The Ghosts Upstairs

Consider not houses haunted by spirits, but spirits haunted by houses. People who are disinclined to re-enter, or even glimpse former dwelling places, as they fear that doing so will trigger latent memories and emotions in such abundance as to be overwhelming. The melancholy of time irretrievably lost, the wonders never to be relived, the wrongs so eternally unrightable….these are the ghosts in the attic, and the old abode is the ever waiting perfect seance room. How fortunate are we whose childhood homes no longer stand, and who have only to dread contact with the numerous dwellings of our adulthood?

The decision to raze my childhood home was my father’s, and I’m sure it was an excruciating one given my father’s sensitivity and the fact that he, too, had been born into and raised in the house. He did not attend the demolition, which was carried out by Glenn Webb, astride a large bucket loader and sipping at a jar of something resembling water. I represented the family alone that day, feeling vaguely dutiful in my 20th year. The house was not well built to begin with, and probably not worth trying to salvage, though my father did offer it to me prior to the demolition. He spoke of having it torn down as a solution to a dispute over the village insisting he pay sewer tax on an unoccupied house(we had moved next door a couple years earlier), but I suspect there was much more at play. Dad was a very interesting combination of sensitivity and practicality.

I don’t stop the truck and get out to stroll on the old sidewalk, though I drive by the lot fifty times a week. I don’t often notice the 60 foot tall spruce tree near the sidewalk, nor do I often remember piling into the old Chevy and riding to Brookfield to “steal” that one tiny seedling from the state forest and bring it home. While I’m glad the house is gone, I’ve come to realize there will always be seance rooms. Some, like the sound of a voice, nearly as perfect as the sunlit corners of a used to be home.

Addendum: My little brother has informed me that he was at my side during the demolition of the house.

I believe this is the red barrel I crawled into for several hours, utterly distraught, on the first day of kindergarten.

I’m toying with the idea of sticking my head in.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Casper on February 2, 2012 at 5:35 am

    You’re a good writer, Postville.


  2. You’re too kind Casper. And you name reminds me of another story of my Dad, whose name was Francis. He wore work uniforms which were sent out to be laundered, and in the telephone relay of employee names to the laundry, his name was misunderstood. For several years the interior tags on his clothes read “Casper Netter”, and this was a source of great amusement to family and co-workers alike, who took to calling him Casper instead of his preferred “Bud”.


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