It seems we are being descended upon by a camera crew this weekend from HGTV, who want to feature the house in their "National Open House" program. My wife is always getting us into these things, and I am dragged along like a rube who has been hit on the head and has no idea what the hell is going on. All I know now is that there are a million little projects which need to get dealt with before they show up.
We're incredibly lucky to be in this house, lucky for the alignment of planets which had to occur for us to find ourselves here. There were about 20 things, little and big, that we had no business expecting would go in our favor, any one of which would have killed the deal; it was a long enough shot that I wouldn't have put a hundred bucks on the likelihood of it all working out. And yet through gentle but insistent pressure and a huge dollop of luck, here we are.
One of the things with a house this old is that you always feel like a privileged visitor rather than an owner. The house was built a hundred years before I was born, and will be standing here long after I'm gone. There's a real sense of a stream of history connected to a place like this, a stream into which we step for our few short years, adding our names to a long list of those who have come before and those who will follow. In this light we become stewards of a thing much larger than our own story, and it is then incumbent upon us to leave things better than we found them.
The house was built in 1870, and was at one time on the outskirts of town. It was originally owned by the Richmond family (of local paper mill fame), and the matron of the house was a poet, Elisabeth Yates Richmond. (We have a letter written to her by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow concerning a folio of her work which she sent to him for his perusal.) Over the next century the place gradually fell into disrepair, and when the owners previous to us bought it in 1991 it was a triplex rental unit, and one of the biggest drug busts in Appleton's history is reputed to have taken place here a few years before. They took the house's rehabilitation in hand, and brought it to its current state. We've been here now a year, and are busy plotting how we might continue and extend the previous owners' efforts, making a worthy contribution to the house's own history.
In other news, I appear to have had a visitor who found my site by way of an MSN search for "crack whore confess." I can't remember any crack whores in my past, let alone one I beat a confession out of, but it's apparently right there. With such a search string I join an elite crowd, like The Dirty Whore Diary and The Honest Whore. I've found my place. I think the least I should expect for providing this kind of valuable public service is to have such a lurker step out from the shadows long enough to tip his or her hat in thanks. I won't really be happy though until someone finds me by way of "manic-depression on parade" or "ping pong blogging."