You can't tell it now, but when my grandparents moved there in the early '50s, it was one of the nicer houses in the neighborhood. Peepaw had made pretty good money as a CPA and from his investments, and this was the big move across town for the Depression-ridden family that had moved to town about ten years earlier. Back then, the yard was lush with trees and plants and a manmade stream wound its way around the yard. There was even a mini-golf course in the yard at one time.
No one ever used the front door at Meemaw's house. Everyone came in through the back, where the den was. The den had been added on before they moved in, and it was the best room in the house. It had a bar (which was only used as storage by my devout Church of Christ grandparents), my Peepaw's office, a little bathroom and -- best of all -- a pool table right in the middle of the room. There was a ceiling fan with one blade above the pool table -- evidence of pool players who had accidentally stuck their cues up in the fan over the years.
The house had a lot of rooms, and it was the kind of old house where you had to walk through rooms to get to other rooms. The only way into the room I used to stay in, unless you wanted to go out the back kitchen door, was through my Meemaw and Peepaw's bedroom. That made me feel safe.
The house had a lot of secrets and intrigue. See the covered porch? It caved in one time. I found that fascinating, for some reason. But the most fascinating place in the house was my Peepaw's shop.
His shop, before they had moved in, had been a maid's quarters. It had several rooms, stairs leading to the attic, and a tiny bathroom in the back. This was my Peepaw's chemistry lab.
By day, my Peepaw was an accountant and a preacher and elder. But he was also very interested in chemistry. At night, when no one was around, he'd go back in that bathroom and blow stuff up. He kept all of his different elements in baby food jars that lined a window sill. "Watch this," he'd tell me as he'd grab a couple of jars and shake their contents into the toilet. BLAM!!! Then he'd stand there and chuckle. That toilet had seen so many explosions that it was barely attached to the floor. I remember being intrigued by the stains on the ceiling above it. Meemaw let him have that back bathroom as long as she never had to know what went on back there. I don't think I saw her back there one time.
Peepaw died in 1988. A year later, Meemaw sold the house and moved into a retirement center. I loved that house. I still fantasize about buying it and transforming it back into the beautiful house it once was.
Meemaw died in 1996.
Oh -- there's one more thing about the house that I'll write about later. It was haunted.