Thursday, February 2, 2012
Abandonment Issues: Hall Landing Laundry House
The Hall Landing Laundry House is absolutely jam-packed with stuff. But not with clothing, household items, and garbage, as one would expect to find in a hoarder home, but rather antique washers and dryers, toilets, chairs, windows and doors, and such.
The manicured lawn, stacks of hay bails in front of the house, and well worn driveway indicate that the farm itself is still active. Not to mention the pungent odor of manure wafting in the hot summer air on this sunny afternoon in late August, 2011.
Immediately upon entering the house I am taken aback. There is stuff everywhere. First, I encounter a flock of old washing machines, some so old that they have hand cranks and wooden wringers. A couple of water heaters stand over them like bodyguards. We stop here and Ninja and I lock eyes and whisper in unison, "What is that?", referring to a metronome like clicking noise. It is next to impossible to traverse the interior of this house, but I climb over the pile of stacked and leaning windows and doors and venture forward alone, while Ninja watches the road for the farmer to return. It is literally impossible to maneuver the first floor. The living room and kitchen are packed densely with a random assortment of artifacts, everything up to and including a kitchen sink. The metronome continues to tick as a few minutes pass, I simply cannot get any further into this living room, or back to the kitchen. There is just way too much stuff.
And so as I head up the main stairs, the clicking metronome begins to fade, but I can still hear it. And I hear Ninja at the doorway, still asking "What the fuck is that noise?", growing evermore curious.
On the second floor, believe it or not, are more old washing machines, including a few very old hand wringer washers that are merely a metal basin on raised wooden legs. Every single bedroom on the second floor is also jam packed. A few larger objects instantly stand out: Two pink ice boxes that predate the invention of the refrigerator, two old bicycles, one with a banana seat, a Fairbanks Morse television, a few different heaters, endless piles of wood of differing shapes and sizes, and dozens and dozens of chairs stacked and strewn about the piles of everything else you can imagine. One room is filled with toilets and sinks. In another, luggage and other remnants of residential life remain, including some mugs, a pair of pants and a dust covered unopened can of Coors Light. Traversing this mess is extremely difficult up here as well, but I eventually make it to the skinny servants staircase, and head back downstairs.
Outside, Ninja and I wander the circumference of the house. When Ninja walks into the electric fence and gets a mild shock, the source of the metronome noise becomes apparent. I follow a blue electrical cord and lean my head in through the side window, it is plugged in and we are shocked to discover that the electrical box in the kitchen is still working, feeding power to the electric fence that keeps the cows in the pasture. Out back, behind the massive barn, several cows are resting in the shade. One of them instantly rises to its feet and walks over to me, staring into my eyes, as if to authoritatively yet silently state that we should not be here. And so we hit the road.
That reminds me, I have laundry to do.
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