On Abandoned Buildings

Ever since I was younger, buildings have been fascinating to me, especially older abandoned ones. When I was a teenager, we went to a place called Sand Hill near my house. I lived out in the country, so getting there meant backroads and three-wheelers. On the way, there was this old abandoned house that had everything still in it. It was like the people who lived there just finished dinner one day, walked out the front door, and never came back. It was a little creepy, but I remember one of the coolest things in it was the old Sears catalog from 1960 something. It was funny – you could even buy a house, pre-made of course, from Sears in the 60s.

As part of my job, which I've been doing for about 9 years now, I buy and sell property around our campus. This means going into a lot of buildings that may or may not have been occupied for a while. So, I have been in a lot of old abandoned buildings at this point. I always look at it sort of like an exploration of sorts. I very rarely ever get spooked, which is good, considering that I work in a rather bad neighborhood.

Once we bought an old church. As part of the deal, we had the church tear down the sanctuary when they moved out but before we closed, as we had no use for it and we also wanted them to be responsible for closing out the sanctuary as religious organizations do. The last day before the demolition, I went into the sanctuary alone. The pews had been removed. There were bricks in the middle of the floor, from some of the pre-work that had gone on in the space. I picked up a brick and still have it to this day. The sanctuary went down the next day, but I always remember the feeling I had of talking to that building, thanking it in some way for its service, and promising to take care of the rest of it for many years to come.

I have kept momentos from almost all the buildings we have bought and demolished since. I don't know why, really, but it makes me feel like the memory of the house and the lives who lived in it live on, at least in my memories.

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