December 20, 2013

Walking into a Hidden Time Capsule

A guest host for the radio show Antique Talk tells this story.  Walking into a Hidden Time Capsule

I met Ron, who had nothing for me to appraise but told me about the antebellum house that he was moving from a small town near Birmingham onto a plot of land that his family has owned since before the Civil War. He told me all about the house; large, framed and formerly owned by a pair of spinster sisters. The sisters—there originally had been three but one had died many years ago of tuberculosis—had been prominent Deb’s. Ron also mentioned something about some secret rooms and the sister dying in the house. They had inherited the house from their widowed father and had been left, apparently, comfortably well off, judging by the condition of the house when Ron bought it. The last surviving sister, dying in her 90s, had willed the house to some obscure cousin—we’ll call him Junior—who feigned indifference to the white elephant and put it immediately on the market it after auctioning off the contents for a small fortune,
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Weeks later I received a call from Ron on the show. It was one of those “remember me” calls. Well of course I remembered him. I filled in the listening audience with Ron’s story and he began to tell the update. The house had been delivered, secured onto its new foundation, columns put in place and the plumbing and wiring had started to be installed. Apparently, when the electrical contractor was putting in the new wiring they ran into a snag: They had too much new line and nowhere to put it, Ron explained. When running the line on the second floor, they ran into a wall. Based on the square footage, this wall, which terminated at the end of a hallway, should have not existed.
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I  was wrapping up the show when Ron called back. “I was knockin’ all over the back hallway wall and you’re right; I went out side and took a long look at the house, came back in, figured where, and hit a hollow sounding spot. I did the most logical thing, I got out the sledgehammer and starting to knock into the wall and you won’t guess what I found.”

I needed no prodding to ask, “What?”

“A doorway. A closed-off, locked doorway. And you’ll never guess, the key was in the lock.”….

“Should I open the door?” Ron asks. Should I open the door! I’m thinking, “No, Ron, don’t open the door leave us all in suspense. Of course open the door!”

“Open the door Ron,” I shout down the line. This is live radio, and dead air is dead in the water. My producer is screaming in my ear through the headphones that she has 70 callers all saying, open the damned door. We all hear more wall being knocked away, the phone being dropped, the sledgehammer bashing through plaster and lathe, then, collectively, we exhale as we hear Ron trying to turn the key in the lock, we hear a snap and hear Ron push open the door.

“Holy expletive! You are not going to believe this.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at December 20, 2013 8:12 AM | Permalink