Monday, February 11, 2013
Abandonment Issues: Rowbottom Heimilton Haw House
Having driven past this intersection in the city of Kawartha Lakes on many occasions over the past few summers, we were quite taken aback to see this dilapidated farmhouse standing prominently off in the distance, announcing itself with a quiet solitude. The dead trees of winter revealed what the living overgrowth had been concealing during the summer months.
This is what we were doing on the road on this cold Saturday in February of 2013: hoping to uncover someone else's past. And so we circled like vultures, located the driveway, and began the long walk.
A powerful winter storm had dropped a foot and a half of fresh snow the day before, which made the long walk seem all that much longer. A solitary set of footprints was partially buried and kept disappearing and reappearing in and out of the areas windblown and snow swept. The footprints led towards the house. There were no footprints leading back away from it.
The house appeared as only a dark mass behind a pair of tall evergreen trees, until we got right up close, and in behind it.
All of the doors, and most of the windows were boarded up tight with plywood. A sense of disappointment hit us both. While the boards sometimes prevent us from gaining entry to a location, more often there is a way in, but the problem the boards really cause is a lack of quality lighting inside. While that was the case in some areas of this house, we had already followed the footprints in the snow directly to an entry point, managed to traverse the collapsing extension, and climbed through the window, we figured we might as well have a look around.
A calendar had been frozen in time at the end of December, 2006.
Digging through the piles of yesteryear's memorabilia that littered the darkened floors, we uncovered minuscule fragments of glimpses into the lives of the former residents. Junk mail addressed to Kelly Heimilton. Social services documents addressed to Mr. Carl Haw, as well as a slew of bowling medals and plaques baring his name. A Hydro-One bill addressed to Ms. Julia Rowbottom, showing an account clearing payment of $955.11 received on February 27, 2007. All correspondence baring this address.
Upstairs, the one and only window was broken, and the furniture and children's toys were covered in a thin layer of white powder.
The stairs to the basement rocked under the weight of just one foot, and so we passed on the descent.
Back out the window, and through the collapsing extension, we stood and talked. We spoke about one thing in particular: Where did the person that left the footprints go?
The footprints led right inside, but they never left.
The kitchen is closed
You got beef?
Miss the cook
Plaque and white
We are the champions
Mr. Carl Haw
Ms. Julia Rowbottom
Second floor snowstorm
Play the angles
The writing on the wall
Souvenir of The Skydeck, 1000 Islands, Canada
In too deep
The deep end
And just as whoever left those footprints had done, we disappeared, albeit with much less mystery.
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