Every now and then I try to imagine who may have lived in this old house before us. I know some of the answers thanks to the neighbors and the Bethel Historical Society but I certainly don’t know them all. The other night I was sitting in the guest bedroom, which is now the nicest room in the house, and is also the oldest part of this house. I can tell it’s the oldest by the Post and Beam construction, hand hewn beams, and the wide pine boards, some over 20 inches wide. It would have been a cabin when it was first built, basically a living area and kitchen on the first level and the sleeping room above it. There was most likely an outhouse somewhere nearby. I tried to picture how many people lived here way back at the beginning. Were there a bunch of children? What did they do to survive? This lot of land is only ¾ of an acre now but was it once a larger parcel that they had cleared to farm? Did they cut timber? Did they work at one of the original mills across the street on Mill Brook making staves or grinding grain? What did they eat most of the time? What did they wear? With no electricity what did they do at the end of the day and what time did they go to sleep? My imagination was reeling so vividly that I felt like I could almost see them and feel them in the room.
So now and then I find an interesting object(s) that get me thinking and here’s a sampling so far:
|Do they think I'm the 19th hole?|
An old padlock with a moose head engraving. I found this tucked away between some rafters in the unfinished loft area. I wonder what they used the lock for? I wonder where the key is? I wonder if Antiques Road Show would tell me it’s worth $20,000?
The pottery chunks I found in the house and I can’t tell if they’re kind of old or really old. The arm is like porcelain and would be from a small doll. I found this out in the yard a few weeks ago when I was raking. I imagine a young girl named Lisa was out in the yard playing with her doll one day when her brother came over and teasing her, grabbed the doll and then tossed it where upon the arm broke off. The girl ran into the house crying to mother that Eddie had broken her doll. Mother yelled “Eddie… come - here – right - now.” Although Eddie tried to say it was an accident he couldn’t pull one over on mother who spanked him, gave him extra chores to do, and then sent him to his bedroom for the rest of the day. The doll arm remained right where it broke off all these many years covered by dirt and leaves just waiting for me to pick it up and write this blog.
This last item is really the most interesting. I found it near the padlock under a loose board and a bunch of dirt in the loft. I began to read… “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil…” and then I really couldn’t make out much of the rest of it. My thoughts were wow, this was written by a tortured soul and could this be a suicide note? It was a creepy feeling. I didn’t realize it was a Psalm until I Googled the part I could read and lo and behold it brought me right to Psalm 94:19 which in full reads:
"Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer."
I feel a little better knowing this person was asking for renewed hope and cheer but this is the kind of stuff when you find it that really gives you a sense of what at least one person was feeling who lived here.