Dead Spaces II and a Recipe

There is something about the primalness of the greasy guts of an old house. Something haunting, yet visceral. Strangely wounded, like an animal, yet beckoning like a train wreck.

It’s gross and fascinating; peering into the wound, seeing how everything works, looking at old scars, being a voyer in the operating room.

After. You can see down into the basement. This wood was all rotten.

I see it and then close the door because the danger beckons me. The floor joists could be walked on, I could see more…

But no. Instead it silently tugs at me, as I work and mother. It wants to be bandaged. I know it will be fixed, but in my psyche, it stresses me. Like a part of my body is open, waiting for someone to help.

And the discovery of another dead space haunts my thoughts. Suddenly, in the shift of a day, there was opened for the first time since 1966, the huge well of an old servants’ staircase that was cut up to make the bathroom downstairs and a linen closet upstairs.

Up and up…looking up from inside the shower stall in the downstairs bathroom. This was the well for the servants’ stairs or back stairs. They used to come down into the kitchen.

Its an odd space, about 20’ high with two levels half way up. The paint shimmers slightly in the darkness; a deep green made up of quality pigments from the turn of the last century. It glowed as light struck it for the first time in 63 years. At the top is the landing for the third floor, painted a light ochre yellow.

To the side- the planks are the end of the newer linen closet floor on the second story. The yellow plaster is the third floor. Now that the floor is gone I could stand in the basement and look up into here. Weird. 👀 

We marvel at the delights of new space. We have lived here 7 years and this has been there the whole time. We knew there had been a staircase there. We did not know the space was so massive.

Could we do something with it? What? The most likely is to close it back up again, but the thought of that space, dark for 63 more years makes me feel strange.

As the old house survives another layer of renovation we camp out in parts of her, like hobos camp in an unwanted abode. We drag the stove over to be hooked back up to the gas line and I make fried eggs with kale on toast for me and plain fried eggs on toast for everyone else. The range will be cold again tomorrow and we will contemplate what to do about a meal then. If our chimneys drew properly we could cook over a fire. But they have gas log hearths now.

My beloved kitchen has been out of commission for 10 days. I got so desparate tonight that I made this despite the dirt everywhere:

Her center griddle is being stored (it weighs about 20 pounds and every heavy thing counts when you move this stove) but Mrs. O’Keefe will still cook up a meal.

Easy Fried Eggs on Toast

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat while you get out 2 eggs per person, butter, salt, and bread. Toast a piece of bread for each egg while frying the eggs. Put 1/2 TBSP butter in skillet and swish it all around. Break eggs snd pour straight from the shell into the pan. Dust with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, then flip over. For runny yolks cook about 30 seconds-1 minute more. For cooked yolks pierce the yolk, cook 2 more minutes, flip and cook about another 30 seconds.

Put an egg on a piece of toast and enjoy!

So, so good and simple.

With love, eggs, and more hidden and dead spaces to you from Kansas Street,



2 thoughts on “Dead Spaces II and a Recipe

  1. Christina Thompson May 25, 2019 — 5:28 pm

    I’ve always admired things of the past. When we go on a road trip and I see an abandoned weathered house I always think….”That was someone’s mansion. Someone built and loved that place once upon a time.” Thank you for sharing your home’s stories! (I still need to read your book!) After reading this blog I’m definitely more excited to do so!


    1. Thank you Christina! I feel that way too! Imagine the stories houses could tell us! When I see an abandoned house it makes me sad. Houses need people!


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