Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Secret Room

One day this week, I received an excited knock at my door and my brother announced that a secret room had been discovered in the next door house where we grew up.  It had been purchased by a lovely family who are doing major renovations to the house.  In the floor of what my family called the dining room, a small room with a wooden slat trap door over it had been discovered by C. as he was tearing up old flooring.

I handed my brother a disposable camera and asked him to get pictures and in a few minutes, I went over to the house to see the secret room.  It was very exciting to see this little room that had been hidden under linoleum and homesote for so many years without our knowledge.  We wondered if it could possibly be a hiding place on the Underground Railroad.  I took more pictures and T. explained that their dachshund had run across and actually fallen into the room.  C had. retrieved her and stated he didn't want to go into the small enclosure again and would be closing it up soon.

There are some local houses noted for being stops during the era of the Underground Railroad.  I contacted the local town historian and while he said it sounded very interesting, he didn't believe this particular house was noted for it.  He politely asked for copies of the pictures that we took and referred  me to another historian in the county who has made a study of the Underground Railroad in our area.  I felt my excitement wane somewhat when hearing this.  I did contact the other historian and told him what I had been told by Mr. L. 

One of my sisters has sent me a few Internet links on cisterns in old houses, and this may be the answer to what the secret room might be.  One of the links actually showed a picture of a cistern with the small wooden trap door in it.  Our father often mentioned that our shower in the cellar had been built from an old cistern in the house and maybe the secret room was the remains of the original.  It's placement I think is close to where C. found the secret room.

How many of us growing up in big old houses wondered if there were secret rooms and passageways in our houses?  Reading books like the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis will foster this daydreaming of the secret places in our growing up places and even in our hearts.

I still laugh when I think of my brother's comment to me as I viewed the secret room this past week:  "We didn't find any buried treasure!"  He would dig holes as a boy looking for buried treasure.  I think the treasure was knowing there had been a secret room in house and not knowing it all the many years we lived there.  And if my parents knew about it, having built that shower from the cistern many years ago, they never told us.  I can hear my Dad's laughter now.

A Day for the Young and the Young at Heart

The first day of Daylight Savings Time burst forth today with temperatures reaching the mid 50's.  While waiting in my vehicle in the grocery store parking lot for Bill to do some shopping, I observed several in short sleeves striding purposefully to and from the store.  I assume the wonderful weather had added some energy and a boost to their purpose of the moment.

The physically young looked relaxed and happy to be enjoying this beautiful day.  Those with more age seemed to walk a little slower, almost a little tentative, as if not quite believing that the worst of winter was over.  The last week has been difficult for many families in this town.  There have been several deaths.  The people who passed were generally 50 or older, which still seems young and a shock and tremendous loss.  Somehow it seems harder to just bounce back when faced with so many losses in the village.   I find myself privately shaking my head and telling myself that this is a part of life.  I wonder how many others grieve privately this week and the coming weeks, trying to make some sense of a death due to cancer or suicide or car accident.

I find myself turning to the Bible for answers and comfort for my own disquiet and questions.  I feel on edge and anxious.  I read inspirational meditations that I receive daily in my email.  It all helps, but I still feel a hollow place inside.

It's been a glorious early Spring day.  Why would one think such thoughts  when the sun is shining, the sky is a bright blue, and the breeze gradually warms during the day?  Maybe knowing there is darkness in the light, makes the light and warmth even more so to me.

Finding answers to these thoughts may not be my goal today.  Being able to express my questions may be all that can fulfilled for me.  In the asking, there is a sense of fulfillment.  And that may fill up the hollowness a little bit.