Week of February 23, 2016 - Fifty Years of Justine and Susun ~ Page One

Monday, February 22, 2016 8:36 PM | Anonymous

Fifty Years of Justine and Susun ~ Page One

The realtor didn’t laugh when I told her I wanted to buy at least fifty acres of land, well off the road, and at a pittance. Oh, and I wanted there to be a house already there.

“Today is our lucky day,” she said smiling at me. “I am clearing my files of properties that have been on the market for more than four years and have not sold and, look! Here is a fifty acre parcel, with a house and a garage. I am sure the owner, who doesn’t live there, will accept any reasonable offer. Do you want to see it?”

Did I ever! But not right then. First I had to get my land partners in on it.

Several days later, we were driven to Fishcreek Road. Several feet of fresh snow made the long driveway between the road and the house impassable. I had brought my snowshoes and broke a path so we could take a look. When we finally got to the house, we were stunned to discover that – in the absence of human inhabitants – the wild had moved in. The smell was incredible, even on a frosty day.

And frosty it was. The ceiling in the kitchen leaked, it seemed, and a glacier of ice ran from ceiling to floor, covering the stove, refrigerator and sink. The floors were black tar paper over plywood. Except for the kitchen and the bathroom, there were no real rooms in the house, just open spaces.

It looked like we could afford it, though. It met all of our most important criteria, and we were tired of looking for property, so we made a reasonable offer. The current owner, D, was the surviving daughter of the previous owners, K and O, who were said to be in love with the land. D wasn’t. She never went there. But, like her parents, she was reluctant to let “just anyone” buy the land. The realtor said K and O said they wanted to sell the land, even listed the land, but were never satisfied with the people who wanted to buy it.

We went back and forth with D, back and forth on the price, back and forth on the terms, back and forth on her willingness to sell at all – over a period of months. Long enough for us to realize we were dealing with one living alcoholic (D) and two dead, but not departed, spirits (K and O). And we were going to have to find a meeting of the minds for all involved if we hoped to live there.

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