Friday, May 8, 2009

Days Gone By

The other day, I was outside trying to clean up the yard a bit, when something caught my eye. There was a squared-off stone poking out of the lawn, near the foundation of the house - curiosity got the better of me, so I stepped away and came back with my trusty shovel (these words can never lead to anything good...curiosity killed the cat, and all...). I pried it up out of it's snug little hole for closer examination. "Neat", I thought to myself - must be a piece of the old foundation (as mentioned previously, the original house was destroyed by fire). I was about to put it back down, when I noticed something white glisten in it's newfound patch of sunlight. I picked it up - and this is where my treasure hunt began. In my hand was the tiny head of a ceramic/porcelain figurine. Now this really caught my attention - I had to see if the rest of him was still in there! On my hands and knees I started to sift through the soil. I didn't find the rest of this little man, but I did find more "goodies". The hole kept getting bigger...and bigger...and bigger still. I tried to contain my curiosity, I really did - but each time I pulled out something else, I was intrigued as to what was hidden under the next handful of dirt! I really didn't come up with anything much - and to most of you it might seem boring. But to *me* - lets just say I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to things of the past. Amidst charred bricks, I found this little collection.

* A piece of burned "something-or-other". Pretty sure it's not wood, it's too hard. I know that glass and other materials can turn molten and harden when burned - maybe this is what happened?

* An old nail. You can tell it's old by the shape or it - squared edges, like a giant horseshoe nail. It was badly covered in rust/corrosion, but after soaking it in vinegar I was able to crumble it away.

* The head of a little figurine - glossy white ceramic or porcelain, not quite sure. It has a bit of blue detailing/paint on what would be his shoulder.

* A shard of white ceramic, broken to resemble a little bird. I felt like I was "freeing" this little bird from the cold, dark ground - once again able to see the light of day after countless years of being buried.

* A piece of pink ceramic/pottery, with a floral pattern on it - looks like rose leaves, possibly. This piece is pretty interesting - the ceramic itself is pink, not just the glaze. I've never seen this before. I can't help but wonder what it used to be...was it a vase? A plate? A piece of someone's good china - a wedding gift maybe? Who used to own it - did they love pretty pink things as much as I do?

I've always been curious about who has been here before me - and my little excavation made me even moreso. It's obvious that the remains of what was once someone's home were pushed aside for a fresh start; I feel a bit of giddy satisfaction in knowing that these little trinkets - no matter how small or insignificant - will remind me of what/who was here. It makes me sad to know that this was once someone's home - they lived here, probably raised a family here similar to what I'm doing now - and no one knows/cares who they were. No one remembers them, they are merely a speck in time. What will happen when *I'm* gone? I don't want to be forgotten. For this reason, I feel like I owe the previous life of this house and its families the respect of my curiosity. I've returned the bricks and stones to their resting place, and replaced the sod - if my husband came home to see such a hole in the lawn, someone may be finding me buried in there with the bricks 50 years from now...But I'm planning a trip to my local Land Registry office. If nothing else, I at least want to know the names of the homeowners over the years, along with the age of the house and any other tidbits of information I can find! I'm also "Googling" the pink pottery and little figurine, to see if I can find out what they may have looked like. My search has just begun - are you curious, too?


  1. Of course I'm curious! I love history! My dad used to be a history teacher and I loved when he tolled me stories.

    I just think it's funny that the piece of ceramic you found was link ;)

  2. That's so cool! I remember finding stuff like that around the old foundation on my dad's farm. If you sift around you'll find tons of those old nails, but those pieces of ceramic are incredibly intriguing...good luck on your hunt!