Monday, August 27, 2012
Abandonment Issues: Esther Lee's House
The 'East Meets West Tour' was a long time coming. I've been admiring the dedication and delivery styles of fellow explorers doom vs. and rockandrollfreak, as they have been documenting the abandoned locations in western Ontario for the better part of the past year. For some time, we have been communicating regularly and hoping to meet up for introductions and a day of exploring. This past weekend, that day finally arrived. Dallas and I headed west at a steady pace of 140 kilometers an hour, as the sun rose up behind us. We arrived in Waterloo way ahead of schedule, and so began the tour. The explorations were filled with those ooh and aww moments of discovery, and the drive was filled with a lot of laughter. Between explorations we were shut out of an abandoned hotel by a movie crew beginning production, and at one point were even denied access to a potentially abandoned farm by the four horses of the apocalypse. In total, we explored five locations on this day, which I hope will be the first of many days exploring together.
I'll begin with the end. The fifth and final exploration of the East Meets West Tour was the former home of Esther Lee, somewhere vaguely south of Hamilton. We spent a few hours here, the four of us poking around and taking turns in each room, each of us uncovering different objects and parts of the story and sharing them with each other.
Esther Lee was born Esther Gladstone on November 3rd, 1893. On her 84th birthday, I was born. On August 9th, 1923, Esther received a diploma from the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Married to Arthur Lee soon thereafter, Esther gave birth to three children, Gordon, Dorothy and Donald. The story opens up to interpretation from here. The documents, correspondence, and black and white photographs found throughout the home are all that I have to tell the story, so rather than offer my own interpretation, I'll let the images speak to you for themselves.
The veranda enclosure had been converted into a makeshift bedroom. It was here that I first fell in love with the house and got lost in the photographic history of the family.
The letter pictured above was dated Nov. 2, 1965. It reads...
This birthday greeting will reach you late.
This morning I went to W.S.C.S. and now I have to go to the bank and deposit the W.S.C.S. money that was handed in. I have taken the treasurer job and it makes a little more work.
This past week end was Mathers week end at Tech so I went on Sat. to be with Frances. She is moving into the Home Economics house next Sat. A.H.E. graduate or major has to live 6 or maybe 9 weeks in the house sometime during her 4 yrs. Frances is a Jr. this year.
Guess you are waiting for your new grandchild to arrive this month.
A lady at meeting this morning is waiting for her 18th grandchild to come any moment now.
How is Arthur feeling? and how have you been?
Unlike the decaying piano at a location earlier in the day that hummed creepy dying notes of anguish, this piano remained silent as I tickled its ivory keys.
Under the pictures of Esther on her 86th birthday in this photo album, fading pencil streaks read...
"A year later mother had a queer spell for two days and laid on the chesterfield and wouldn't eat or talk. Mother was bother about..."
I can't make out the last few words.
We had just explored the abandoned Westinghouse boiler room less than an hour earlier, so this was an ironic little find.
Upstairs, I caught back up with my comrades who were individually oohing and awwing in all of the bedrooms. We rotated in and out of rooms like a Scooby Doo hallway routine.
Dripping in sweat on this hot August afternoon, I descended from the second floor and headed outside for a wander about the farm land.
The bizarre painted messages all over the barn appeared to be the work of Gordon and his younger brother Donald.
Our departure concluded the East Meets West Tour, but doom vs. and rockandrollfreak and I are already conspiring on what might be next on our co-operative agenda, as Ninja and I plan to head west again in the near future. Three more of the five locations explored on this day are deemed post worthy and I'll try to get them up soon. Until then, keep one eye on the road, and scope with the other.
The Holocaust Abortion Tour Houses: East Meets West 2
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES