All houses have secrets. Maybe, the older your house is the more secrets it holds. Our house was built in 1850. Think about that. This house was built before the Civil War. This house was built before the first ride of the Pony Express and the invention of the telephone. . .
This house was built before Laura Ingalls Wilder was born. Goose bumps. Sorry.
One day, after we had lived here for quite some time – after we were married and before we had children – Mr. Social Media said to me that he knew there was a secret hiding place in our house. And he was going to find it. I think he had a hammer in his hand. Well, that kind of thing sounds like a pie-in-the-sky dream to me and I promptly dismissed him. How foolish. About 20 minutes later, with much banging and clanging, he did indeed find. . . a tiny. secret. door.
You’re getting to know me a little through this blog. I guess a lot of the way my mind and my heart work hinge on the books I read when I was a little girl. You already know how I feel about The Little House books. That brings us to the right era. I also read, Anne of Green Gables. I share with Anne a great scope for imagination. Oh, and The Secret Garden. A forgotten place? Just waiting to be discovered? All of these things came together for me in that moment. Honestly, I nearly passed out. It was, very literally, a dream come true. See? You’re getting to know me and you think I’m totally crazy.
That tiny door, is the door to a closet. It is the cupboard under the stairs. (I am just full of children’s literary allusions tonight!) But it’s true – al a Harry Potter, the closet is under our main staircase. It would be too complicated for me to try and explain how it was covered up but suffice it to say that we have undone a lot of the damage that was done to our house over the decades before we owned and loved it – and that closet is fully visible now. And we use it. It’s not highly practical but hey, it’s the only closet we have.
So the point in my telling you this story is actually about what we found inside the closet. Because, of course, the first question after you recover from the shock of finding a tiny, secret door is, “What’s behind it?”
We found only this:
I wish I could say that it had something written on it when we found it. Oh, how I wish that! But no. It’s been hanging in our kitchen ever since and we do keep something written on it. The first one I can remember was this:
Dear Mrs. Hoffman,
When do you think the baby will come?
AND THEN THIS:
Dear Mrs. Hoffman,
When do you think Cormac will take his first step?
They tend to go up and stay up for a long time, these messages. The current message has been up for just over one year. Right now that chalkboard says this:
We Are Home
Someday, in a hundred years or so, I’ll have the courage to write about what “we are home” means. But not today. You want to know who Mrs. Hoffman is? This was, of course, her house. This was her farm. She lived here until the 1960’s without running water or electricity. It begins to sound silly if I write it down but, I have always thought of her as the spirit of this house. So. We write messages to her on the chalk board.
Don’t worry. She doesn’t write back.
My love of chalk board design begins with this story of the tiny secret door and continues on till the present day. If you take a look around or even have a look at my chalk design board on Pinterest – you’ll see that chalk design has become sort of an “it” thing these days. I’ve had the idea of doing a chalkboard wall in my kitchen for a long time but when I saw this post at Miss Mustard Seed I decided it was time to make it happen.
Here is my own version:
I have to tell you, I got some serious resistance from Mr. Social Media on this one. He was not at all thrilled with the idea of painting one of the walls in the kitchen black. I would have to say that this is my most ambitious project to date. This one makes the biggest impact on the house. It’s given me a great sense of accomplishment. It has taken me a couple of weeks to git er done (and that is not including the amount of time when this idea was stuck in my head).
Since this post has grown lengthy – I will save the ‘how to’ for another time – it wasn’t complicated. Anyone could do this!
Does your house have secrets to share? Have you ever found a secret room? Were you as excited as I was?? Tell me about it.
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