Our son had completed his building apprenticeship, and because there wasn’t much work about, was put off. He spent many hours in his room and became more withdrawn and lost confidence. We decided we needed to keep him busy so found carpentry jobs for him to do for us. We supplied the materials, he supplied the labour. We got new doors and a deck that was fantastic. Next job was the outside laundry.
Now before I go on, I need to tell you about the previous owner of our house who built it from scratch in 1950. He was renowned in the neighbour hood for walking about with a wheelbarrow and collecting anything that could be used. When we moved in 15 years previously, we had to get the whole house rewired as he used bits and pieces of found cable to run the electricity through the house and it was a total fire hazard.
The laundry had a concrete floor so our son levelled the concrete prior to tiling. He then suggested he replace the interior walls that were made from scraps of found timber. He was demolishing the walls when he called me out. “Guess what I found in the cavity?” he said. “Money” No. “Rats?” “No, worse than that”. What could be worse than that?
After a while of this guessing game he showed me. There in the wall cavity was a gravestone. I immediately had visions of never having my laundry completed as the police dug up my back yard to find corpses. We took it out. There were three names inscribed on it. The first a two year old baby that died early in the 20th century, the second a woman who died 1948 and the third a male who died in 1953. All had the same surname which was the same as the previous owner of the house. What to do next, before I rang the police?
I googled the names and they were supposed to be buried in a church graveyard just up the street. That was a relief, but what was their gravestone doing in the cavity of my laundry wall? A lovely marble piece it was too. I rang the church and told my story to the receptionist. She was really thrilled and said she’d been working there for eight months and this was the most exciting thing to have happened in that time. She rang me back and said that someone from the graveyard committee would call me. I didn’t realise there were such things as graveyard committees. I didn’t know what I was going to do with a headstone. It sure would be a talking point when visitors came. Considered carving our deceased dogs name in and putting it in the vegetable garden near where he was buried. When the woman rang she said that there definitely was a headstone in the graveyard for those three people but she would pick up our one and put it on the back wall with the plaques.
The only thing I could think may have happened is that maybe one of the names or dates was wrong and the engraver had to start over but had let the owner keep the incorrect one. Then maybe when he got home with it his wife had said to”get that thing out of the house!” so he had put it in the laundry wall that he was building from scraps at the time.
So, in the end I had my new laundry, all freshly painted, minus the headstone. Also the footsteps that used to wake me in the middle of the night stopped.