As Grey and I are try to sell our house, I can’t help but think of all the former places I’ve lived. I lie awake at night stressing about unloading this place and I count my former homes like sheep. There’s my parents house in Erie, dorms at Penn State, a waterfront condo in Pacific Beach, the “Underground Youth Hostel” in Sydney, an adorable Cape Cod cottage in Newport…to name a few. Nothing too fancy, but all memorable just the same.
Yet, of all the places I’ve lived, I must say, my first real apartment (meaning the one I paid for without my parents help…. most months at least) was the most unique. It wasn’t the location — it was in Manayunk, a funky little section of Philly where tons of Penn Staters gravitate following graduation. And it wasn’t the cost of rent — $450 bucks per month. What made my house on Hermitage Street so special (for lack of a better word), was that it was a former funeral home. No wonder it was so cheap; dead people used to hang out there!!
The funny thing was, when I moved, I initially had no idea. I just thought it was just a really big old house with tons of parking (perfect for keggers!). I lived there with my TriDelt sorority sister, Amanda and apparently both of us are clueless because we never made the connection that the giant double doors in the front of the house actually let people in to pay their respects or that the chilly laundry room was in fact an old embalming chamber. It wasn’t until one night when we ordered pizza and the delivery boy said, “So, you girls decided to rent the old parlor?” that we finally figured it out. Then it all made sense. The old signpost in the front yard. The circular drive with an actual parking lot in back of the house. The gigantic viewing area. Yep, we realized we were living in a creepy death chamber. So what else was there to do than gather some girlfriends to create a coven of witches for a seance?
Our little paranormal ritual was pretty run of the mill. Lots of wine. A few spells involving locks of hair and ex-boyfriends. Nothing exciting. However, post-seance, I woke up in the middle of the night to find ALL the windows in the house WIDE open. Mind you, these were the giant old school windows that went from floor to ceiling and they each had about 10,000 coats of paint on them. Neither Amanda nor I had ever had much luck cracking more than a couple and all of a sudden, on a dark October night (too close to Halloween for comfort) they were all agape with neither of us having pried them open. It was like something was trying to get out. Or worse — IN. We were totally freaked.
So of course, this is what I like to remember when I start getting stressed about not being able to sell our house. I mean, our place here in Arlington is not haunted. That’s a good thing. And any house that doesn’t have a crematorium, well, that’s alright by me!