You know the saying. “If these walls could talk…” Oh, what we might learn about the history of our homes and their previous occupants! Well, guess what? A discovery inside the closet of our recently purchased condo did just that!
Maybe this would be a good time to share some news. On May 7, 2021, Scott and I moved out of our home in Hamden, where we had lived since February 1986. Other than a short stint in New Haven, I had been a Hamden resident for 62 years!
It was a pretty quick decision. Between the high taxes, increasing crime, difficulty maintaining a single-home property, and the fact that our youngest daughter was permanently (we hope!) settled in Southbury, Connecticut, it made sense to make the leap. Not to mention that property values were at their highest ever!
The current housing market would serve us well as sellers, but not so much as buyers. We felt the pressure. On the day the listing went live, March 25, we visited a condo in Woodbury at 10 a.m. We were the THIRD visitors!
By 2 p.m. that same day, we called our real estate agent, Maryanne Betso and put in an offer. It was accepted!! (Offering $10,000 over asking probably helped. Or, maybe because Scott and the seller were both Yankees fans the odds tipped in our favor!)
We listed the Hamden house on April 10. Two days and 17 solid offers later, the house was sold! Too late to turn back now. Actually, four months later, I can say we made the right decision. At least so far. Check back with me during the dead of winter…
Back to the original purpose of this post…
We discovered the “history” written on the inside wall of the master bedroom closet. (That’s now politically incorrect. I should have said “owner’s suite” or “main bedroom.” We’ve been watching a lot of HGTV!)
The author of the note was not the original owner. I utilized my “genealogist” skills to navigate to the GIS property card on the Woodbury Tax Assessor’s webpage to determine the names of the previous owners. There is a person named “John” who purchased the condo on April 17, 2000, but no one listed between that and the next purchase on April 26, 2004, so it’s likely that “John” added the closet note on May 31, months after the purchase. Unfortunately, the listing stops there so I couldn’t determine who owned the condo when it was built in 1980. I know I could go to Town Hall for the info, but I’ll probably ask our neighbor, who has lived here for 38 years—odds are, she’ll know.
Maybe the orginal owner was “Ray.” We found 6 huge tubs of his summer clothing in the attic!
The first two entries are written with the same pen. The last few are all written with a different pen, but the same handwriting.
Possibly the first two notes were written on September 11, 2001. Perhaps the signifigance of the horrific events prompted the decision to record events for posterity. The remaining entries were mostly family-related, but one sounded like there was a pretty good story behind it. “Mom severs finger.” Wonder what happened there? Two entries for 2003 were fairly significant: “Columbia explosed over Texas” and “War with Iraq.” Apparently this condo has been home to more than two Yankees fans! The entry for June 13, 2003 reads, “Roger Clemens get[s] 4000K [strikouts] + 300 win.” Not just a fan of baseball, the entry for April 5 and 6, 2004 celebrated both the UCONN Men’s and Women’s NCAA championships. The final entry, on June 9, 2004 noted family member “Jon” was going to Africa. Was it a trip for business or pleasure? Did he return? Guess we will never know. A new owner purchased the propery on August 26, 2004. No more stories. But never fear, 17 years later, Scott and I are determined to pick up the tradition.
It wouldn’t be the first time we left our mark on a property. In 2019, I made sure to leave a message in the basement of the Goebel Road home owned by our family since 1959.
And, when we left Woodin Street, our home for 36 years, we were careful to save an image of the basement door. We briefly considered taking the door with us as it became a family (and friend!) tradition to measure growth on the inside door. But, it seemed it might be difficult to find a suitable replacement on such short notice (the house was built in 1948) so we settled for a digital memory. Wonder if the new owners painted it over?
We do plan to add to the “closet diary” in our new condo. What should we include? Obviously our purchase date and info about the COVID pandemic. Maybe the date I retired from my “retirement” job? I’m looking forward to adding dates for the milestones of our grandchildren and hopefully, our travels when the world is “normal” again. Stay tuned!
One thought on “If Walls Could Talk! Oh… Wait…”
Fun post! The house I used to own (before moving to a condo) had similar notes on the garage wall, a location unlikely to be painted over. Dates of acquiring cars, first day of school for kids, height of kids, and more. My hubby and I were only the 3d owners in 20 years, and we left the notes (with a couple of our own) for the 4th owners.