Tuesday, July 23, 2013


A few days ago one of my regular emails from Houzz featured an article called You Won’t Believe What These Homeowners Found in Their Walls. It got me to recalling the things we found almost 40 years ago when Frank was renovating our new old house on the Mill Pond in Port Washington, New York. 

Obviously, this is the Before shot.
One of the first changes was to switch a closet with the bathroom, basically to afford more room in the bathroom but esthetically so that you didn’t have to look at the toilet as you walked up the stairs. Are you ‘getting a visual’ on it? That bit had to change.  He and the crew took up floorboards around the toilet and found newspapers stuffed in between the joists. Interesting news from the 30’s, and I think that’s when the toilet was installed because the house was much older. They called me in to see. The headlines about Al Capone and some politicos but the newspapers were very dry and crumbling, just falling apart as they were pulled out. I had the opposite of an “aha!” moment, sort of an “uh-oh!” moment when I realized that they were just about to use the torch to remove the plumbing: suppose the newspapers had caught fire!? Egad! But all went well and they were veeeerry careful!

Other things were found as the work progressed: Pencils and an unopened pack of Gillette Blue Blades, which Frank still has in his treasure box, were found in the closed-over drawer of corner cabinet in the dining room.  A beautiful white stoneware pitcher – missing its washbowl – and a silver-plated fireman’s hailing horn were found in the attic, stuffed in the top of stairway.  The pitcher is still in my sister’s home, but the hailing horn we sold about ten years later for $500.

The best find was cash money. We pulled up the ratty old rug in the smaller bedroom and there were several tin plates, maybe flattened cans, tacked down here and there the room. Frank pulled one up and found it covered a hole, the purpose of which he never knew. Meaning to plug all the holes he pulled up all the tins, and under one – voila! – was $180 in cash. Back in the ‘70’s that was enough for a wonderful vacation weekend at the Can-Am races at Watkins Glen.

Our seats at The Glen, grey stands,  right scross from the pits -
Field glasses, camera and the handy stop watch ready for the race.

Why would someone stash that cash there and then rug it over?  Why would anyone stash stuff behind walls, on top of stairways, under the floorboards?
Obviously, so that people like me and the contributors to Houzz would have great stories to tell years later.

After, of course.

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