Thursday, January 27, 2011
ring my bell
From the start, we knew the manor had its imperfections; faulty wiring, antiquated plumbing, and a gaping hole in the dining room ceiling, just to name a few. But the place had a certain irresistible charm that rose from its nooks and crannies like the scent of baking bread.
The dry Ohio summer of 1988, we jumped into the venture with young romantic hearts and have never regretted the plunge. It really isn't a manor, so to speak, but a ramshackle French country style limestone and cedar house, on four acres along the Scioto River, built in 1927 and named "Willow Manor" by the first owners. The willows once lining the stone culvert, stretching east to west across the property, sadly, are gone.
The manor doorbell is wired to ring in the kitchen. A small celluloid box, covered with years of paint, is fixed in the corner of the room, above the cabinets on the soffit near the ceiling. Upon our first arrival at the manor, it produced a delightfully old fashioned "ding-dong". Fifteen years ago, or so, for reasons unknown, the ding-dong was replaced by a loud, disconcerting, guttural choke. It was quite amusing for unsuspecting guests to hear the sudden strangulation, after which I would nonchalantly call out, "Honey, get the door!" I'm sure it was all a bit too "Addams Family".
A few years ago, after a long absence, the "dong" part of ding-dong randomly returned. Strange, since I had grown fond of the death bell's quirky heralding, a delicious air of perpetual Halloween. Was it possessed by one of the resident manor ghosts? Probably not, but it did add a certain ambiance.