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Monday, January 23, 2006

Buying an old home is an adventure in a lot of ways. It's not just radiator heat and renovation, it's also discovering the history of your home. In our case, there's an added element of familiarity, since the house we bought has been in Don's family since 1920, with the brief interlude of the last two years.

This weekend we did a lot of unpacking and exploring. When we first looked at the house, I'd noticed a large desk in the basement which had clearly been there for many years. I was right; it was a Brinkley possession and as such the sellers left it in the house (this was part of our contract agreement-- they left everything in the house which had been left in it by the previous owners, Don's family). Don stayed home on Friday, feeling sick, and spent some time puttering around exploring. He called me at work in the afternoon, and told me that he'd found "some stuff" in the desk. He wasn't particularly descriptive-- it's not one of his gifts-- and I was itching to get home and see what he'd found. I couldn't, of course, until the next day; my commute is so long now that I don't actually see daylight at all, and by the time I got home it was much too dark to go stumbling around in the basement.

So, on Saturday, before our friends came over, down I went. And lo! There was, in fact, stuff. The middle drawer, the one I always call the 'pens-and-pencils-drawer', was full. Most of it was mysterious electrical components and random hardware, nuts, bolts, screws, and the like. I did make a few finds, though. My favorite is this "delegate" ribbon. It's from the Maryland Firefighters' Association's National Convention of 1966. Later, I went over to Don's parents house, and his mother told me that nearly every Brinkley who ever lived in the house was involved with the firehouse in some way. I'd known that Don's mother and father were both volunteer firefighters, back in the day-- they actually got married in the firehouse, and the little old ladies from the Ladies' Auxiliary cooked their wedding dinner! As it turns out, Pop-Pop Brinkley (Edward Sr., I believe) was actually one of the founders of the local firehouse, and both his wife and his daughter worked as part of the Ladies' Auxiliary. Fascinating!

We also found a very retro earring, Pop-Pop's lunchbox (filled with hinges, for some reason), and this great warrantee from Jordan pens. Too bad we couldn't find the pen-- we could have seen if someone would honor it!

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