Exploring cellars, May 22, 2023 644 words

I loved to play in my home’s basement. It had a door to the garage and outside. There was a half bathroom with bamboo fishing poles and discarded sport equipment. I would try on the brown boxing gloves, finger the mermaid figure with hooks and try on lifejackets. Each panel of The walls were written with measurements to note the growth of my brothers and I.
As interesting as this exploring was, going down to my Grandpa’s Heatley’s basement was a rare treat. The basement had a set of outside cellar doors. When opened, they had to a low ceiling area that held the washer and dryer along with bits of the past. When I was young, Grandpa kept us out of the basement by telling us that he kept snapping turtles he caught to make turtle soup. I don’t recall any turtles or home made soup. But Grandpa was a jokester. There was an inside door to the basement. It was located in a large storage room between the dining room and the kitchen. There was a toilet in this room because the only bathroom was located upstairs. Often, when I was using the room, The lights would flicker and go out, leaving me in the dark with the sounds of the old house around me.
Grandpa would listen to my tales of sounds and would remark with a straight face, “it must be the ghost of the former owners”.
When I was a teen, I was able to explore the basement as I helped to clean it out in preparation for selling it.
I still wonder where the golden doored church music box went. It would play a Carol as the doors slowly opened to reveal a Christmas tableau then close.
There was a wooden alligator that Grandpa told me was real.
On top of the television, there sat a model of a sailing ship with metal sails. On the deck of the ship, was a clock in the place where cabins would have been located. I would put my eye drops on the deck to remind me to take them at noon and 4 PM.
In the china cabinet were several china cups that had a piece to drink through to protect a man’s mustache from getting wet while he drank his coffee.
I found several old dolls on a dusty shelf in the basement. My Grandma said that I couldn’t have them. They belonged to my aunt Kathleen. I thought that she had left her home and was married with children of her own.
When the old house was renovated, the owners invited my mother to see what they had found in the walls. The items included a windup alarm clock with a bell on the top, one toddler sized button shoe and several shoe buttons with a medal hook to pull the button through the opening. Mother put all the items in an discarded cigar box from Grandpa’s barber shop.
Did my aunts and uncles as children hide them, drop them between walls or were they a game of hide and seek that finally ended 50 years later?
The final mystery was a mummified remains of a bat found under the hole in the front cement steps. I have put them all in my memory treasure chest to spin a tale for another day.

Memory pieces

A brass windup clock
shoe buttons black and white
a wooden alligator
a glass doll head with blue eyes
A humidor with brass walls
A set of pipes, with the faint smell of cherry
A mustache cup for with no one to use it
Two deer heads with large glass eyes..I touched
Off color postcards from customers
a musical Christmas church with opening golden doors.
Gone now to be kept in my memory box in my mind

carolaspot@aol.com May 22nd 2023

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