I am the house on the borderland.
Not the fictional house in a novel by the same name. I am a house built with good intentions gone very wrong.
I sit on the property line of two people, two families.
When everything started it was a classic fairytale of two farming families who owned land adjacent to each other. The families were always on good terms, helping each other through rough patches.
It had to happen someday, you know the story of the girl next door.
The middle child named Alex fell head over heels in love with Tammy, the farm girl next door. At first it was very awkward, neither would admit to feelings so over the top, after all they had pretty much grown up together. It was like liking your cousin of all things. Something a little forbidden. Then they began to show their feelings secretly, or so they thought.
Their parents on both sides of the property lines were amused. Each kept any comments strictly on the quiet, they each looked forward to the relationship. There was a lot of hopefulness, romantic feelings, fairy tale times. What could be better, the blending of the two families and all the brought to the table. A little old world but it wasn’t like these kids were promised to each other, nothing was forced.
When the two were properly engaged and married both families had the great and dreadful idea of having a house built half on Alex’s families land and the other half on her family’s land. The house would be theirs, built and deeded to them as a couple, a conjoined couple.
So they built me, each family eager to match the other in generosity. It wasn’t at least on the surface in either families’ minds at first that this house was actually a competition. It was a joined effort, nothing more.
The plans began to get a bid grand as they met with the architect and added this and that on this side and that. It wasn’t like a hodge-podge of rooms they kept the whole house looking like a unit.
It was finally done after about two years of work.
The workers knew this was never going to work. They kept building. But their faith wasn’t really in it.
When the house was done, except for interior design, the couple moved in. More than two years had passed and they had one child a baby girl and another baby on the way.
They moved in and began as they called it in the old days, they began to set up house-keeping.
They both worked the farms, splitting loyalties.
The couple raised five children here and stayed in the house until the youngest was ready to move away. It surprised everyone when the couple said they were splitting up.
The families who still owned the land beneath them began to take sides. When the woman, Tammy, opted to move away to town things began to get bitter.
The couple wanted their own lives and the family couldn’t accept it. They wanted, they needed their fairy tale.
The house believe it or not was closed up, no one wanted to argue about who would live in it, should they rent it to an outsider? Who got the rent? The land owners or the couple?
Everything landed in the hands of lawyers who charged so much to figure it out the families considered leveling the place. They couldn’t cleave the child in half.
They shut the house up and it would be a decade before they came to an agreement.
They would rent the house and the land it set on and split the taxes and problems that began so long ago when the boy next door fell in love.
It finally happened that the acre of land under the house, not enough to farm or work was sectioned off and sold as one unit to the first buyer with the nerve or ignorance to settle between two families with hard feelings and dashed dreams.
I have a family living here in the sticks with land they cannot work but they seem happy. They have no relatives close at hand and they have no children.
It has been a quiet time over here at the house on the borderland, but comes without expectations. The couple has no one’s expectations but their own.
It looks strange on property tax maps to see this small square of land surrounded by two larger properties and some day no one will know the story of how I got here.
For now though, the man and woman plan to live out their lives here in this rather well done and almost over the top house.
They put in a small stand of apple trees and a nice garden. The man would like to put up a green house if he can save up some money. The woman does argue that she would prefer a studio for her hobby. Is there any reason they can’t have both?
The neighboring families farmed pecans. They still do. They also have animals, I am not sure a farm is allowed to call itself a farm without a goat or a cow or a hen house.
Pecan farming is more complicated than you would expect and with the current and ongoing drought I am not sure they will be able to keep going for much longer. Maybe they should all try apple trees. I heard peaches are very sweet during dry years. I wonder if they might try peaches. Whatever they do, the families are going to have some really down times while they make the change over. Apples and peaches may grow on trees but they need time. The families don’t really have time.
It is good the house on the borderland was sectioned off for the retired couple. They have savings and pensions and social security to see them through.
House on the Borderland
The book, The House on the Borderland was one of the creepiest books I ever read. It haunted me, I could hardly wait to go to the Holman Library at McKendree College to return it.
Here is a bit I copied from Amazon, should you choose to read it..
“The House on the Borderland (1908) — perhaps the greatest of all Mr. Hodgson’s works — tells of a lonely and evilly regarded house in Ireland which forms a focus for hideous otherworld forces and sustains a siege by blasphemous hybrid anomalies from a hidden abyss below. The wanderings of the Narrator’s spirit through limitless light-years of cosmic space and Kalpas of eternity, and its witnessing of the solar system’s final destruction, constitute something almost unique in standard literature. And everywhere there is manifest the author’s power to suggest vague, ambushed horrors in natural scenery.” — H.P. Lovecraft.”
I’ll see you next week. Thanks for dropping by. The spoonriver of houses is about to end.