This past weekend, we got to go on an uncharacteristic mini field trip to the new house of a dear friend. She's taken on a dream home fixer-upper of massive proportions. It's the Victorian mansion of my little girl dreams ... complete with the potential for multiple sitting rooms, a humongous kitchen, a garret, nooks & crannies and a fabulous staircase. There's even a servant's staircase. I asked a ton of questions about her remodeling plans as she restores the house to it's former glory. She has so much to do, but the happiness on her face while she described each detail was infectious. When I was little, I had a wooden Victorian dollhouse that my mother and I built together. We painted, decorated and detailed it. She would ingeniously come up with miniature decorating ideas that we could craft ... like tiny hand towels and teeny rolls of toilet paper for the bathroom. We would plan how to wallpaper the little rooms, what paint would make sense, how to pencil in hard wood flooring. It was one of the many craft projects we would work on together when I lived in her home.
The other cool thing about my dear friend's new house is that it's haunted. She, her friends and family have seen and heard things. I was initially very excited to hear something, but as night descended, I will admit that I was freaking myself out. By the time we went to bed, the kids were so tired that in minutes they were asleep - not the case for me. In fact, my husband agreed to stay awake and keep watch, in an effort to assuage my nerves. Some of the sounds woke me anyway. Before you correct me, I know old houses make noises as they flex and shift. They don't make sounds like knocking on your closed room door, rhythmic footsteps on the floor below you or repeated gunshots and voices outside (in an almost rural setting). Our dear friend heard none of these things, as the spirits in the house adore her and her restoration efforts. It was very cool to discuss it in the morning over orange juice and the sumptuous breakfast she made ... easier as well in daylight.
I've always believed in the unseen, and I foster that in the children. I think it leads to a better imagination, better writing and hopefully, a more interesting life. How dull must it be to think that there are no mysteries to life, that what you see is as good as it gets. Like Mulder said, I want to believe, but I'm a bit of a chicken at 2am.