When you were a kid do you remember what your mom told you about wearing clean underwear in case you ever had to go to the hospital?
Well,... the moral of this story is kind of like that except it`s keep your damn house clean in case you die.
Picture a nice quaint borough, all the lawns are neatly manicured,..the houses painted to the specifications of the historical committee,..the shrubs evenly trimmed ,..you get the idea.
A quiet little town where everything is seemingly perfect has to have at least one tarnished resident to create a normalcy threshold for everyone else,..
for without that ONE guy,..there would really be no normal.
That`s the guy that calibrates the rest of society,..the odd bird,.the quiet weirdo who never comes out of the house,...or mows the lawn,..or paints anything,...ever.
Without that kind of guy floating around we would all be the same with nothing to compare our perfect little lives to.
That guy was my friend Don. I guess you could say Don liked to collect things,..not anything,..everything.
The tip of the iceberg as to who Don was could be seen in the car he drove.
You couldnt actually see him in there driving,...it was loaded so high and deep with TONS, literally,..tons of paper,mail, garbage( he surely didnt percieve it as such),
knick knacks and what have you,..it seemed impossible anyone could drive like that.
But Don did every day, about 2 blocks to sweep the post office,...back one block to clerk the local quickie mart,..and back one last block to home.
The same routine can catch up with you I suppose if you do it too long. It eventually caught up with Don,...he collected so much stuff he actually withered away in his self inflicted squalor.
The car was one thing but when it came to what was inside his house,...you know,..lurking inside there,..festering away,..
building up and overwhelming even the most tidy of housekeepers,..well its going to be no surprise that when you finally get a peek inside that odd birds abode it could be quite a shock and at the same time no surprise whatsoever.
Anyone who drove a car like Dons would more than likely have a similar phenomenon going on inside closed doors too.
Apparently that was the case,...because when he died after a few heart attacks and several million cigarettes, everyone in the quaint little community
got to see exactly what was lurking inside the moss encrusted house he lived in.
I called it Don`s Moss House.
It had thick bright green layers of moss on the roof and looked so out of place in the neighborhood.
It did look a little run down but I knew there was a human living in there,..so it didnt register on my abandonment recognition sensory perception abilities.
If I didnt know Don lived in that wreck of a house I would have probably done some good old fashoined exploration to see what horrors awaited the first to venture inside.....
however in actuality getting into the house while he lived there was next to impossible.
I had gone over there on a few instances to help him out in moments of distress only to find entry could not be gained due to the massive amounts of newspapers and magazines that were stacked wall to f``ing wall.
Each time he wouldnt open the door all the way in fear "Mikey" the cat would scurry outside never to be seen again.
With good reason too,..Don never knew his neighbor ran over his last cat with a truck,..so it`s perfectly understandable.
If you were to meet Don it would have been at the milk store. In the rare times he would leave the house it was after the post office was closed to clean up,..then he could be found clerking until the local market closed. If you were to go in there for a fast purchase Don would start talking to you,.....and then you as a "normal" person would say "gotta go!!" then bolt out and speed off.
Not me,..when Don would start rambling about all manner of topics I would stay to listen intently for all the information the guy knew. He was a also a hoarder of knowledge,...weird stuff of
little or no import to most people, yet I found much of it fascinating.
Like for instance the fact he alerted me to one night after hanging on his every word for about an hour,...and thats a LONG time to be in a milk store...a lot of folks come and go in an hour. Well,..he told me about the wizard of Wall Street, Marshall Loeb,..the millionaire investor who once owned a mansion up in the spruce run area in Clinton NJ.
He goes on to say how the guy just moved out of the place and let the government fill that valley up with water to build the Spruce Run
So,..all I can think of is how cool it would be to dive down there and get a look at that place now. ( yeah,..I know another WNJ story for another time...) I begin to realize that in a way I`m kind of like Don too.
The fact that I remember that tidbit of info and want to act on it is a little weird but thats fitting for me. Having already looked into how deep the water is and located an underwater video camera for under $129 as well,...you just might hear about this underweater mansion again someday.
You could thank Don for that if he was still with us,...otherwise I doubt any of us would have ever found that out. As for the stuff in his head every person who never listened to the guy loses out. Listen to all the old people you come across, you never know what you`ll find out.
As for what was eventually found inside the house when his one last relative from Iowa got here to clean it out and have an estate sale?
Well lets put the magnitude of this horror show into perspective shall we?
There were no less than 8 tons of newspapers and magazines dating back to the 50`s taken out in several dumpsters. There were dead animals,..thousands of cartons of
cigarettes stashed away from decades of hoarding. Lots of matches too,..the place was a tinderbox just waiting to blow.
Enough paint to slather the whole place several times over was located in the basement.
He bought the paint but had`nt painted the exterior since 1956. All the trash found was organized by index, each bag weighed, and contents accounted for.
Every issue of Life magazine neatly stacked by date. That was the case with most magazines of the 50`s 60`s and 70`s.
All of them neatly stacked, every issue, and by date.
Every newspaper he ever had was there,..neatly stacked by date.
The relative, a cousin I think from the midwest had relayed the account of the arriving clean-up crew to me and I was astounded at the information.
There was so much stuff in there useless to most people but of a value to Don. He had it all organized and we were 100% sure he knew where everything was except for the cigarettes.
Don Kept Charlie the rooster alive in the house for years,..after charlie the rooster died Don had him stuffed and mounted.
There was a chicken that lived in there too but it had apparently flown the coop by the time the invasion of neighbors flocked in.
There were black clouds of fleas from all the cats that came and went over the years.
I remember the flea situation was really bad one year. Outside the house was a bamboo thicket worthy of flourishing in the Mekong Delta.
If you know anything about bamboo its nearly impossible to get rid of.
You need to bulldoze that shit out.....so,...thats most of what I recall about Dons Moss house.
The next time you go to put on that nice clean underwear for a potential hospital trip,...look around you.
Would you want your neighbors to see your house looking like that?
The whole town strolled through Dons house that day,..and almost nobody bought anything,...it was all morbid curiosity.
Lets take a look at some of it here in pictures,...you know you want to.
Dons Moss House:
C`mon in,...the fleas are all dead..............
To get inside the house 8 tons of paper alone were removed,..equal to that was weighed bagged trash,..all neatly acounted for with an indexing system.
Newsflash Don,....Lindbergh made it!!!
Do you have even the slightest idea how much 8 tons of paper is in volume?? Two long dumpsters worth.
Wait,, did you see that?,...was that a flea?
No running water and a 5 gallon pail to poop in....thats what was found.
Hey Moby!! Snake that drain for me will ya??
Make mine over easy with bacon CRISP........
These were found all around the house full.....various flavors.
Whats cable???? note the cold war preparation......or is that a polo helmet?
If Don knew about Ebay he could have cashed some of these in,...but guys like him will never let it go. Ever,....
Room after room,..ton after ton.........you cant take it with you people.
The last paint job was 1956..........that must be lead paint in those buckets. Better get the HAZMAT team in there.
Every issue stacked by date,.........that bagged, weighed, indexed trash really freaks me out though.....
This stuff has WORMWOOD in it,...thats the ingredient in Absinthe.
Dumpster after dumpster.......
Say good-nite Charlie!!!!
Don,...the milk store just isnt the same without you,........
The moss is long gone and the house sold for about 470 grand.........