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Abandoned, Again

Thursday, May 03, 2012

There is hardly ever any solid evidence of what has happened to the abandoned houses that still fascinate me, just mute hints.

The sparkly fairy house eventually got auctioned off and was being worked on. I could see that shortly the place would no longer live up to my standards of abandoned charm. It wasn't, after all, abandoned any more. Now the front door stood open, and a pool repair pickup truck was parked partially in the garage. This of course made me wonder what the garage is good for. It’s so small that the better part of the smallish truck stuck out of it.

But there's a new abandoned house that has caught my eye. It’s on a route that I’ve walked many times before, but somehow I didn’t notice it until I was approaching it from a different angle. From this new angle, I could see, in all its glory, a vast Florida oak standing in front, broader across than the width of the house, which itself covers nearly 2,000 square feet. There isn’t anything inherently awe-inspiring about the place, other than that tree. It’s just a sprawling 1950s puke-green ranch sitting on a huge corner lot across the street from a wide canal. A large, old-style picture window framed in metal faces the street, offering a distant view of the canal. Someone must have loved looking out of that window once. Next to it is another window that is now completely boarded up. The utility shed is boarded up. The window by the front door is boarded up. And not a single flowerpot or recycling bin is out in the well-tended yard that looks as if it were loved once. I eventually worked up my courage to risk being shot for trespassing, and went up to the picture window to peer inside. The wood-paneled interior hadn’t been updated since the fifties. A leatherlike couch stood at an odd angle in the foyer. And facing the picture window sat a leatherlike recliner with a single crumpled white sock and a Bible on its seat. “Somebody died there,” Bill pronounced matter-of-factly when I told him.

You know, Google offers a very spooky view of the past or, as the more cynical among us might say, a brand-spanking new tool for voyeurism. Google Street View--the one that lets you drag a little yellow guy right down onto the street and set him loose to walk around, look at things, and even zoom in on them--shows the house on a sunny day last spring, with an old car in the driveway, a trash bin and buckets lined up neatly by the side of the house, an angel and bunny statues in front, awnings unfurled instead of boarded windows, flowers blooming merrily all around, a toddler’s swing hanging from the oak tree, a bike in the driveway, two canvas sling chairs on the back patio facing the sun together, three lawn chairs and a baby Adirondack chair arrayed around a small garden plot on the side, a clothesline, even the utility shed well landscaped. Google Bird’s Eye, on the other hand, has pictures that were shot the following December. I could tell because, zooming out, it showed the Whiskey River parked in Gilda and Bobby’s yard in a spot that was unique to that time, and an RV parked in the yard of a snowbird’s house around the corner. And Google Bird’s Eye shows events in the midst of taking an ominous turn. A truck with a trailer has pulled onto the lawn, filled with boards with which windows and doors might be boarded up. The car, sling chairs, and lawn chairs are gone, and the grass is dying. Of course, the grass always dies around here in the wintertime, but THIS grass dying is symbolic.

“What the hell happened here?” is the question I always ask myself. And what about that sock? What about that Bible?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You know, I'm glad I'm not the only one who runs the risk of being shot for trespassing peeking in the windows of abandoned houses, haha. They fascinate me too. Along with falling down houses that people just walk away from and let crumble for years. And sites where nothing remains but the cellar hole with old lillies still growing around it and the (almost always) birch tree growing out of the spot where the fireplace used to be.
    2171 days ago
  • SILLYHP1953
    I'm sure the story you'd come up with would be fascinating reading!
    2172 days ago
    Bill could be right. Was the occupant a grandmother who cared for her grandchildren? One would tend to think so as men are not into yard art much. The Bible would fit that picture. The flowers. Angel. Bunny. The garden. The clothesline.

    Or was it a young mother/couple who was renting the place or trying to buy it and suffered a foreclosure? The faux leather would seem to fit that scenario. Something that older people are often not into. All the children things would also fit this hypothesis.

    You could find this out, you know, if you really wanted to know but it might spoil it. LOL.
    2208 days ago
  • GIANNA345
    Great blog. Let us know if you learn more about the house.
    2208 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Wow! Pretty amazing! Awesome what the new technology can do. Once again, it looks like a sweet story came to a tragic end :( Thanks for sharing your view of your world. The nest time I see an abandoned home, I too, will wonder what the story behind it was.
    2210 days ago
    It's fascinating what a few scattered items can evoke, and the possible stories they can give life to.
    2210 days ago
    A dream has died if nothing else.
    A sad tale to be sure.
    2210 days ago
  • RD03875
    I love you descriptions! Please let us know if you find out about the new abandoned house.
    2210 days ago
  • DMF2012
    Great story! Love Google...
    2211 days ago
    I love these blogs of yours!! You really have a way of making me want more!!! I can almost see the houses and have a sense of the neighborhood. Hope you get some answers! I want to know the answers!!! Good luck with Gilda coming home. I'll be thinking of you.
    2211 days ago
    I lvoe your story blogs Suz, you are an amazing writer, think seriously about writing a book and publishing!. Seriously!!!
    2211 days ago
  • CKAYT56
    Give me the ending! Love your story blogs. Please find out what happened to the people who lived there!
    2211 days ago
    Sue I love your stories - you leave me wanting more - all the questions - it leads one to come to many conclusions - what a great tale you tell - thanks for allowing us to share with you as you wonder about those old abandoned houses.
    2211 days ago
    Just make it into a novel and publish it.We can enjoy it even better with your imagination. HUGS Pat in Maine.
    Take care. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2211 days ago
    Sad, I enjoy your musings. But, I think Bill's probably right. Wonder who would know? Now you'll have all of us wanting "the rest of the story"! A tribute to your gift for writing.
    2211 days ago
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