Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Escape From the Kids - Hunker in the Bunker, Secret Rooms & The Winchester House

Apparently there’s this guy in BC who built himself a bunker. And no, it's not the marijuana bunker.

Most bunkers are holes in the ground where food and water and ammunition are stored. I always think of that Twilight Zone episode where the guy and his family holes up in a bunker and threatens to shoot the neighbors who are trying to get in. I mix that up with the story of the guy and his friend who are holed up in a bunker not realizing they’re underneath a nuclear dome.

And then there’s the movie of the family who are living in one for twenty years with their kid not knowing that life goes on as before up top. Now there was a bunker for you. The guy had his own supermarket.

And this is like the bunker in BC. This man hasn’t built a bunker, he’s built a house under his house. There are secret passages and doors that go nowhere and four stories. Yep, four stories of this place.

I like it.

It’s the secret passages and fake doors that have got me. I grew up reading girls adventure stories. There were always secret passageways and hidden rooms in them. I would go around whatever house I lived in searching for a hidden room or passageway. If Nancy Drew could find them, then why couldn’t I?

I never found one.

I searched whatever yard we had. Surely there would be a tunnel somewhere. Those English kids in Enid Blyton books who had a parrot that carried on conversations and parents who would let them sail around the world without adult supervision, always found tunnels.

I never found one.

I went into forests hoping to stumble across a cave somewhere. One of those caves that go on forever and smugglers used to hide their booty. After all, I lived on an island, there was bound to be some kind of smugglers cave somewhere filled with treasure chests of jewels and coins.

I never found one.

I’ve always wanted to live in a castle. There was bound to be secret passageways and rooms, unfound for generations that I could discover where some poor woman had died of a broken heart, and her hair could still be found in the brush on her dressing table beside the dried rose that her lover had given to her before he was captured by pirates, never to return.

I can’t even find a castle, never mind a hidden room.

The Winchester House
I remember when I was little, seeing something on TV about the Winchester House. The Winchester widow was, lets say, not able to keep her six shooters straight, and felt guilty over the money she had from the sale of guns. She was also convinced that if she kept building she would never die, or something like that.
There's secret rooms a plenty. Stairs that go nowhere. Doors that open to nothing. It's a maze where no one has been able to completely count the rooms although they estimate 160. And that's after the earthquake that toppled the top three floors of the seven story structure. The floors were never rebuilt.
I want that house. Sure it's haunted but the kids would never find me there. But then with my sense of direction, I would never find my way out. I would be sentenced to wandering that place forever.

Still, it would be nice to have a hidden room, one that the kids don’t know about. I could have pens.

I could have pens and chocolate. It would have a doorway hidden behind someplace they would never go, like a cleaning cupboard, and I would hide there whenever they’re searching for me because they want me to settle an argument which they won’t listen to me about anyway.

There would be no phone in my secret room. I hate the phone. Have you ever noticed that just as your getting settled down to a project, most likely one that you haven’t wanted to do and have procrastinated about forever but you’ve finally got your self doing it, and you’re going along at a nice clip, the phone rings and you have to climb the stairs or come down from the tree, or fall off the roof, only to be greeted by someone who has a great deal for your long distance calls.

And then the kids come home and wonder why the phone has been smashed to pieces.

And then of course something distracts you and you never do get back to that project even though you’ve left the pieces of it all over the place. So now you’ve got a new project to procrastinate about.

Yep, I need a secret room. Now, where did I put that spade?


Cindy Beck, author said...

We must have read the same books as kids, because I was always hoping to stumble onto a secret passageway, too.

I'm thinking the Winchester Widow built all those goofy rooms and passageways to get away from the telephone. :)