First Meeting with Hoarder Bill

Before I begin this post, I want to thank all of you who are following my blog. I am slightly overwhelmed at the moment with the fact that still to this day, nine months later, we are still removing Bill’s junk out of the house and from the yard. We now have the house gutted down to bare studs, but let me pick up where I left off yesterday–with meeting Bill at Brick House 319 for the first time last June.

As John and I huddled over Bill’s “command station,” we chatted for about an hour and a half. Bill was nice, easy going and affable. Of course, everything surrounding us were things from the past, things that brought back memories, when the world was different. (I’m 47 and my husband is 54.) In one glance, we saw old transistor radios, CB radios, Betamax machines, a 1960s console B &W TV with about 50 VCRs from the 80s stacked on top, a wall of boxes and stacks of old books. Albums of movie soundtracks–Grease, Footloose, Fame and so on. It was impossible to imagine or envision the layout of the house. Since we were in a split-level, of course, we had a general idea of the layout, but still it was hard to even believe we were actually standing in a house.

We hit it off with Bill right away. We liked talking about old movies, old TV shows, and what life was like before all of the technology of today–when life was simpler and private.

IMGP2126Off my right shoulder and behind me was the corner shelf in the kitchen with the cans from the early 90’s, an old fan caked in dust hung above and next to it an exposed light bulb. With the exception of the small window in the kitchen housing the A/C unit, all windows in the house were completely blocked obstructing any light from reaching in.

IMG_20141117_135426202Here’s a close-up of Bill’s command station. This is where he sat; there was only enough floor space for his chair and for us to stand shoulder to shoulder.

Bill’s career was working in electronics and at small electronic companies as well as a large company in the 1960s. His hobby was ham radios. He lived, ate and breathed all things electronics. Unbeknownst to us at this point, there were about a thousand vacuum tubes in the basement.

IMG_20141117_135456826Here is a  floor to ceiling bookshelf to the left of the command station filled with albums so tightly packed that it was difficult to pull one out. I took this photo about 2 months after the initial meeting, when John clawed a path through obsolete objects and junk exposing the records. None of this could be seen from the time we first entered the house.

After talking with Bill, I began getting claustrophobic in the stagnant and stifling air, so I said was going to step outside (omitting the part that I needed FRESH AIR).

I decided to explore the back yard. It’s a 1/2 acre property and the back yard is deep and thick with foliage. The trees and foliage was Bill’s way of shrouding his outdoor hoarding in secrecy from neighbors.

IMGP2249At the back of the house and to the left was something covered with a huge green tarp. On top were sheets of plastic roofing material anchored with 2x4s. It reminded me of what you would see in a slum in Rio or in India…some make shift tent-like house. To the right of this slum-like structure was a hideous and shoddy-looking addition sans windows (of course). On top of the roof were rolls and rolls of tar paper, a satellite antenna and other random objects. Surrounding both structures were plastic bins and objects covered under tarps; I was afraid to peek under one of the tarps–something could jump out at me. This environment was every critter’s dream.

I wondered where the gas meter was and how the meter man took readings? Just on the other side of the green tarp area,  Bill and John spoke inside.

IMGP2246Look far in the back of this photo. This is how I saw it…I squinted, thinking, “What on earth is that.” I couldn’t figure it out until I started walking through the yard covered in pachysandra.

Stay tuned…



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