This is an absolutely true story Book Index
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” Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.”
Richard Harris Barham
We packed everything we had and made the 1600+ miles north.
The drive was remarkable.
It was August, so the lush green of summer accompanied us all the way to the beautiful Green Mountain State where Mel would work and finally New Hampshire where we would live..TAX FREE (or we would die… that is what we were threatened). Mel and I had always been content to be in each other’s company. You’d have to be with OVER 1600 miles to fill in the gaps. After 6 years you’d think we would be tired with each other, but incredibly, not.
Have you ever taken a trip with someone you have absolutely nothing in common with? Or worse, too much . You fight every other county because both of you know it all.
No, Mel and I…we were kindreds and we knew how to do this. The trick is, to ask your partner everything about a part of their life they loved the most, miss the most, you know the drill. That way when it’s your turn for attention, the other person doesn’t mind.
For Mel, it was the Coast Guard and that is what we talked about the entire trip. As it went, we never really did get to talk about me. But then, she’d have to talk about art, independent movies, cuisine. No, none of that appealed to her. Art was “Buffy” posters, movies were anything with blood and guns before the opening credits and cuisine was meat and potatoes and nothing else oh..but gravy. So, really, I didn’t miss it all that much.
We anchored at the little hotel across from the White River Junction VA where Mel would work in the anesthesia department. It was fun for the two weeks, the cat hated it, but it was very comfortable and Mel was home in 3 minutes.
The Veteran’s Administration in Vermont was the most charming facility ,it was atop a grassy hill and had several other buildings. All of them were really houses from days gone, the main facility was newer but equally as charming, with a colonial look.
We spent our evenings excited about our future, promising what sites we were going to see. Planning what house we would live in. We found that house in a little town called Claremont.
The state had a clever license plate phrase “Live Free or Die". That had to do with NO Taxes. But still, there were some. However, you could buy a car in New Hampshire and not pay taxes. There also were no sales taxes. Yes I said taxes three times in one paragraph. Help me!
Mel immediately got a doctor to prescribe my meds, so that didn’t work out as planned as I was hoping this would be my opportunity to be free of them and I also immediately got work. First for an Electrical Firm at Dartmouth and then a little architectural firm in Enfield known for the Shaker Museum. And guess what? The firm was in a Shaker building. The haunted one where the father killed his children. Ahhh history filled with so much joy and fun.
The job I got was to go to Salem Mass and measure the Hawthorne Hotel. Also haunted and the home to several Bewitched episodes.
The rooms were glorious, each one different – designed by a boat maker! And the rooms reflected this originality.
They were redoing the entire building and I was to measure each room, draw it in AutoCAD and make a presentable package for the renovation bid. I was given a suite, food and total access to every room. But they were mostly taken by tourists so I had to measure when they were not in the rooms. And the empty ones I measured at night.
It was a lot of fun. But at night – that was another thing.
They only had one elevator and at night, the first night, it acted up. I went to the lobby and asked the desk clerk. It was around 1am. She explained that during the night, the elevator will keep trying to go to the top floor. They had maintenance in to look at it repeatedly and finally gave up.
The desk clerk told a story of a wedding that had occurred there some 60 years earlier. During the reception the flower girl disappeared. After an hour or so, she was found dead on the top floor. The bride found her and jumped to her own death. I have no idea how true the story was, but all my bravado could not get me up to that top floor when it was dark.
After the completion of the project, the owner of the firm hired me full time. The day I started, he asked me to ask Mel to not call him and bother him for money on the Hawthorne Project. But she didn’t listen, and I came into work the second day, he handed me the check and said “This just isn’t going to work out”
Another job lost because Mel and I were partners, lovers, and Mel looked butch enough to confirm it. And she just couldn't wait for the money.
I was so embarrassed for Mel; I called her up and gave her some crazy reason for my no longer working there. I could never bear to hurt her feelings.
A strange thing happened on the heels of that job.
By the way IISTG means If It Seems Too Good to be True