Sunday, November 18, 2012

West Acres Farm ~ 1965

Life does not always progress in a straight line~ So nor does our story.
It has it's detours ~ flashbacks and projections.
How many of us spend more time in the past and future, than in our own
waking, breathing hours?

We left off as Elvira and Sophia Skattergood rushed from Delancey Street 
to catch the train from Philadelphia north to Bucks County. 
It is there that Elvira feels her niece is sure to find a fitting Suitor.
One who will make her forget Cecil Spedden, 
who for reasons only known to she, is as
horrifyingly unsuitable as can be.
Poor Sophia knows only of her own broken heart.

~But for now~
Many, many years have passed~ but the events that have transpired still
have ramifications that reach into the future.

Now, another makes that same journey ~ to that same destination,
albeit now just an hour or so drive.

She is innocent of her connection to the affairs of the past ~ 
but in time will discover that fate,
destiny, or the Universe's inexplicable, ironic trajectory has lead her
right to where she was meant to be.

Daphne has moved from England~ with her Boxer Ophelia and her Morris Minor Traveler, affectionally called Matilda.

Looking for a new home, she has arranged to meet a realtor at an old house listed 
for sale in the Philadelphia Inquirer's country property section.
Being a historian, she is most interested in finding an older home,
one that might need some care.

She has come to America to write a book about her countrymen 
who stayed loyal to the crown during the revolution.

Somehow, she has lost her way trying to follow the directions 
given to her over the phone by the realtor from Yardley.

Spotting two men on a cottage porch she pulls over.
"Pardon me, do you know where I might find West Acres Farm?"

"You are there~at least what was West Acres Farm," said the one man
who had a very colorful sense of fashion.
"It has been divided up for some time now ~ this was the schoolhouse 
the Skattergood's had built for the neighborhood.
And the large barn you passed down the lane~ 
the one with all those crazy triangular shaped windows 
that the stupid architect from Trenton put in~ was the dairy.

He continued...
"We just bought this as our weekend place to get out of the city, and..."

"Jack, she just asked for directions, not a history lesson and your critique 
of the modern adaptation of rural barns!"
The other man stepped forward  ~ ending Jack's discourse.

"Hi, I am John Jones, and that's my long winded friend Jack James,
we have known each other since grade school roll call ~
James... Jones"

Jack said " now who is giving a history lesson? 
And I am not long winded ~I am simply thorough."

"How do you do, I am Daphne Dalyrmple and this is Ophelia." she said
"I was to meet a Mrs. Fuller to see a property for sale ~ 
she called it West Acres Farm,
so you can see why I am a bit confused."

"She must be showing you the Skattergood house," John said 
"It has been empty for years now ~ since Miss Elvira passed on back in 60.
It was too much for us to take on ~ this place is enough of a wreck."

"Especially since we only get out here on weekends.
We grew up here, but now we are New Yorkers.
John is in banking, and I am a decorator."

"Maybe you will need help with the old manse?" Jack offered.

"Well I don't really even know what...." Daphne hesitated.

"Come on in and take a look." John said  
"We are having a slight disagreement with the direction of our renovation.
And besides, Alice Fuller will have to pass by here to get to the house,
I'll keep watch."

It was apparent that the house was missing any means of getting up to the porch,
so she, with John's assistance, scaled the ladder placed there and 
proceeded to tour the cottage.

"As you can see from the samples I have brought ~ I am going for an updated look ~
where as John wants your typical staid Bucks County gentry look." said Jack.

"I just think that perhaps things might get a little... well maybe a little loud?"
exclaimed John, with a pleading look towards Daphne.

"You Brits ~ I can tell with your accent," said Jack 
"You Brits have such great taste,
what do you think?"

"Well, I never would have expected such a ... um, can I see the rest please?"
Daphne asked.

"Well here is the kitchen ~ which needs to be totally torn out."
Jack gestured.

"Oh, and if you look out the back, through that grove of pines
you can see the Skattergood house ~ don't be discouraged!"
Jack added.

They continued the tour through to the bath.
" I keep telling Jack" said John, "There is nothing wrong with these fixtures..."

"No nothing... if you are a midget"
demonstrated Jack.

They passed through to the study ~
" I want to take this wall down and create a sauna."
Jack proclaimed, much to John's dismay.

"Jack, all I wanted was a simple country retreat, 
not a modern showplace!"
pleaded John.
"Daphne, don't you agree?" he added

Luckily for Daphne, who had no wish to take sides,
there was the loud screeching of car brakes 
that brought them all to the window.

An extremely large white Cadillac pulled up in front.
"Dottie Dinklemeyer ~ renegade realtor." John muttered, 
barely disguising his disgust.

"Hi boys! ~is this the poor girl who is interested in that old dump down the road?"
asked the woman exiting the Cadillac.

"Hi honey ~ I am Dottie Dinklemeyer ~ and I have a great brand spanking new
split level for you over on Morningside Drive!"

Before Daphne could respond, she was repelled by the wave of cigarette 
smoke that Dottie expelled, even at a distance.
That, coupled with her low gravelly voice 
did not make the best first impression.

Even Ophelia, who was a discerning judge of character, 
showed her displeasure by emitting a long, low growl.

"Dottie, Miss Dalyrmple is working with Alice Fuller,
so how did you know she was looking
at the Skattergood place?" asked John

"Oh, I have my sources," she chuckled in a sinister manner.
"Besides, you know Alice will never show her any of my new properties 
that have finally been built in this one~horse town."

"Yes, said Jack, " you mean those ugly boxes built over in that swamp land, 
that's also a flood plain, no Alice wouldn't."

"Mind your own business ~ you... you fruitcake!" Dottie retorted
"You may have pulled the wool over the eyes of these slow on 
the uptake Quaker neighbors of yours~
but I know what gives ~ in this... this flophouse~
love shack you've got going here~
roommates ~ my foot!"

"Now Dottie," John said, trying to calm her down.

"Begone, before somebody drops a house on you!" Jack added.

Dottie's mouth opened ~ as if to reply, but at that point 
Ophelia broke into a full bark, 
as if to emphasize the feelings of the three.

Dottie quickly got into her car ~ glancing up at the sky~
as if there was a distinct possibility that someone might
drop a house on her.

She peeled away with the same screeching of tires that brought her to them.

"You had to make that Dorothy comment didn't you?"
John said to Jack wearily.

"It was actually Glinda, the good witch who said that." 
Jack replied winking at Daphne.

Daphne smiled, and thought to herself, I have met someone 
who will be a life long friend.
But, what she said out loud, as Dottie's car careened around 
the corner and out of sight, was~
"And such a smell of sulphur!"

Which brought wide smiles to both her companions faces.

Suddenly Alice Fuller came walking around Matilda.
"You must be Miss Dalrymple," she said.
" I have been looking for you, perhaps we can take your car
up to the house ~ I have left mine there."

Jack and John would loved to have come along, 
but as John reminded Jack- 
"We have tickets for the opening of Man of La Mancha tonight!"

They gave their regrets and waved good bye to their new friends.

Daphne,Ophelia and Alice Fuller drove in Matilda, 
up to what had been the 
main driveway to the Skattergood house.

Know since 1792 as "West Acres Farm."

"Oh my," was all Daphne could say.

"Yes dear, I know." Alice offered 
"It has seen much better days."

"I'll take it." 
Daphne said quietly.
And Ophelia softly purred, as only she could do.

Will the unhappiness of the past be left there?


  1. ROTFL! The story took a different twist than I was expecting, but I'm hooked! Can't wait to see what she does with the house, hopefully without the decorating advice of her neighbors... Looking forward to the next installment!

  2. Really funny! Totally has me hooked! More, more, more, please! xo Jennifer

  3. OH, I am enjoying this!!! I LOVE a great Saga told with Wit and charm!!!! And your Characters are Wonderful ... not to mention their Accessories!!! What a Great series of Vignettes and Wonderful Properties!!!! I would buy that Old Place in a Heartbeat!!! You have me Hooked.... I can't wait for more.... I LOVE EVERY single bit!!!

  4. Hello Philip,
    I'm really enjoying the story you's better then anything on tv! I thinks it's such a wonderfulw ay to showcase your incredible miniatures. You did such a good job at making the houses look like odl homes being renovated or in disrepair. your aging is wonderful!
    I can't wait to read more...I'm hooked!
    Big hug,

  5. Sigh, I want more, don't leave me hanging! I love, love, love your blog......More, more!

  6. Thank you all for your interest and kind comments, so sorry for the delay in responding- it is annoying when things like work get
    in the way of our true passions! I am extremely fortunate to have a profession I love- but as with every job there are frustrations.
    I have found sometimes in appointments that my mind wanders back to this world... the complete story is already there in my mind...
    but how will things be revealed?

    Giac, Thank you for the compliment on my "aging" of the houses. I wish I could take the credit- but they are old houses I have found in my
    constant searching through antique shops- one advantage of my profession. It is difficult sometimes if I have a client with me- if I have spotted
    some wonderful house in the corner- yet I need to pretend to be completely focused on the search for what ever brought us there to begin with.

    Weaving these houses into the story has given me the push I needed to get on with their restorations. It is hard though- sometimes, as with real
    houses- you do not want to lose the very charm that brought you to them to begin with.

    Thank you all again,