Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mystery from the Attic

This summer we have been not only painting and doing other house improvements, but also trying to go through our possessions in preparation to moving. Yesterday my husband started going through the stuff in the attic.

At the top of the stairs there is a small door that leads to storage space under the roof eaves. In that space, over the years, we have stored old suitcases, computer boxes and pet carriers. To my hubby's surprise, when he opened the door yesterday, he saw straight ahead of him sitting on top of one of the pet kennels a cardboard tray containing what appeared to be a child's project, now fallen apart.

He brought it to me and we marveled, not just at the project, but at how it came to be sitting on top of a pet carrier in our attic. That space in the attic is not one we access frequently, but we have been in and out of it many times over the years to put things in and get things out and neither of us had ever seen this object, let alone place it on top of the pet carrier. He also found 3 pairs of German socks rolled up on the floor next to the kennel. We are both sure these objects were not there previously. They just appeared.

That evening, I sat down to watch television and take a look closer at our mysterious object. I was amazed at the number of small items I saw and how much work someone had at one time put into the creation of what I now saw was a model of a church, what church where, I still don't know. Perhaps a reader will know.

I sorted through the pieces and tried to make sense of them, taking pictures as I went. I was particularly taken with the church steeple with its clock and the angel perched on top of the little oriel window (a small bay window that projects from a wall). Regluing the oriel to the steeple was the first act of restoration I did.

At first I thought the little round pieces might represent people, but as I looked at the roofs of the building, I saw little white squares where it looked like the bases had once been glued, and I decided out that they belonged on the roof like those onion shapes on the top of Russian churches.

I found stairs going nowhere, although on one side, there was a platform and around it what I decided were columns that might hold up a roof, and I also found a four-sided pyramid roof to fit on top. One metal rail was in place and I was able to replace its twin. But, the stairs on the other side, still lead nowhere. Whatever object was there, is lost.

I worked my way through the mess, replacing what I could, discarding small pieces whose purpose I could not determine and finding that the little trees and bushes crumbled into dust if I tried to pick them up and put them back in place. To my delight, I found small images of people, perhaps drawn, perhaps cut out and mounted. I love the group of men standing there looking at the church. Aren't they delightful?

I also found along one wall an image, that when I turned it over, turned out to be a couple of lovers, sneaking a snuggle outside the walls.

There is also a woman on a bench that I had trouble getting to sit up, but I also found amusing. She's also holding her arms out wide. What's that about?

When I declared a finish, I was left with a smattering of extra pieces that I tossed and a lot of dust which I gently blew away, and I'm sure not all is as it was, but I hope that the spirit of the person who created this or placed this in our way (because how else do you explain it's mysterious appearance?) is happy to see it somewhat restored and not lost altogether.

I've put it together, now what? I can't say I really want to move it and take it with me, or leave it permanently on my sofa table, so I'm open to suggestion. It's not a museum piece, just a child's project once saved, then lost, now found again by a stranger. Placing it here on the Internet may be as close as it will come to immortality.