"Leaping Leiper!" Original blueprints of "Glen Elm." Modified to more cents able search

Submitted into Contest #18 in response to: Write a story about someone cleaning out their attic. They find an old piece of clothing, and inside of its pocket is an old keepsake.... view prompt



Poetic preface:

Thy childhood home

(Tempus fugit doth not heal

hollowed grief only death will seal.)

Synonymous with fragile hulk

anchored off shore

her frail exterior, no longer bows with stern

weight beckoning with yen

at suffering being weather beaten

since about nineteen ten

embodying painstaking craftsmanship

way back when...

effort to build enduring domicile

ruled as blueprint for den,

not necessarily of thieves,

but extraordinary rich n hard folk

fancying quilt and pen

predecessors of barbie and their ken

erected by strong strapping young men.

Since february 1968 occupied

by thine now octogenarian widower father

echoing with ghosts at 324 Level Road

(plus spirit of deceased mother),

plus past occupants

whither err knot he visit

berth of his lady friend

who lives in Newtown/ Langhorne area

fated to meet the wrecking ball

which hundred year old mansion

once stately domain

hosting crème de la crème,

who received encore plaudits,

now ivy rings around collars

once visible slate patio

offering viewer lily padded fishpond,

(where celebrated jumping frog of

calaveras county froggy

went a courtin) below decks

which once renown estate

merely dark shadows

at the edge of night dominant,

especially onset of twilight zone,

versus former vestige

of former radiant glory

prompts this son

to be somber and brood

if perchance there might be artisan

with rehabilitation knack

and expend energy and time to mend

(at this eleventh hour til

steely knife jaws demolish

this fixer upper before

entire complex edifice

like humpty dumpty

doth crumble and fall.

My father posted then removed sign

for passersby, (whether on foot

or via auto) to glance and read

that indicated this original owner

Captain Leiper located in register

steered his shipshape tract titled "Glen Elm",

a vast vibrant 100 + green acres

this dilapidated home, now up for sale,

yet nada buyer offered an acceptable price

thus mine dada did decline

agreed on deal with contractor,

who bought scrappy spit of land

coveted green acres bandied

mere crumbs of "bread"

explained by end

of November 2012 demolition crews

will raze crucible of memory without fail.

Hence this one and only pseudo prodigal son

christened Matthew Scott Harris,

whence previous January thirteenth

two thousand twelve

he passed thee half century +

three year existential longevity mark

decided to air his forlorn

flagging stoned hope

to elicit even a remote possibility

to stave off annihilation of thine abode

where many growing years

up at lightning speed flew

and in retrospect prompts

this mind to reflect

on those decades many

of which seem stark

awful if the habitat

became a pile of rubble,

thence prompting me to cry

witnessing nada trace of

creative ambition innovations

the hands of this father did

carve and hew bye and bye,

his signature imprimatur

very soon to become rubble heap.

Before demolition crew razed complex edifice christened "Glen Elm,"I asked father if alone time could be arranged for last tearful visit to imbibe storied legacy regarding originally named aforementioned country estate. Over a hundred years old, the original property encompassed interestingly enough over one hundred acres. Circa nineteen sixty eight (February twenty eighth more precisely), both parents expressed mutual eagerness to acquire above named property. After mother dearest passed away approximately ~ early May 2005, the then newly minted late septuagenarian widower (papa) experienced depression. After spending approximately half century as married man, his avocation to gentrify sprawling mansion (back in the day, a mecca for wealthy landowning aristocrats) dramatically plummeted. Upon posting the house for sale (once resplendent abode included formal gardens and servant staff, who occupied residence where Groff's live) with negligible success. The never ending tasks to sustain safe haven no longer appealed to former vibrant and physically fit sir to helped beget yours truly. Many innovative embellishments busied papa weekends and/or days of the week days scheduled and approved time to he taken off as career mechanical engineer at General Electric Aerospace Division. His personal touched heavily garnished the sprawling dwelling over the ensuing five plus decades he (and mother) created welcoming home domicile. As yearly anniversaries elapsed marking the passing of his once young flirtatious bride, he felt considerably less ambitious to leave signature creative flair. Thus date and time arrived when the lofty structure met the wrecking ball with Miley Cyrus writhing sexual provocative poses. My opinion (though unsolicited feedback imparts nothing to this vignette), she looked much more attractive as Hannah Montana. Nostalgia (sprinkled with sadness) consciously aware what ill fate would level countless trials and tribulations punctuating formative growing up experiences linkedin to 324 Level Road. Stray tears then (final adieu) and now stream down cheeks. Impossible mission if bajillion dollars filled every pocket belonging to each pair of pants donned by this sentimental fellow.

Never would ample wealth bequeathed, nor amassed viz crowdfunding across the world wide web. Sudden sobering reality found me to swallow with difficulty as if massive obstruction lodged lump in my throat. If only special effects could could allow, enable, and provide shrink down the expansive sturdy slumbering residence. Meanwhile with digital cameras in tow, this contemplative, furtive, introspective, lithesome, ornery, quasi recluse ultrasensitive vagabond zealously jimmied, and subsequently opened the front door.

I went straight to the attic fast as these spindle shanks could muscle. Though feeling a bit clammy anticipatory anxiety in tandem with musty garrett yours truly set himself to task. No matter I lived better part of mine existence with faded glory of former grandeur, thee ambition to venture into whirled wide cobweb strewn squirrel riddled catacombs never lit figurative fire under my keister. Now upon impending annihilation regarding any vestige of cherished humble abode, an urgency woke within me to ferret out the parchment delineating architectural plan before the cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) first stone set in the construction of masonry foundation. All other stones would be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. Many moons ago one descendent (the next younger generation) drove up rutted driveway within elderly (classy attired) older lady. While seated within passenger of authentic mint condition 1910 Packard, she spontaneously waved in my direction. Unsure if said hand signal linked with friendly greeting, or most likely fanning the soundcloud of dust away. A brief terse monologue got uttered intimating, she instant felt palpable displeasure, née outright anger regarding squalid condition of what constituted an immaculately conceived ornately fashioned summer getaway. Believe me you, the unusual, original, and initial residents, said dignified elderly woman probably conceived, and most definitely attested to taking first breath outside the womb within one of the spacious bedrooms.

The sorry sight (lamely lethargic) weather beaten characteristics, no longer exemplified dignified charm. She (namely the chauffeur who exited to leave in a huff hour), could not suffer further insult, as if afore alluded to one lone Leiper granddaughter owned the property, and not my parents. Amidst indistinct staccato despair, a reference got made to drawing plans stashed away within some obscure nook. Ah... thee spontaneous drive back to the future included sole impossible mission to secure such valued documentation. Recollection of one aristocrat besotted with humiliation (courtesy natural subjection to swiftly tailored harry styled elements of mother nature) took heavy toll when another era populated magnificent estate with fancy exclusive social galas. Never again did that ethereal ghost like dame mosey on over to hollow out grandeur. Meanwhile, that singular hint of tangible drafts sketching out design of vacation domicile, (which methought then mere fabricaction) nagged at mine curiosity. The slated demise activated proactive decision to burrow into boarded up cubbyholes off limits since moving out. Enormous undertaking to wiggle thru hidden crawl spaces only promised grim outcome. Unknown alien creatures could easily make mince meat of yours truly. Understandable physiologically pronounced increased trepidation issued manifesting manifold within an ordinary reluctant persona.

Hours got spent doggedly engrossed locating any telltale wisp, which sought after hint or shred of veritable validity futilely spent analogous looking for needle in haystack. Though disappointment awoke unable to experience height of exhaltancy never discovering visa vis hand drawn freelance rough or final draft presenting unbuilt facade of custom built mansion, I did downsize bold endeavor, and settled on scrutinizing an outdated fully clothed manikin, I skirted earlier when embarking on quest to behold prized delicate papers revealing floor to ceiling plans of "Glen Elm." Nonchalant reflex found inquisitive fingers of mine frisking headless gender neutral model. Hands sought out pockets and

naturally folded around loose change, plus well worn paper money circa early nineteen hundreds. Methought, I could bank on receiving a tidy sum eagerly paid me by reputable coin collector, who also buys silver. Outcome? I made out like a smoking bandit!

December 01, 2019 22:53

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