I sometimes wonder if I absorbed too many of the ideals within childhood novels like “Mandy” and “The Secret Garden.” I certainly understand the longing of both protagonists to have their own “bit of earth.” Or to discover, clean and claim as their own…. a remote “Seashell Cottage” hidden deep within the woods somewhere.
I think those novels, plus a culmination of my years of being a dreamer influenced me to truly embrace the historical home we bought downtown in 1990. And to truly grieve when we sold it and moved back to Suburbia.
I love old homes; my mind erupts with the possibilities of the lives, conversations, and events that transpired within their walls. When I walk through one, it’s as if my spirit communes with the ghosts of past conversations still living in the air, in the wood and emitting from the beams or chimneys.
That’s why I take time to walk through a few of them every year. Sometimes when there’s an open house I’ll duck into it upon a whim. Other times, there might be one for sale and I just might call the realtor to see if they happen to be visiting the property, and when, and…if I “could meet them there to do a walk-through…and, no, I’m really not interested, but I might be someday…and I might run into someone who is.”
That’s how I found my most recent muse. It’s my secret house. But I can’t tell you about it, really, because if I did I might give away all the research I’ve already done on the house. And then if I do, it wouldn’t be my secret world anymore, right?
So, I won’t tell you about a home on Northeast 36th Street in Forest Park, Oklahoma. I won’t tell you that it’s involved in a long, drawn-out foreclosure process that is taking the maximum amount of time possible so that the poor house is falling into more and more disrepair as each day goes by. I won’t tell you that the entire police force of Forest Park has taken it upon themselves to keep an eye on the place because they want to protect the property for the person who eventually does buy it.
I won’t tell you that the home sits on a five acre lot right in the center of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, nor that not only is the house huge but there is a second home on the property that appears to have been built around 1945-1960, based upon the wood paneling and style inside.
I won’t tell you that there are numerous animal cages, sheds, and a ton of junk hiding behind the trees and bamboo growing on the property…and that the cleanup process would probably reach over the $50K mark.
I won’t tell you that if you crawl over the rock wall and walk onto the property with the former realtor’s permission, you could spend 1.5 hours exploring when it would only seem like 15 minutes. Nor that you would find a huge pool that needs to be completely ripped out, or that almost 3 of the 5 acres are covered with a bamboo forest that would be a bear to eradicate.
I wouldn’t share that there is a pavilion with a weird deep square hole like there was a second pool on the property, or that evidently one of the owners had exotic animals at one point and there is an actual mud-bog that looks like it was built for gators or hippos in the middle of the bamboo. I can’t tell you that if you go up to the door and try the doorknob that the house might be unlocked…
And that there is a front room with an original chandelier that reminds me of a medieval castle. And that the room has stained glass that looks like more of that same castle. Or if you go through the front door, it feels as if you are visiting the Home of the Hobbit because of the heavy beam and hardware construction.
I won’t tell you that if you tiptoe through the house you’ll find a sun room, a massive front room, a formal living area, and about three other living areas. I wouldn’t dare tell you how cool the pine wood paneling is, certainly not original, or about the art deco light that hangs from the den ceiling. I won’t tell you about walking up the wooden staircase, or that the stairs creak and make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
I wouldn’t want to share that there are several completed rooms upstairs so that someone DID try to begin healing the house, but couldn’t finish. Nor that there is a completely finished apartment on the top floor. Nor that there is a chair in the front yard under a massive oak tree that if sat in, you could look at the house for a very long time and dream about what you would do if it were yours and how you would fix things and make them all better.
I wouldn’t tell you any of this secret because I’m not ready to share my fantasy … because if I share it, then it means I might have to let it go because this place would take about $500K or more to purchase and repair. And also, if I talked about it, then I might want it more… or someone else might buy it because they heard about it from me!
Or, maybe I did want to tell you, because if I just write about it, then at least it was real and I had it in my dreams for about nine months…right? I have a feeling this process of foreclosure is almost over, and that sooner rather than later, someone with a dream AND lots of money will buy the home and begin healing the home again.
But until then, I’m going to dream about it. And, I’ve decide that I DO want to tell you about one of my secret worlds – this home – because maybe you need a dream today too.
[for a slideshow and photo gallery of “dream” property photos, go here and scroll dowwwwnnnn….]