Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You Bought What??

The college where I work part-time picks up property on an as-available basis. A house comes on the market, usually the owner will have made an arrangement for us to buy it. Or, if the owner is unreasonable, we can wait; colleges plan far into the future, while people would like their money fairly soon. Bit by bit, we have formed a campus with few gaps.

One woman wanted to sell and the price was right, so now it's ours. It lay vacant for several months until we had an immediate need to move our Buildings and Grounds Office in there and the maintenance people started poking around. It needs work, badly. Down in the cellar was an old, old cash register, a bar, shelving and other doo-dads of a period gone by. A specific period.

We had bought a speakeasy.

* * *

A few years ago, we bought some ramshackle row houses across Main Street, going away from the college. We needed the space for parking and they were just this side of being condemned anyway. We gave the occupants many months' notice that their rental would not be renewed. One of the last to go, we noted, had none of the traditional household furniture. No tv, tables, dressers, kitchen things. Just a bunch of beds.

We had bought a whorehouse.

* * *

Wilkes-Barre has had, and continues to have, quite a history. Right on Public Square was Mal's Mens Shop, where all the clothing on display had a layer of dust and nothing was for sale. The back room, clearly visible, had a table loaded with phones and you could bet on the nags anytime you wanted. A record store, across the street, had very few records, but the proprietor was dressed rather nattily for someone who did little, if any, business. A restaurant across the street from us was closed at night, but one could enter with a special knock; you were safe, because cops were there, lawyers were there and the local magistrate took the money to the bank the next day.

Our college, too, has its own history: Speakeasy, bordello and who knows what's next.

We're buying what??

Everybody has a story
Local obituary the other day: Mrs. Bartha Miller, 87, "has rejoined her husband [in heaven] so he can give her his customary and affectionate pat on the behind."


Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Last year a fellow around here bought a house and upon inspecting it after theacquisition hediscovered a garbage bag hidden in the space under the roof, not the attic. In it was one hundred grand.

Great you might say, BUT the previous owner is a member of the Hell's Angels and doing time for trafficking. The house was confiscated and then re-sold after he was caught and sentenced.

What would you do in such a case?

May 05, 2006 6:03 AM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

(a) Talk to the real estate agent *at* City Hall where the records are kept.
(b) Get a lawyer
(c) Write to Dear Abby
(d) Make a stink on tv

May 05, 2006 10:28 AM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

I'm glad you did not include among your options to turn the garbage bag containing $100K in greenbacks over to the police. This guy did it tho. DUHH.

I'd have kept it in the attic, and shut up. If the guy came around looking for it after his prison time, ok...if not it would go into my retirement fund.

May 07, 2006 6:43 AM  

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