October 2012

Senior Slant:
Daytime Ghosts

by Hilda Maston

It was an estate sale.

As we walked into a 50-year-old house, I began to get a sense of the lives that had been lived there. Every door, every cupboard, and every drawer was open, putting all the contents on display. The hand lotion and guest towels were still in the bathroom, and everything looked as though the occupants were in the next room — except for the tiny price tags on everything.

The clothes in the closets and dresser drawers also gave us the feeling that we were intruding on the folks who had lived in the house.

In the kitchen, we saw evidence of a busy family life, a family who did a lot of entertaining; a number of large silver serving dishes and a fondue set were on the counter.

They also played games; several of them were still in a bookcase. Well-kept furniture and pictures graced the living room.

White ceramic swans lingered by a small pond in the backyard. A number of pink flamingos hinted at the family’s sense of humor.

The many species of roses and other flowers that populated the garden were probably grown in the greenhouse that stood in the corner of the yard.

It was almost impossible to walk into this house without forming a picture of the people who had lived there, worked in the garden, and vacationed in the small RV that was parked in the driveway.

There must have been children living there, though there was no evidence that they were still around. There were, however, several silver picture frames that must had held prom pictures, or perhaps the cap and gown portraits that parents treasure.

How can one keep from imagining this family? Fifty years in one house is a long time. I can picture it; an eager young couple moves in, the children come along, play in the yard, and probably attend the neighborhood school.

The father goes to work every day and comes home in time for dinner. In the early 50’s, not many mothers worked outside the home, so the mother of this family probably cooked, gardened, and kept house.

Were they the Brady Bunch sort of people? Did they love and respect each other? There must have been many happy times and, of course, sad and painful ones, too.

Have the children moved away? Will the house be sold to strangers? If that happens, will the new family be happy here?

As we walked through this lovely old house, we were witnessing an ending; but most likely there will be a new beginning for this once and still-to-be-cherished house.

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