1.18.2010

Hidden Messages

The wallpaper exfoliation extravaganza continues. We are little by little giving all of the interior walls of our home much-needed facials. We utilize steam first, and then we implement a gentle chemical peel. We patiently repair any surface damage and then apply a deep conditioner. Lastly, we apply two coats of protective moisturizer.

The bare plaster walls that now adorn our house include the dining room, the entire stairwell, and the dressing room. This is good because we now only have wallpapered walls in the office. This is bad because the aforementioned bare plaster walls have not yet gone through the entire transformative facial process and it looks like we live in a run-down tenement building.

In reality, we live in an extremely sturdy, well-constructed, fantastically unique house...that happens to have some rather unattractive bare plaster walls at the moment.

Our house came into existence in 1935. It was hand-built by a father for his daughter. The father and his wife lived in our current neighbor's house back in the day when the majority of the homes in our neighborhood surrounded an exclusive golf course. Many of the houses in our neck of the woods were once the vacation cottages of the wealthy folks who lived on the lavish plantations on the west side of Nashville.

So, the father built this cottage with the intention of giving it to his daughter to live in. For whatever reason, the daughter ended up never living there and the father kept it sort of as his man cave, his "bachelor" pad, - even though he wasn't a bachelor - and it stayed in the family, I guess as just an extra house, until it was bought by the Gaithers (I'm not sure what year this occured, but I'm guessing it was late 60s/early 70s).

In 2007 it was bought by an investor from the Gaithers. The investor promptly went bankrupt before he was able to "flip" the house. The bank took possession of it and then we bought it 9 months ago. So, while we are technically the 4th owners of this 75 year old home, we are only the 3rd family to actually live in it.

Since the original owner didn't live in the house full-time, the lovely plaster walls were left bare for decades until the Gaithers came into possession of the home. During their tenure, they managed to cover every single wall of the house (except the living room, which has retained the original wood paneling put up lovingly by a father for his daughter) with wallpaper. Everytime they wallpapered or re-wallpapered throughout the years, they wrote stuff on the walls before covering them with the latest interior fashion.

While I readily admit that removing wallpaper is a shitty job, it's kinda fun to discover the hidden messages behind the wallpaper as we take it down room by room.

We discovered that the room we have been using as a dressing room was previously used as a nursery - which kinda makes sense since it's so close to the master
bedroom.





The top one says: "Sandra Gaither Dilated 3cm Nov 7, (or it could be 17) 1979 Baby Due this date (arrow pointing to above date)"
And then something unreadable followed by the word "Terrible"

The next one says: "Pooter (you can't see the P in the photo) Gaither Age - 17 MO SistER hERE AnY DAY"

I really hope Pooter was just a nickname or term of endearment.

Then we have this one: "Rango and Ronnie stoned again" Nice. Ronnie along with his wife Sandra were the previous owners. I have no idea who Rango was/is.



The next hidden messages says: "James Flatt and Ronnie Gaither DID this January 1972 God Bless America" Perhaps James Flatt also goes by the name Rango?





The one above is kinda hard to see in the photo, but it says "Rango 12-11-92 Bill Clinton Sucks!!"

There are a couple of other messages from 1992 that we found. One telling us that someone had a wrestling match at Father Ryan High School. Apparently '92 is when the Gaithers redecorated the kitchen and dining room and put up new wallpaper.

I love that our house has a history.

We have no intention of putting new wallpaper up in place of the old wallpaper, so we can't leave hidden messages on the walls, but I'm sure we can find other ways to leave traces of ourselves for whoever the next caretaker of the house may be.

3 comments:

HeyBetty!! said...

Don't worry about the bare walls Pooter, soon you and Danielson will have lovely painted walls.

Pooter...yeah that's gonna stick.

Diane said...

I think it's great that you know the history of your house and love these messages from the previous owners. When Jeff & I had our house resided, day one was the tear-off day, and that night we wrote all over the side of the house with a Sharpie before the new siding went up the next day.

cathryn said...

D - Did you write "Diane and Jeff Stoned Again"? :)