I remembered seeing a bunch of boxes and trunks in the attic before I bought the house and decided to go investigate today. Other than all of the dust and spiders, the attic was mostly empty. It is nearly a full story and looks as though it may have been a playroom at some point. Shreds of cut-out alphabet characters still cling the upper walls, tawny with age. Each of the six pillars in the room have the faint outlines of nursery rhymes long-ago painted around their bases. It really most have been a magical place to play as a child.
I determined to clean the place up and determine what if anything could be made of the space. It seems to have had a prominent role in the Gilbert's lives, I hope it can be more than just dusty storage to me. I spent about an hour dusting off the five trunks stacked near the stairs and the 15 boxes virtually tossed in the far corner of the attic and carrying them downstairs to the empty bedroom. Well, actually I only carried the boxes. I very quickly realized that I was going to have to get some brawn over to move the trunks.
I went downstairs to call Dec, Pat, and Jake over for dinner/labor and found Logan about to knock on my kitchen door.
"Hey. Was wondering if you wanted to grab a beer," said Logan.
"Actually I could really go for one, but I don't think I can suppress my curiosity long enough to actually leave the house right now."
"Okay…well, I'll be,"
"Do you maybe want to have one here with me while I go through the boxes I found in the attic?" I asked.
"Boxes of what?"
"No clue yet. I haven't even peeked at them. So you up for it?"
"Absolutely," he replied while pulling a sixer from the fridge.
"I'm just calling the Irish to come help move the trunks."
"There are trunks up there too?"
I nodded in response as Jake picked up the phone. I quickly explained the need and was assured that they would all be over in the afternoon.
By the time I made it upstairs, Logan was camped out with the boxes at the end of the hall. The sun was streaming through the trees and the peeling wallpaper looked like insects trapped in the amber light. I plunked down amid the scene and took the lid from the first box.
It seems Mrs. Gilbert saved all of her old ledger books. They detailed the household accounts down to the last detail. There also seemed to be a few of Mr. Gilbert’s journals, meeting notes from the board at the country club and various civic organizations. We both agreed that these were an important piece of history, but that they could be reviewed later, so we focused on the rest of the boxes.
The next 4 boxes were the same: meeting notes, ledgers, receipts. Boxes 5-11 were books. Needlework, cookbooks, primers, household medicine, Greek philosophy, a family Bible, several volumes of Shakespeare, countless manuals for grist mill machinery. The last 4 were filled with children's books and drawings.
Before we knew it, my cousins had arrived and the guys set themselves to moving the massive trunks down from the attic while I made lamb stew for us all for dinner.