This post is the next in a series of posts I have dubbed “The Firehouse Chronicles.” See all episodes.
My new people have been hard at work updating my paint, restoring my rooms to their former glory, although I can’t deny I miss my horses. Oh, the horses. Yeah, they chewed on my sills, but I loved the sound of their clomping hooves on my cement floor, specially grooved to give them adequate traction, as they were led from the back pasture, through my barn doors into the room where they were washed and fed and settled into their stalls.
I miss the old alarm bells which were my signal to open my stall doors so the horses could take their places by the engine. I then dropped the horses’ harnesses from the “spider” trapeze hanging from their place in my apparatus bay ceiling. I’d open my bay doors as the men came sliding down my brass fire poles, lock the horses into their harnesses and they’d be off in a matter of seconds.
When I was fresh and new, the firemen took good care of me, scrubbing my floors, polishing my brass, planting my window boxes and painting my insides regularly. I stood proud on the top of my hill, happy to be serving my community. I loved when the neighborhood children came to sled on my back slope during rare Seattle snow. I loved watching the horses munch on the grass in my pasture. I loved the order of my apparatus bay, hoses and equipment neatly stored, the engine polished and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
After the horses went away, a truck replaced them and their smells were replaced by different ones – oil and gasoline. For many years, I continued my life as a useful firehouse, until one day, my friends all moved away and I fell into disrepair. My new owners didn’t treat me well and for a while, I feared for my safety. But then one day, new owners showed up and began to take care of me. The Chandler’s built new walls and replaced my torn away stair. They repaired my roof, rewired my old electrical system and replaced my old coal furnace, adding many shiny, copper pipes. They had great plans for me, until they got older and sicker and could no longer take care of me. For 20 years, I fell into disrepair. The doors to my rooms were shut, my windows removed and pigeons nested in my attic. I did not like the pigeons.
One day, a year ago, new people arrived and woke me up with the machinery they brought to clear all the brambles that were beginning to scratch my siding. My stalls, which had been long ago removed and replaced with a new room, the bones still visible in the wooden beams that make up the walls, are now a hall and office and my new people have added a beautiful new bathroom and will reopen my window which the Chandlers had covered over with shingles. At first I was alarmed when my cement floors were cut and dug, with bright red pipes traversing the length of the trenches created, but I have felt their warmth and my new tiles are quite spiffy. I feel like I have a new pair of warm, shiny shoes.
My hayloft has been transformed. For many years, the door was shut against the weather coming in through my missing windows, weathered blue tarps covering the holes where I could feel the wood rotting year by year. My windows are now restored, the hole in my floor, crudely patched has been refitted with wood that matches the floorboards I was born with. My new people filled my gaps, sanded, stained and polished my floor with such loving care, I couldn’t help but sigh with pleasure.
My attic, which the Chandlers had begun to create into a whole new room, one that when I was a proper firehouse was used for nothing but storage, and open to the hayloft below, has now been closed off from my hayloft and my new people will continue the work of creating a new room from my ample attic space and I love the new window that frames my finial so beautifully.
I watch with pleasure as little by little, my bones are painted and polished with joy and excitement and I look forward to again being filled with laughter, music and happiness.