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Peculiarities #2

February 20, 2017

This is the second installment of my new feature, Peculiarities, odd items found around the house, some of which defy explanation.


I’ve written about the hundred-year-old house we owned in downtown Portland, but I haven’t mentioned the bathroom we decided to remodel. The house came with an original claw foot tub, which we were excited about until we tried to use it. That tub took an hour to fill and the water was icy cold long before reaching a proper level. We needed a shower and I hired a contractor, Rusty, to build one. A vent was needed to insure a smooth flow of water so an opening had to be cut, providing access to the attic so a hole could be cut in the roof.


Rusty cut the opening and climbed into an attic sealed off decades earlier. He descended moments later with a few curious items. One was a 1962 forty-five recording of Up on the Roof by the Drifters. Did a teenager hide it from parents believing rock and roll the music of Satan? Was that why the record was hidden and forgotten in the attic?





Some of the other items were much older—eight small cobalt bottles with cork stoppers. I don’t know much about antique bottles but these looked old, probably from the 20s or 30s. I plucked the cork from one of the bottles and caught a whiff of what I determined to be cough syrup. So these bottles had contained medicine, but why were they hidden in the attic? My answer came when I examined the other bottles, which smelled not of cough syrup but of something different—whiskey. Had some fellow been hiding booze in these bottles during Prohibition? I’m thinking—YES.





Arguably more peculiar is an item on our mantel. Among the many Christmas gifts I received from CJ was a refrigerator magnet of Captain Kirk. CJ insists I’m a huge Star Trek fan. He claims I bring that Sci-Fi fantasy into every conversation. To be clear; I don’t. Nevertheless, he’s given me numerous Star Trek items, including a Christmas ornament shaped like Kirk’s flip-open communication device. I’ve yet to find a good home for the resolute, over-sexed Captain. Our fridge is stainless steel and the magnet won’t stick, so Captain Kirk rests on the mantel, propped against a carriage clock that looms almost as large as Big Ben.






I hope everyone has a terrific week. Consider going boldly where no one has gone before.






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I love it when people find objects long since hidden in attics or behind walls. I wonder if the teen just listened to it and forgot where it went...teens have a habit of that. Love the old bottles and I was immediately thinking alcohol since cough syrup oftemwas high in alcohol especially in those days.
By: Birgit on February 20, 2017
Lots of people collect those old bottles. I think they are interesting. Kirk is a mantle piece item that only you and Mrs. C can appreciate, I love things like that.
By: cranky on February 20, 2017
I think if I were hiding a stash, I'd want it in quantities larger than that! I guess that size would be good to keep in my handbag for a quick nip. :) I've got a large stack of 45s in a cabinet and occasionally listen to one. And Kirk would be welcome on my fridge.
By: Kelly on February 20, 2017
CJ and you are quite close... so why would he claim you're a Trekkie? Are you a science fiction fan?
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 20, 2017
perhaps those little wee bottles contained laudanum? I think every house has quirky items- and sometimes we don't even see them as quirky! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on February 20, 2017
Wow, cool items all, but I'd have lost my mind finding cobalt bottles......uh addition here. At our old house we were sure the previous kids had hung out in the attic....lots of teen age litter. Houses with histories are fun.
By: Oma Linda on February 20, 2017
There's a magnet my brother would put on his fridge. I wonder what proof that cough syrup is by now? It would probably be able to get an elephant tipsy.
By: PT Dilloway on February 20, 2017
Fascinating finds! The little blue bottle could be the seed of an interesting short story. (That's the sort of "starter" I'd use in writing classes.) I love the juxtaposition of Capt. Kirk and the beautiful old clock. The photo looks like a scene from Land of the Giants or Honey I Shrunk the Enterprise!
By: Tom Cochrun on February 20, 2017
Those bottles remind so of my mother who collected blue glass and displayed them in a window as you entered her house. Just the right size for her and the window's small panes of glass...
By: The Broad on February 20, 2017
That is one very cool refrigerator magnet ... if you like that sort of thing. Our nephew and his wife discovered one of their cats liked to hide in the cellar ceiling. When they pulled her out, they discovered the cat had been keeping company with a stash of sex toys left by the former owner. Be grateful for those antique bottles!
By: Mitchell is Moving on February 20, 2017
I love those claw-footed tubs. I'd have bought a bigger water heater. My apt bathroom is too small but I was determined to have a bath tub. I could barely fit in it 15 yrs ago when I was 50 lbs lighter. Now it's like a hippo in a birdbath...
By: Lexa Cain on February 20, 2017
We found a few things in the attic when we moved here, but nothing worth mentioning, or even keeping.
By: messymimi on February 20, 2017
Have you ever researched to see what some of those items might be worth? You never know. We have a huge jacuzzi tub that takes way too much water, but we are on a well, so do indulge and will continue until we are too old to get in and out.
By: Tabor on February 20, 2017
I'm surprised you haven't taken the bottles to an antique store to determine their value, if any.
By: Catalyst on February 20, 2017
Catalyst is right; they might be worth something!!
By: fishducky on February 20, 2017
That is a cool magnet--though I was a Spock fan. Bet Shatner would buy that from you. I loved that song. Now I will probably head for Amazon to download it. Gee thanks.
By: Arkansas Patti on February 20, 2017
Some of the old houses with attics contain some interesting object. I guess few people visit attics.
By: red Kline on February 20, 2017
Am I the only one who loves it that "Up On the Roof" was found up near the roof?
By: Val on February 20, 2017
I'm sure those bottles could have contained something far more sinister! Did anyone ever meet an untimely death in that house? That might explain why they were hidden :)
By: Botanist on February 20, 2017
What neat items to have found! I'm wondering if the record might have just slipped out of a box when the previous owners were moving it down from the attic in a hurry or something. Your son might be just needling you, you know :)
By: jenny_o on February 20, 2017
I was just reading about old bottles. "They" say the cobalt ones are more valuable than clear. Hopefully they will bring you some money!
By: Linda on February 21, 2017
The Drifters--great East Coast beach music! Nice finds.
By: Sage on February 21, 2017
Was he over sexed, I had no idea. Nice placement.
By: Ll Cool Joe on February 21, 2017
Those bottles look quite interesting! What did you do with them - keep them? Or did you get rid of them? I've only lived in new(er) houses, so no interesting finds or stories.
By: Pixel Peeper on February 21, 2017

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