January 31, 2005

Ghosts were all around me

I went, on Sunday, to attend an open house in the town next over from mine. The kids were napping, my wife was installed with the Sunday crossword, and I took myself off. It looked promising on paper: 6 bedrooms, .6 acres, walk to the train, all in a very nice town with a great school system. The advert didn't warn me to be prepared to be sad, which is too bad, because I was.

The house, you see, was an estate sale. It was being sold by the children of the previous inhabitants. The "children", the broker told me, were now all in their 50's and the previous inhabitants had lived there for many, many years and raised their family there. And then they died. But they didn't vacate the house.

They were there all around me, the ghosts. The clothes left hanging in some closets. The well worn books in certain book shelves. The family photos left on tables and hung on walls, many of them of such an obvious age that they must have depicted people long dead themselves. The papers left out on the desk in the home office. Their traces were everywhere, if you looked carefully.

The ghosts were there in the sadness of the house, in the way that the house had just been left there, and not all shined up for sale. The way the wall paper was peeling in certain rooms and the way the plaster walls in the master bedroom had been left cracked and stained from a roof leak. No way the previous inhabitants would have wanted their house to be shown like that. No way.

I felt more creeped out the longer I was in the house and I did not linger after I finished my tour.

What is it about an empty house, a dead house, that you can feel even before you go in? I suspected it was an estate sale just from the way the walk was poorly shoveled.

I felt like I was walking with ghosts the whole time I was there. I don't think I could own such a house.

Besides, it needed, easy $250,000 worth of work and was on a busy street which is a no-no with small children.

Posted by Random Penseur at January 31, 2005 08:58 AM

That is so sad. You would think they would want to clean the place up and take some momentos or something. Very odd.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at January 31, 2005 03:31 PM

when we were looking to buy a house...we visited quite a few like this. in the counrty - things are often left as is...

i never could get used to seeing it.
and imagining what my life would look like...

if all of a sudden - we were just gone.

Posted by: standing naked at February 1, 2005 09:16 AM

Estate sales are always so sad... :-(

Posted by: Amber at February 1, 2005 02:45 PM
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