Thursday, February 10, 2011

Current History & Fun

The Benjamin House was commissioned by a very interesting man, but there has been a lot of interesting "history" since 1873.  John Forbes owned the house about 2 years;  whereas, the Crist family cared for the home about 35 years with five children!  The stories of that era had to be interesting!  A door in the basement is adorned with names and + signs (even a heart or two).  We were going to auction the door to see which of the area citizens or Crist kids would prize it the most.  It is a part of history that some may wish to hide.  Oh well, who would be interested in a Heidi + ????? or Chuck + ?????

One of our first "moments" was a comment from one of the neighbor girls.  We were the new story on the block and opened the home for the first time in her short lifetime.  So, often the young lady would drop in for a visit and could go up and down the stairs like a gazelle.  Being a parent, I worried about her falling or getting injured around the restoration.  Also, I was sure that mom would be worried whenever she could not locate her daughter.  A visit with mom confirmed that she had instructed her daughter not to enter the mansion.  She had told her "We don't even know them" and this brought the response from daughter, "Yes we do Mom.  His name is Mike".   I still laugh at that reply.  It reflects such a beautiful simplicity.  In fact, I am Mike, not positive or negative, just "Mike".  Soon, we were old news and the visits passed with the beginning of school.

Many people stopped to visit that first summer and the comments often involved tunnels, ghosts, and the underground railroad.  Well, it is a big old house and there are noises sometimes.  One day I walked up the stairs from basement to ballroom and was getting a bit winded near the top.  My head was down watching the steps and my hand went up to grab the bannister at the top to help with the last few steps.  Can you imagine my fright when my hand landed on something cold but softer than wood?  Something like "skin" and it moved a little.  After all the ghost stories, I must tell you that my hand flew up into the air as quick as if I had touched a hot pan.  My heart stopped and my mind was trying to understand the situation while my feet were shifting into reverse.  Well, as much as I didn't want to see something from "Night of the living dead", I did look up.  There stood a carpenter who had just rested his hand on the bannister  before me.  His eyes said, "gotcha", because a couple days before I had walked up behind him and made a loud noise.  What goes around, comes around and we both laughed (me because I was so relieved). 

One great joy and heritage of the home, is the flowers that we inherited from previous owners.  Especially now, after the blizzard of ought 11, we look forward to the hundreds of flowers that return each spring.  The colors and locations add surprise and beauty to the yard.  Never have I seen so many surprise lilies in my life as adorn the back yard.  I see more well kept yards in Shelbina, but we so enjoy the flowers that others left for us.  Thank you.

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