Ever since that snowy day at MawMaw’s old house, my heart ached every time the thought crossed my mind that this house would be destroyed. What about the memories? What about the good times had beneath that rusty tin roof? What about the front porch chats behind the, now tattered, screen?
Mom was only about three when she moved away from this house… but certain memories she will never forget! As I went into the house for the first time, mom showed me the spot where MawMaw used to sit, rocking in her chair, by the wood stove. She was a big reader and loved writing. No novels or anything profound, but little notes. She would write everyone’s birthdays, what time to take her medicine, scores to sporting events, or time of wrestling matches. She loved her some WCW! That was back in the day! … all things that, to many, mean nothing. But every time I stumble across one of her little spiral top notepads, I have to sit down, take a break, and enjoy a moment with MawMaw’s thoughts.
After the family told me I could salvage what I wanted from the house, I wasn’t really sure where to start. But I knew I wanted part of the actual house! As I stood on the front porch, I thought how many times did MawMaw gaze through those front windows, waiting for PawPaw to get home? Or would she take a peak to see if mom was still playing in the front yard? Truth be told, Mom said, she liked to crawl under the house (there was an open air crawl space) and play under there. I think it was her ‘safe place’. And what kid doesn’t love a secret playhouse? So, it was obvious to me, where I would start… with the windows.
It wasn’t an easy task. And I am by no means a pro. But I borrowed a little crowbar and some other little tool… and the hubs and I went to work. There’s really no method to it. Just stick in the crowbar, pry it loose, hammer, pry some more, careful not to snap the wood… it is old… and eventually it comes off. Or at least that’s how we did it! Of course, I couldn’t help but think about MawMaw the whole time I was working.
I know she would be so happy that I am salvaging part of this old house… and sharing its story too! Not everyone has roots they can track down. Heck, the hubs was a military child. His family moved all over the country… the world! He would be hardpressed to trace his roots. And yet, he willingly helps me preserve mine. (Sweat and all!!) Blek!!
Once I removed the wood surrounding the windows, the hubs would pull them out. We were quite the team. I was shocked to find these heavy weight looking things inside the window casing. Since then, I have learned they are called sash weights and they work to balance the weight of the glazed panels. Interesting! I decided to salvage those too!
When I tell you we were there from sun up to sun down. I mean, Sun. Up. To. Sun. Down. We were incredibly tired, hot, sweaty, so gross, but it was all worth it. Look at the stash of wood I rounded up…
Most of it came from around the front windows. We just couldn’t get any of the siding to come off without snapping in half. It’s just so old. And I managed to salvage a few other goodies as well. Remember vandals did a number on the house. They had busted the glass out of the front door and had even torn it off the hinges. But lucky for me, all they wanted was to get in. They left the door strewn across the front porch.
In addition to the front door and the windows I salvaged, I was also able to preserve a window screen and some screen from the front porch as well. I found a couple flower pots and some mason jars too! And if this isn’t cool… Mom went back under the house to see if there was anything under there. She spotted a couple mason jars that she couldn’t help but think perhaps she put them there more than 50 years ago. Maybe it was a tea party? Maybe it was a home for fireflies she caught. Either way, memories…
Memories that I loaded up in the back of my truck on that hot summer day. It may not be much and I would love to have more. But for now, I feel that I rescued all that I could. I am no master deconstructioner. (Yes, I made that up.) But I know this house had memories worth saving!
And I just know there is beauty to be found in these Rusted Roots… even more beauty because these roots are mine!!