Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, August 16, 2019

House H(a)unting


“Now this little gem is truly a diamond in the rough!”
One thing I’ll say about our real estate agent, Mr. Gregory Gorman, he knows his clichés.
In a little train, Mom, Sally and I followed him through the front door of the small, white, decades-old clapboard house.
Sally leaned close to my ear. “It looks like something out of the fifties, but old,” she whispered. “I almost expect to see that what’s-his-name come in the front door and holler, ‘I’m home!’”
I stared at her a moment.
“Who?”
“You know. That guy in Father Knows Best.”
“Father Knows what now?”
“Oh, I forgot. You haven’t been watching with Mort and me. It’s a TV show. Started in the fifties. Father Knows Best. Mort says it reminds him of us.”
Again I looked at her. “A pair of goofballs who end up together and destroy the world?”
“What? No!” Sally flounced off.
And in case you wondered: I read. I know what a ‘flounce’ is.
Back to my story . . .
“As you can see, this is the sweetest little living room/ dining room combination.” Mr. Gorman walked over to the large picture window and threw back the curtains, disclosing a wall of green. “With loads of privacy provided by the natural wonder of mature trees . . .”
Natural wonder of mature trees? This guy should have been designing billboards somewhere. Or selling real estate. Oh, wait . . .
“Dark as a pocket in here!” Sally was back. “I just peeked into the kitchen. It’s just as dark!” She looked at the large picture window. “I think the trees are about ready to move in!” She spun around. “In my opinion, this house is ghastly. A complete wreck!”
“Sally! Shhh!” Mom was looking at us.
“Yeah, Sally! Shhh!” I whispered. Secretly, I agreed with her.
“Come look at these drapes . . .” Sally disappeared into the next room.
I glanced at Mr. Gorman, who was waxing eloquent on things like 'rock-solid-foundation' and ‘they-don’t-build-them-like-this-anymore’. I wouldn’t be missed. I followed Sally.
“Have you ever seen anything like them?” Sally’s voice came from the far side of the dark little room.
I felt around for the light switch and flipped it on. A single bulb lit up, disclosing damp-stained wallpaper, a warped and rather rickety table and a single chair.
And Sally, holding out a fold of the kitchen curtains and pointing at them with her other hand.
I moved closer. “What’s the . . . oh . . .” I saw what she had seen. On what must have once been a brilliant pink background were slices of red watermelon. And widely-smiling, white-toothed African American faces. “What on earth . . .”
“Right?” Sally dropped the curtain. “It always amazes me what people thought was acceptable back in the fifties.”
I blinked. When Sally comes out with something reasonable, it always takes me by surprise.
My eyelid began to twitch. I rubbed it.
“Come on! Let’s see what else there is!” Sally headed for a door to one side of the small room and wrenched it open, disclosing a narrow stairway. “Ooh! Stairs!” She darted inside.
“Sally, maybe we should wait for Mr. Gorman. And Mom.”
But I was talking to empty space. Sally had disappeared.
“Wow, Gwen! Look at this!” Her muffled voice drifted down the stairs.
I started forward rather reluctantly and peered up the stairway.
Just then, there was a creak overhead. The sound of snapping and cracking. And, with a mighty crash, Sally dropped into the room behind me, accompanied by half of the upper story. And all of the dust.
Fortunately, she landed on the table, which then buckled slowly under her weight and dropped her, almost gently, onto the kitchen floor.
Most of the debris rained around her, missing her entirely but completely covering the lower floor.
A last, errant chunk of lath and plaster hit her squarely in the head.
“Ow.” Sally rubbed the spot and glared at the offending piece of rubbish.
“Sally! Are you all right?” I started to make my way toward her.
Just then, Mom and Mr. Gorman appeared in the doorway. “Sally!” Mom shrieked. She, too started forward.
The two of us pulled Sally from the wreckage and started brushing decades’ worth of plaster dust from her hair and shoulders.
Sally sneezed a couple of times, then pushed our hands away. “Don’t worry. I’m all right!” She turned and stared at the rubble behind her, then peered up at the gaping hole that had once been the kitchen ceiling/front bedroom floor. “Wow.”
She turned to Mr. Gorman. “So,” she asked brightly. “Have you any other houses to show us?”

Each month, Karen of Baking in a Tornado receives lists of words from us, her loyal fans. Which she then distributes back to those same fans.
But never to the same person who sent them.
It’s totally fun. And no one knows whose words they will be getting.
This month, my words: diamond ~ twitch ~ foundation ~ wreck ~ ghastly
were submitted by my friend, Jules at: https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Now go and see what the others have done with their lists!

25 comments:

  1. That Sally...there is no end to her disasters. And I love each and every one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Baaahahahaha! Home wreckers come in all sizes and shapes ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good thing the sellers don't have the same policy as antique stores, you break it you buy it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! She's such a fun person to create disasters for! ;)

      Delete
  5. I think I may have actually lived in that house years ago haha! Poor Sally, she has more lives than a cat and always ends up on her feet so to speak. (Rena)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bwahahahaha! I hope you walked softly on that top floor!

      Delete
  6. Wow. That wallpaper was the first clue that something was off in that house. Then the ceiling that didn't quite hold up the floor was the next! Leave it to Sally to find both. She's amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is where I confess I actually grew up with that pattern! Mom thought it was so cheerful in the 50's!

      Delete
  7. Just as well they 'don't build them like they used to' in this case.
    And hooray for Sally - who has more lives than a cat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. I can just see ceiling-less and floor-less homes dotting the modern countryside!
      Hmmm . . . how many lives has she used thus far?

      Delete
  8. I'm thinking it should have been Mr Gorman who came crashing down while waxing eloquent about quaint "stairways to heaven" or something like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes. I can just see him--not missing a beat as he continues to orate, dust in his carefully brushed silver hair...

      Delete
  9. I think if I was Gwen or even Mom I would've moved far, far, very very far away by now . . .!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. You're forgetting that Sally has wheels now. Mort's wheels, I admit, but they give her . . . (dun-dun-duuuun!) MOBILITY.

      Delete
  10. Heeheehee! Excellent story, and i think i've been hired to clean the clone of that house more than once.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This was great! You're an awesome story teller!

    ReplyDelete

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