THESE WALLS CAN TALK… By: greening homes

January 17, 2013
Site Stories

Old homes are abundant. Some have been updated more often or more recently then others, but invariably, a Century old home has had a number of minor or not so minor renovations over the course of its life.

Renovating an old house is like peeling back the layers of a giant time capsule. During the demolition stage, piece by piece the house begins to reveal the work of hands that once were laid upon it. A newspaper clipping here, an old receipt there. Slowly, slowly the house begins to give up a silent history.

On a full renovation project near Mt. Pleasant and St. Clair, Greening Homes crew have been pulling apart a century old house, moving walls and fortifying the structure. The crew have pulled from the walls and hidden cupboards old NASA posters, a plumbing receipt from 1967, a newspaper page from 1993, and a lone wooden coat hanger with the inscription, “CUNARD WHITE STAR”.

The imagination races – who was the NASA enthusiast? Was the life of a plumber in 1967 so different from today? Which Cunard White Star ship did this hanger come from and who brought it ashore? Were they arriving in a new country for the first time to settle on a quiet street in a big city, or were they returning from a journey abroad?

Every artifact found is a direct connection to the past; the people that built the house and those that have lived within its walls. As we begin the stages of closing up newly framed walls we find it difficult not to leave small tokens from our own time and place. A date scribed in new cement, a business card, an old saw blade.

These small tokens become a direct connection to the people before us, twining  and marrying the hands of the past with the hands of the present until, over time, our histories will become inseparable.