Sunday, November 11, 2012

Truly Macabre

Okay, so here's one:
I walk by this house every week.  It is one of the the last on its street to remain in its original state.  That is: un-updated, un-refurbished, un-renovated.  Basically, it doesn't seem to have been changed at all since I once visited it in the early 1990's.

On that occasion, my husband and I had learned that we would be moving to Italy, so my husband borrowed a ham radio from his dad.  It was a big black thing, about the size of a microwave oven, and pretty basic.  It had maybe two dials on it.  The idea was to tune it to some kind of Italian language station so my husband could brush up on his Italian which he hadn't spoken regularly for several years.

Well, the house above had a tremendous ham radio tower behind the fence at the left.  It stretched way over the roof the house.  My young husband (who was never shy) and I went over there to inquire, to see if someone might give us some insight on how to properly use the radio we had. A woman came to the door and called for her husband and he seemed delighted.  He was kind of old (well to us!), and he led us down to the garage that you can see on the bottom right side of the house.  It was chock full of radio type junk--dials and meters and all kinds of gadgets and equipment--at least that's how I remember it.  He laughed at our radio and said it wasn't a very good one, but showed us how to work it.

I remember we would put the thing on the bed at night (because of the time difference between here and Europe) and roll the dial around and pick up distant sounding voices--some that made me think of men out in the wild camping or hunting, others that sounded like farmers in lonesome linoleum floored kitchens.  The voices faded in and out, growing stronger and then weaker in cycles.  There seemed to be a lot of Spanish.  We would listen very hard for Italian, but it was mostly always Spanish.  When the Italian did come on (Swiss Radio International), it went so very fast for me--news and soccer scores.

But anyway, back to the house.  So, some time ago, I noticed the radio tower was gone.  The house is in obvious disrepair.  I figured the ham radio man must've died, and probably his wife too, and whatever children might've been responsible for the house were tied up in some kind of legal snag what with all these banks that've gone under so that nobody knows who owns what property these days
or where the documentation has got to.

I heard my son say something curious in passing that made me realize that the truly macabre had happened.  Oh!  These crazy Southern stories!  Yes, the ham radio man had died.  And yes, his wife had too.  But.  There was a son.  He hadn't let anyone know that his mother had died.  Apparently, he was collecting money in her behalf, which was only recently discovered.  Which led to the discovery of his mother's remains, still in the house.
Ah!  Not quite "A Rose For Emily"--but--!  A little Norman Bates-y, eh?


  1. And a little Bernie-ish.


    I'd love to hear more about living in Italy, though.... :)