Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Unexpected Visitor

Yesterday I held open beautiful 11 Onondaga Street in the village. The first couple through said they were just looking, having recently bought in the village. We spoke a lot about the history of the house. They agreed that it seemed older than its 100 years as assigned by the taxes. I told them that when I had 72 Jordan Street the local historian corrected the taxes and we ended up about 20 years younger than previously reported.

After saying good-bye to them I greeted an older woman who was signing in. She said she had lived in the house as a little girl, her mother had been born in it, and her great-grandfather (I think) had built it and lived across the street. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to return to the house. Magic!

Her mother was born in 1901, so that took care of the correctness of the tax information. She said very little structurally had changed. What people identified as possible additions actually weren't. Still the rear of the house was utilitarian and the front for the family.

The little room off the current office was the "safe" room because it housed a huge safe. The kitchen was where it is now, and her room was above it to take advantage of the rising heat - no heat upstairs except for what rose through a hole in the flooring. The summer kitchen was outside, to minimize the chance of fire.

An indoor bathroom - one of the first in the village my previous resident told me - divided the front from the rear of the home on the second floor. Instead of a hallway, you had to go through the bathroom.

I asked about the carriage house. She said she remembers both cars and horses in it with no apartment, of course.

She told me she had a picture of herself as a little girl standing by the bay windows in the parlor. She remembered having chicken pox and being sequestered upstairs. She gave a picture of the home as it looked when it was orginally built to the historical society - I'll try to get a copy in the following weeks.

I wish I had known she planned to come because I would have been more prepared with questions. But I guess her visit was for herself, and a cousin in New England with whom she'll share the pictures. I am just so happy she came!