Written by: Bumblebee
Focusing the ridged ring on my camera lens and delicately dialing in the distance I could already feel the beads of sweat forming on my skin. The sweltering sun, already at its apex had turned the walk towards our destination into a soupy swim of heat with our rag tag group finding relief through the breeze off passing cars. *Click* *Click* *Click* Scouting the scene ahead, it appeared as though our apprehensive approach had worked well enough. A lone buzz hung in the humidity and I curiously glanced skyward to find the source of the noise, sweat mixing with saline and burning my eyes. Eventually it was time to move inside, my interest in the hovering helicopter had wavered and there was a story to uncover. I was already falling behind.
Tangled in the foliage of the front yard, a frail wooden structure of peeling paint tells the story of a family who toiled in the regions rich earth, sharing the (literal) fruits of their labor with townsfolk and tourists alike. Just beyond the family’s fruit stand, a row of lumbering trees carefully camouflaged a humbling home. Bowing, the trees pay their lasting respect to the concealed. The solace of the sycamores and the breeze beneath them was short lived as I found myself ducking into the darkened underworld beneath the bungalow.
Patryk Bujak was born in 1920’s Poland, and after surviving the Second World War he found himself yearning for a place to call home. Patryk would soon find that home with his wife Zofia. Emigrating to Canada in the early 1950’s, Patryk and Zofia settled a large plot of luscious land and immediately set to work building the foundation of their field of dreams. Using their old world agricultural skills, Patryk and Zofia would go on to see success in selling the fruits of their labor.
Getting a sense for my surroundings, I could not shake the feeling of being hunted. With every cobweb I was reminded of our initial visit a few short months earlier when wild packs of wolf spiders crept around every corner. With my eyes adjusting, the blurry monochromatic basement began to take shape. Finding my feet, I carefully inched around taking stock of a cinder block cellar that once held a bounty of fruit from the acres of orchards left behind by the family. Following leading lines of orange spray paint, I found myself standing in a dimly lit corner. A lonesome window filtered the suns golden glow, cascading over a treasure trove before me. A true testament of TIME. But just beyond the lingering musk of mold and mildew I heard the muffled voices of Storytrail and CrazyCarClub above. I made my way upstairs; the timeless treasure could wait.
When Patryk wasn’t toiling in the earth, he could often be found tinkering in his basement tool shop. Surrounded by A myriad of saw blades, screwdrivers, and soldering irons Patryk would work the wood of the land. He would go on to create the crafted cabinets in his house, where Zofia would proudly display the many trinkets of her travels abroad.
Ascending the abyss, I immediately joined in on the photos being taken. Among the beeps blips and clicks of Canons and Nikons alike, I began to get the feeling that something was amiss, or should I say, missing. The kitchen, once a picture perfect scene now looked as though someone had taken anything of value. The cabinet of curiosities beside the dinner table laid barren, the cupboards left crooked, everything but the kitchen sink disheveled.
The plundering proceeded into the retro rewind living room, where ornate lamps lay smashed into the shag rug and spray painted obscenities covered every wall including the stucco ceiling. Letting out a short sigh, it was clear that the location had made its way to pickers on public forums. Everywhere the pink innards of the house poked through patchy holes, it would only be a matter of time before the elements took hold, turning the entire room into a cancerous black mass of mold.
By all indications, Patryk and Zofia shared a love for each other that spanned many decades of devotion. Living off their land they led the quaint and quiet life. They would go on to have children to whom they passed on the affinity of agriculture to and in turn have children of their own. Unfortunately at 66, Patryk would succumb to age, leaving behind Zofia to fend for the family farm. Carrying on the memory of Patryk, Zofia poured her heart and soul into their slice of heaven, ultimately bringing her spirit closer to his.
Beyond the beaded makeshift curtains in the living room, I found CrazyCarClub and his wife focusing in on a three legged wonder. It reaches skywards, looking beyond the heavens. A telescopic oddity, flanked by a pair of single beds. Proudly presented behind it, a sun faded solar system poster detailing the far reaches of the final frontier sticks to the wall. Sadly the vinyl of John F. Kennedy’s presidential speeches that sat on the bed previously had since been snatched, along with a 1960’s book detailing the NASA space program from Cape Canaveral. A bookshelf once filled to the brim now watches its shelves contents carelessly strewn about the floor. I could only stand to find the irony in the missing globe, and the entitled individual who carted it off.
Half expecting the next room to be ransacked, I tried to control my disdain for the disrespectful. Peeking in my eyes meet a familiar face, a painted print of the pope. Under my breath I ask forgiveness for my trespassing, and to my surprise the room has been spared from the savagery mere feet away. Under the Apostolic watchers gaze a lone type writer sits saturated in sun, surrounded by artifacts of its era.
Reading through the titles of Patryk’s book collection one could surmise that he was a well-read man who enjoyed dabbling in the arts and sciences of the time. An amateur astronomer, I can only imagine the amount of time spent peering through his telescope charting the star systems. Further titles would reveal Patryk’s affection for science, philosophy, and history. Patryk was nothing short of a successful Renaissance man excelling at everything he put his effort behind.
With our photos taken, and our cameras slung over our shoulders, CrazyCarClub, his wife, Storytrail and I proceeded our procession back into the depths below. Choking on the stale saltiness of our sweat, we were greeted by the sweet sweeping relief of a breeze coming from our overgrown exit. Enjoying the sound of swaying branches and rustling leaves our voices reverberated around the cavernous compartment, comparing notes and observations on the abode above.
Closing my eyes in exhaustion from the persistent pain coming from my abdomen, I stood in the doorway careless of the cobwebs now draped over me. My peace was pierced by the “cool!” coming from CrazyCarClub the next room over; I had forgotten about the aforementioned timeless treasure from earlier! Retracing my steps back into the cramped compartment, I found CrazyCarClub setting up his shot. There, from floor to ceiling stood a bookshelf unlike any other, teaming with TIME magazines. A time capsule in itself, arranged in neat stacks and carefully catalogue was every single TIME magazine from the fifties well into the turn of the century, chronologically and meticulously ordered. A litany of literacy gold, had managed to evade humans and humidity, the crisp pages of famous faces flowed freely recognizing the likes of Eisenhower, Tricky Dick, JFK, and the conflicts of the Korean War, Vietnam, and Cuban Missile Crisis. We could have spent forever thumbing through magazine after magazine but with a laundry list of places to visit, there were more stories to be told yet.
Credit for background on the previous owners goes to a fellow explorer in the UE community.
Before (See Above)
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