Stuff you won’t salvage from most houses on the market

Our story so far: After closing on the sale of an old Methodist church, we got to work cleaning it up and demoing the interior.

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Chapter 9

Amusing things one finds in a 126-year-old Methodist church:

Map of Palestine
“Modern” day Palestine, for Sunday school discussion.

—A 1969 map of Palestine with the footnote: “Boundaries do not necessarily carry the approval of the countries involved.” Some things never change.

—A treasure trove of pots and pans abandoned by the olderish church ladies who had no interest in kneeling on the floor and reaching all the way to back of the bottom cupboard in the basement kitchen. We scored some great stuff, including a template for cutting a pie into exactly six equal pieces and a pristine piece of brand-name Tupperware for storing flour or sugar and labeled with a marker “UMC” (United Methodist Church, of course); I pressed this into service as a Chex mix storage device during the holidays. Plus, a top-quality insulated casserole carrier I can only imagine some proud church lady mourned losing for years.

play telephone
Friends urged me to keep it for my granddaughter, but it was just too filthy. And archaic.

—A play telephone with a dial-—who dials a phone anymore?—and a telephone book.

—A stereo and vinyl records to go with it. In the words of Ronco infomercial huckster Ron Popeil, but wait, there’s more! Cassette tapes and CDs.

—Lights, which are not at all surprising. But the switches were befuddling. Hidden behind doors and inside closets. The wiring was strange.

—An ancient looking wooden box labeled TNT. I imagined how it might have found its way to the church: A railroad worker’s wife (our village was once the junction of two major railroad lines) made four delicious apple pies for a church supper and opted to transport them in the handiest sturdy container.

TNT box
This will most certainly be repurposed. But not for carrying pies.

What we didn’t find, or at least didn’t recognize as we threw them into the garbage, was the remote controls for the ceiling fans in the church. Hanging at least ten feet off the ground, it was impossible to simply pull a chain to start them. Consulting the caretaker, we learned the remotes existed, but somehow, we lost them in the flurry of activity of cleaning and organizing the first few days. Tyler had me dig through a couple of garbage bags, but if they were in there, they were hidden by rotten wood and sawdust.

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Coming Tuesday: My favorite discovery. Read it here.

2 thoughts on “Stuff you won’t salvage from most houses on the market

  1. […] Our story so far: As reality has caught up with this blog about converting a 126-year-old Methodist church into our home, I’ve run across a few odds and ends that occurred after I wrote about the subject initially. That’s how it goes with a real-time memoir. Sometimes stuff happens after publication. So for the next week or so, I’ll be sharing a few little stories that will ultimately be integrated into the relevant location in the memoir. Think of this as the time in the novel—especially a mystery novel—when you page back to reread a few passages to remind yourself about what’s going on. Today, a tidbit for Chapter 9. […]


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