Highgate

Tuesday

Abandoned but not Forgotten


I've always had a thing for forgotten buildings and places - across the field behind my family business, there was an old train station, actually, it wasn't a station, for passengers anyway - but i think a weigh station or a ticket station... it was small, not much more than 30 x 30 with a peaked and shingled roof w/ a storage loft that had collapsed by the time i came around to exploring it. Most of the wooden structure had rotted away to black, and had been made a home by plenty of animals, and from what i was told as a kid, dangerous hobos. Still didn't keep us from wandering over the train tracks and poking around in the summer; even though it hadn't been in use for going on 50 years, there were still plenty of treasures to be found there, rusty nails, old bookkeeping ledgers, more nails... and since i (like most bored and silly country kids) lived in my own little fantasy world i wasn't surprised that day i found a real ancient sword hiding up above in what was left of the loft, judging by the curve in the blade, I knew this was a scimitar...
I knew something as magnificent as this must belong to someone, and they'd be wanting it back - so i made to sure to get it out of there and quickly. I had another secret hideout, deep underground beneath the floorboards of the family business, underneath the oldest part of the store, where there was no basement, but rather a 4.5 foot crawl space with a dirt floor. I had setup shop, w/ a small set of shelves to keep important treasures, a table and chairs made out of milk crates, and a flashlight hanging from a string tied to a floor beam as a lamp. In the summer it was always cool and quiet, and the only way in was shared by me and my friend Adrian; into the grainery, down the ladder, into the storage garage, behind the sheet metal, and steel pipes, all the way back, and the to the left, there was a hole in what was the wall of the orginal store. We never stayed down there too long. Very rarely did i go in there alone; it was fairly creepy, and though i knew the the McCuin ghost exclusively haunted the giant pine forest that my great grandfather planted one hundred years ago, and that the werewolf was in fact buried for good under that pile of concrete rubble in the "little" woods behind the store; i was never quite certain i was alone under those floorboards. Mostly though i didn't like spiders, and there were some serious spiders under there.
Reguardless, i knew the Scimitar had to be hidden, and that it's owner could be anywhere - i had two options, well, 3 if you count my hideout in the forest off of the westcott shore road in Franklin, in an ideal world that would have been the best choice, the summer previous i had installed a fullproof alarm system utilizing a rather brilliant array of eye hooks, fishing line, stones, weighty sticks and a bell - and a camoflage "panic room" made of old tree limbs and pine bows but as it would be another 5 years before i could drive, i knew it would have to be the underground hideout, or the old dead maple tree that made up part of the boundary between my families property and the methodist church next door. Lightning had struck the tree years and years ago, and now it was a giant hollow hiding place for all things important and secret.

I decided the safest place would be the underground, and after bundling up the scimitar in an old t shirt and a mesh bag i ran back across the field behind my cousins house, through the little woods, and after making sure the coast was clear, ducked down inside my hidding spot. For the rest of the summer i made constant checks to make sure that no one had broken in and stolen the sword, i kept my ears open for talk of a disappeared relic; and my eyes peeled for any suspicious folk lurking around.... on a few occasions, when i felt like the location may have been getting a little hot; i would smuggle the sword out, and hide it in the tree; when that got hot, i'd go back to the underground; sometimes it'd just take it out to the little woods, and look at it, studying its markings, attempting to discern it's origins...

On afternoon towards the end of summer, i went to the underground to check on things, only to discover it was gone - someone had gotten in, someone had found me out; the underground had been compromised, and the sword was lost again... where it went i never found out; who got into my hideout i'll never know, but they had to have been resourceful, and flexible... in the end i deduced that the original owner had reclaimed his prize, and while having a sword is a very valuable thing for a 9 year old, i knew whoever crafted such a blade had done so for a good reason, and who was i to keep it from them...

A few years later some older kids lit the old train station on fire and it burned down, i remember standing on the back porch of my cousin's house watching the fire department contain the blaze, and i thinking about all the treasures that would surely be lost. Days later when I inspected the burned and leveled mess, i found nothing but a few old nails, and some charred wood and iron.
Since then, I've kept my eyes open for the abandoned and lost; those places are like sealed jars of time. when you open them, you can see, and taste, and touch a whole other place and time. I remember a few years ago finding an old artist's cabin way up in the woods in central Vermont, i was with Todd, Sarah and Laura - it was severely over grown, with an old collapsed chicken coop out back - a few windows were broken, but inside under layers of dust there were paintings covering every wall and stacked five deep on the floor, on the arm of a chair was a half full glass of wine. Outside, past an old rock garden, under a weedy old trellis, we found an ax buried into a stump, we left not long after that.

6 comments:

The ARBitrator said...

Hi! Adrian here. . .
Jeez, I remember you telling me about that sword. Never saw it though. . . so I naturally assumed that it was a made up story. A scimitar, in VT?? Well, I suppose I should have believed you after all. I don't remember the hideout under the floorboards, though. . . blame my corrupted memory banks!

I seem to recall - didn't we used to try randomly digging things up just to see what we could find? There just HAD to be a buried treasure somewhere. . .

Tmoore said...

hey Adrian - i feel like i showed you the hiding place under the store at some point but, maybe not - come to think of it, providing no ones been under there, it's all probably still there... i do remember the hole digging, do you remember sitting on the ground staring at blades of grass, trying to move them w/ our minds? we did that too.

the le duo said...

you forgot to add to that map 'futon where JB slept for at least 2 years'

Tmoore said...

or "the cheese wedge"

the le duo said...

ahhh yes, the famous 'cheese wedge'

The ARBitrator said...

Ahh, yes. Telekinesis! *breaths out through nose* The grass moved! It works! HAHAHAHAHA!!!


Thanks for the comment on my blog. . . sorry it had to be the 'raving drooling and ranting angrily at the world' one though. I was in a pissed off mood last week. I'm a little bit better now. :)