Remember when you were a little kid and all you wanted to do was become an archaeologist? Some kids wanted to hunt for dinosaur bones. Others wanted to find undiscovered Egyptian tombs. I was fascinated by the fabled city of Troy, site of the Trojan War. A German adventurer named Heinrich Schliemann discovered and excavated the ruin of Troy in 1873. He dug an enormous trench through the middle of the site, thus unearthing (destroying in the process) not one, not two but at least seven different layers of Trojan habitation. It went from modern times all the way back to the stone age.
My question was, if each layer of the city had historical value, why didn’t Schliemann try to preserve more of it? Why did he dig through all the layers, disregarding plenty of good stuff in order to reach the bronze age (Homeric) layer he was interested in? Now I know the answer. Because sometimes you just need to get all that medieval crap out of there.
I came home from work Tuesday night and found The Theory deeply engaged in conversation with the whiskey bottle.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I can’t take it anymore,” he replied. “There’s another cabinet under the old cabinet. And I think there might be….” He shuddered. “Another cabinet under that.”
I went into the kitchen and my knees turned to water. There was a terrible smell in the air, like rot and mold and dead things. All the upper cabinets were gone, leaving schizophrenic swathes of different kinds of wallpapers behind. The sink side of the L was untouched but the other side was sliced in two. Here’s a photo of the original kitchen for comparison purposes:
Here’s the counter top with some of the blue tiles removed. By the way, we’re saving the tiles for a future mosaic project.
Now here’s a view of what I saw on Day Two:
See the crumbled white Formica beneath the layer that once had blue tiles?
This is what I think happened. The wife asks for a new counter top, maybe even a few new base cabinets. The husband, who probably wants to head out to the wine bar in a few hours, decides the old lady will never know the difference if he just slaps a new counter over the top of the old one.
When it was all scraped down, The Theory counted four different layers. Layer One was our era with the blue tiles and white paint. Layer Two was a white Formica counter top. Layer Three was a vestigial first base cabinet that consisted of little more than a black kick plate and pedestal. When all of that was cleared away, we had a wall with delicate, faded wallpaper and a wood stove flue—Layer Four, which indicates the room might not have been a kitchen at all.
A photo from earlier in the day, when things were still going well. The yellow-y square on the upper right is an old wood stove flue.
The wall as it was on the morning of Day Three after The Theory cranked up the saber-saw. Just above the pedestal is the old wallpaper.
We found more of the wall paper after some of the other boards were removed. Here’s a close-up of it:
We think this is the earliest wall paper in the kitchen.
The original purpose of the room that is now our kitchen remains a mystery. The old wall paper and wood stove flue indicate the room may have once been a parlor, with the kitchen itself tacked onto the side of the house and long since destroyed.
We know the original land grant was given sometime in the 1880′s (don’t quote me on that, the dates are in the deed which is elsewhere). We always believed the house was built between 1900 and 1910, based on the dates on the newspapers the builders used for insulation. I know, right?
I wonder what the place looked like and who the first family might have been.