I live on a quiet little suburban street in Vancouver, Washington. It’s a nice street lined with ranch style homes circa 1970. We live a block away from a baseball park, softball fields, and running trails lined by woods. Most of the homes on our street our retired couples and young families. We’re somewhere in the middle.
There was once a house for sale five houses away from us. It’s another nice little ranch home. It was for sale for quite a while—I think it was a bank foreclosure. Then one day, the sign went down and people appeared. A couple actually, probably in their late forties or early fifties.
I think they may have moved some furniture in, but not much. The woman planted some annuals around the mailbox.
And then they disappeared. The people, not the flowers. We never saw them. Never saw any signs of them. No lights. No cars. No garbage.
But, just when we thought the house was going to be repossessed another time, one of the couple would show up. A blue car in the driveway. The recycling bin at the street.
But then weeks would go by and nothing. Kristen was the first one to speculate. “Mom,” she said quite seriously. “I think that house might be a grow house.” Me, being me, answered, “What's a grow house?”
See, Kristen watched Weeds. I did not. So, she knew all the signs of a grow house. The dark curtains in the window, the blinds always down. The boarded-up patio—yes, they have board barriers surrounding their patio.Look closely in the picture to your left.
Each time I pass the house—several times a day sometimes as it is on the way to the main road—I look for signs of life. At Thanksgiving someone hung a wreath on the door. In early December they put up Christmas lights but only turned them on once or twice. “Why go to all that trouble and not put them on a timer?” Kristen wanted to know. Why put them up at all, I wanted to know.
I personally think it might be a “tryst” house. That the couple is stuck in loveless marriages and can only get away at random times to place “home” with each other.
Or maybe that they have children who can’t go out in the sunlight.
Or maybe, Kristen’s right, it’s a grow house. Whatever it is, it’s sure provided us with ample speculation and isn’t that where all good stories begin?