Here’s a weird one- somebody stole a house from me.
Due to a family real-estate shuffle this year, I ended up owning the house my father grew up in. Now, it was hardly in livable condition- for those interested in folk architecture it’s a squared-log dogtrot cabin with 2 front and 2 shed rooms and weatherboarding, last occupied about 20 years ago, and was built around 1865-1870. It was heavily damaged during a tornado a few years ago- one of the front rooms was pretty much destroyed and the ceilings and parts of the floor had largely collapsed in the other rooms- BUT- and this is the salient point- the logs of the other front room were still there, dovetailed, and solid as ever.
Today I went driving to where I grew up and there’s a pile of rubble where that house was. (No, there’s no way it was condemned- this is far outside of city limits and due to pines you can’t even see the place from the road anymore unless you’re looking for it, and there are abandoned houses all up and down that highway so nobody would have complained about it being an eyesore.) At first I thought it had collapsed or whatever, but as I went to examine it I noticed that the reason the tin roof was laying across the remains of the house was because SOMEBODY HAS TAKEN THE LOGS!
Now this is not an easy feat- those logs were heavy and dovetailed together. This would have been an all-day (at least) effort and would have required at very least a really big truck and probably heavy lifting equipment.
In a rare instance of intersecting lives my brother called me today because he was in town. I mentioned this and he told me that he’d had a phone call about the logs “back around Christmas” from a doctor who wanted to buy them to build a fence around his house in the suburbs. He had gotten my brother’s name and number from a neighbor/distant-relative up there who had no idea which of us currently owned the house (and at Christmas it was still in “estate of” my father). My brother said he had given the doctor my name and number, though I’ve changed phone numbers since then so perhaps he tried to call and couldn’t. He gave me the doctor’s name.
Now- had the doctor called me and asked I’d have gladly sold him the logs. There’s no repairing that house- and I would have even let him set the price- I’d have accepted anything reasonable. (What I really want from that place are the back steps- they’re crudely made of granite and fieldstone but my father and grandfather chiseled their names into it many many many years ago and I’ve thought that if I had anyway of transporting them I’d like to store them in case I ever build a house, then I’d incorporate them somewhere- if he could have gotten those steps to me I’d have given him the logs (all save for one or two which I’d like to use to make a bench, and there’s a couple still there, but anyway).
I don’t know it’s the doctor who got the logs, he’s just the only suspect. I am MAJORLY pissed off at the notion of somebody feeling they can help themselves to something that’s in the country and abandoned, which this is far from the first time that’s happened and I’m far from the only rural landowner to have this complaint. (Christmas trees, contents of old barns, pieces of abandoned houses, you name it- people help themselves from it if it’s outside of city limits as if private property is only for inside city limits.)
I’m trying to decide on how or whether to pursue the matter. Should I call the doctor and say “Pardon me, do you have my family’s homeplace around your pool or your begonia beds by any chance?” and if he says he does then follow up with “You do? Great! Now please pay me $3000 per log! HELL YEAH that’s an exorbitant amount, I agree, that’s why I want it bitch! You could have had it for next to nothing if you’d just asked me!” Of course he could be innocent, but even if he’s not unless he admitted it it would be next to impossible to prove, but I’m so majorly pissed off at whoever did this. I honestly think that lopping the hands off of thieves is one thing the Middle East got right- people who knowingly steal for any reason other than to keep themselves alive deserve to reside eternally in hell on the same street as Hermann Göring and Carot Top.
M,P, and IMS it.