefs, which apparently are in demand.

When we moved in, I found one in our closet. I immediately gave it to the seller’s realtor (along with a newspaper clipping of the owner, discussing his business) but I thought that was a neat reminder of my grandmother.

This Sunday, looking in the back of one of the cabinets for something, I found another surprise. Almost exactly two years to the day since we moved in, I found a salt and pepper set.

They’re lovely. They remind me of my other grandmother’s salt and pepper set, actually, except that the pepper shaker is actually a pepper mill. The cabinets are strangely shaped and these had been pushed to the back.

It’s nice to think of my other grandmother, “visiting” here in a way. You think you know a place, but sometimes it surprises you with its hidden secrets.


  1. leasa

    This is why I love this blog and think you are just a cool person. After moving in, you returned a valuable item you thought the seller’s left behind by mistake. Lots of people would have kept it. I’m glad you got a nice surprise and sweet reminder of your grandmother.

    p.s. I got chills reading about the restless colonists. As a kid I lived in a house where the previous owner had passed away in and she would visit (foot steps and such, nothing angry). I was very happy to move away though!

    1. philangelus

      Thanks. 🙂 It was clearly theirs and just got forgotten because it was flat to the shelf, and if they hired professional movers, those guys don’t check as thoroughly as the owner would. 🙂 Anyone would have returned it.

      I’ve heard a lot of stories about “things” hanging around, and supposedly there was a little girl who hung around the old house in Angeltown after drowning a hundred years previous, when the area was all ponds. Supposedly she ran through all the houses on the circle. I never saw her, but a friend of mine got a really good look at her and thought it was my daughter.

  2. Memorista

    I love love love Liberty. I have a Liberty scarf and it is one of my most favorite things. . .