Ever wonder what might be written under your kitchen wood floor, or what a previous owner wrote under the tile entry to your home? Maybe you’ve removed an old medicine cabinet during a bathroom remodel to find someone’s awkward writings? Or perhaps you allowed your son and his best friend to paint a mural on his basement bedroom wall that rivaled a cross between an Andy Warhol painting, the best empty railroad car graffiti ever and the epic artwork depicted in Dante’s Inferno? Only to cover it up with a Chip & Joanna Gaines version of wood paneling once he moved away to college? (Note: I’m still waiting for the day the new owners of our house peek behind one of those cool pieces of paneling only to scream in a collective voice of terror that their house is now officially haunted!)
And of course, we’ve all seen the annual heights of children etched in the laundry room doorway, the remnants of a sentimental family. I’ve had more than one client over the years actually insist on tearing out that one piece of the door frame because they couldn’t part with it!
Last week I came across a story in DaytonDailyNews.com that grabbed my attention, and was re-printed in last Sunday’s Life & Arts section, written by Lisa Powell. It shares the story of a recent discovery during some regular maintenance at the famed Orville Wright home in Oakwood. Powell writes that as Orville was moving into his newly constructed home, known as Hawthorn Hill, an area draper was completing his work on this famous Oakwood mansion and decided to take his pencil and scribble “This entire floor put up by F. Lutzenberger, April 12, 1914”. Apparently, in a mischievous moment, he decided to sign the plaster wall just before covering it with gold decorative damask fabric. Powell says it’s unlikely that Orville had any idea that this graffiti was on the wall during his years there. Hawthorn Hill, now a National Historic Landmark, will install a glass cover over this “mischief”. Think I’ll stop by there next time I’m in the area!
As a Realtor, I’ve got some really good stories to share, if you ever want to hear them sometime. But the stories that hit most close to home are the ones from OUR home–our last house on Stonebrook Ct. in Springboro. I wonder if those owners will ever read this latest blog and pull back a piece of paneling. Seriously, we’ve been a part of some crazy under-the-carpet mischief, like my sister inviting the entire family over to create some family art before they installed their new wood floors. Or our kids writing simple prayers of blessing and joy under the wood trim pieces on our iron stairway banisters. (Fun fact: Did you know that stating in the Residential Property Disclosure that the house you’re selling could be “haunted” is actually a thing?!)
I’d love to hear if you’ve done something like this before. Maybe you decided to have a little fun by drawing a picture or writing some simple words that prove you were once there. Something that others may never find, but that you’re still hoping someday, someone will. Because that basement workbench or section of driveway concrete or that house…used to be yours. And maybe it’s the only way to leave some part of ourselves–our story–in that house that was our home. Forever.