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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Untold stories behind the walls

After uncovering old newspaper pages during some remodeling, I asked readers what they have found behind the walls in their own homes.

Here is a sampling of the answers.

During some remodeling years ago, Gabi Tilley discovered a photo behind a built-in bookcase. It showed people she assumes were long-ago residents of her family’s 1903 Spokane house. “It was kind of neat.”

So before Gabi and her family moved to a new place, they put a signed, dated photo of themselves behind some about-to-be-installed cabinets.

Carol Baxter shared this. “I, too, found some old newspapers at my home on the South Hill when I first moved here. Don’t you wonder what has transpired in the lives of the people from the articles? I wonder where they are now.”

When Karen Mobley moved to Spokane, she lived in a house on the lower South Hill. “In the wall in the the kitchen I found a treasure trove of beautifully penned love letters, birthday cards and valentines. In the bathroom, in the wall above the heater, the craziest array of porn from the pre-WWII era. I was always curious if these were stashed by the same person … It seems to me like it could be the perfect setup for a short story.”

Ann Martin had a slightly different answer. “We were in the midst of framing our house on May 18, 1980. Wood studs all in place, no drywall. By May 19, approximately 3 to 5 inches of (Mount St. Helens) ash filled every crevice and cavity in the place. We have believed it has given us great insulation through the years. Either that, or someday we’ll have a life-threatening health crisis due to living with ash for too many years.”

Reacting to a crushing handshake: Several readers said they respond by squeezing right back.

“Many guys think that they can measure one’s manliness by their response to a vise-grip handshake,” said Don Dachnea.

Others said a limp, dead-fish handshake is even worse.

“Yuck,” wrote Ann Carlin.

But Susan Cairy said arthritis in her hands makes being on the receiving end of a crushing handshake quite painful. She prefers a firm yet gentle grip.

“I realize that’s a fine line.”

Today’s Slice question: As children, my brother would, on occasion, chase my shrieking sister with a piece of moldy food outstretched. He knew she had a phobia about mold on oranges, bread or whatever.

What was your family’s equivalent of that sibling dynamic?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Diana Churchill’s grandparents spoke Finnish at home.

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