Sunday, March 04, 2007

House of Memories

This lovely house, located in LeRoy, N.Y., the "home of JELL-O", is for sale. It is described as

Single Family Property
Area: LEROY VILLAGE
County: GENESEE
Year Built: 1850
4 total bedroom(s)
4 total bath(s)
2 total full bath(s)
2 total half bath(s)
9 total rooms
Approximately 3424 sq. ft.
Type: Historic
Dining room, Kitchen, Den
Hardwood floors
2 fireplaces
Fireplace features: Artificial, Wood burning
2 car garage
Heating features: Gas, Hot water, Steam
Interior features: 1st floor laundry, Attic insulation, Basement insulation, Ceiling fan, Ceramic floors, Circuit breakers, Copper plumbing, Den/Study, Dishwasher, Disposal, Dryer, Eat-In kitchen, Formal dining room, Foyer/Entry hall, Full basement, Gas oven, Gas water heater, Library, Master bath, Microwave, Pantry, Refrigerator, Resilient floors, Walkout basement, Wall insulation, Wall to wall carpet, Washer, Window blinds, Workshop, 4 bedroom(s) on 2nd floor, Full attic
Exterior features: Barn/Out building, Blacktop driveway, Cable avail, Detached garage, Open porch, Partially fenced yard, Public connected water, Sewer connected
Approximate lot is 133x180
Approximately 0.55 acre(s)
Lot size is between 1/2 and 1 acre


I happen to know a few things about it, that, strangely, are not mentioned in the realtor's listing. The "garage", for one thing, is really a barn or a carriage house. It has a lovely upstairs "bonus room", which you have to access via a ladder, with a very old wooden plank floor. This attic is a great place to hide out, contemplate the leaves of the nearby chestnut tree, smoke cigarettes, play basketball and fling oneself out onto the gravel driveway because the hoop is located right above the open loft door. There are some old peach trees in the backyard that never produce any fruit but have lovely sticky gum that oozes out of the bark in the spring and can be chewed like juicy fruit, but watch out for the ants. There is a room in the basement of the house that once was a hiding place for runaway slaves. Push away the spider webs in the room under the living room. The stone walls down there show the traces of a wall that used to be there, protecting them from prying eyes. They could probably live off of the jars of preserves kept down there.

There is also a secret room under the steeple, accessible from a little panel in the wall of the attic (a good place to hide marbles and other valuables). Be careful in that room, because you could fall through the unfinshed floor and put your foot right through the ceiling in the upstairs hallway. There are beautiful glass doors that divide the dining room from the entrance hall. If your brother is chasing you around the house, be sure not to let him slam that glass door closed just before you round the corner, or you could end up with a scar on your forehead for life.

Be sure to look in the den for old copies of National Geographics, which show scenes and peoples from all around the world. They are sure to inspire you to travel and learn other languages. The fireplace in the den is also prone to having birds' nests in it - be sure to look up the flue before lighting any fires in there. That's the chimney that Santa uses, too, so keep it clean in December.

The best feature in the house is the lead-pipe communication system that connects the kitchen to the master bedroom. Blow really hard on the mouthpiece of the pipe in the master closet. It will whistle in the kitchen. Once the person in the kitchen whistles back, you lift the mouthpiece and yell into the pipe, which transmits your message immediately to the ear of the listener in the kitchen. This is useful for trading insults or making threats that might be punishable if said in front of your parents.

Be sure to always refer to this house as the "Brooks house", instead of the "Stevenson house". We lived there from 1956 to 1968, and deserve to be memorialized in this fashion. Please take care of the forsythia bushes. If you crawl underneath them and dig, you might find lots of hidden treasure buried in cigar boxes.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Memories of the big house...Funny, it doesn't look so big in this photo. But it was plenty big for all those things you mention in your blog--and more. A backyard big enough to field homerun derbies (hit a tennis ball over the roof) and football games.

Not fun to mow, though.

But what a place for nightcrawlers! You could pull as many nightcrawlers as you could handle with a flashlight and a pail. The rock garden was the place to find snakes though. If you didn't find a couple garter snakes every year, you just weren't looking. And don't forget the "red ball" court in the driveway. Or the tree house platform 20 feet up in the old horse chestnut tree.

That house was the "ham what am" I'm not sure what that means but Dad wrote me a song he called "Ham What Am" He wrote it and played it on the old family piano in that old house. Oh yeah...that house was a fabulous place to live life as a kid.