Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Theory About How The Skull Got There

Okay, here's the last installment of the skull in the attic story. The previous owner of our house was a dentist--one of the old school dentists who never used Novocaine. I've heard horror stories of his dentistry from the long-time Tooele residents. Anyway, Doc, as he was called, was on the town's Search and Rescue team. He had an old Jeep that he would get in and go exploring all over Tooele county by himself, whenever he had some free time away from torturing people (that is, working on their teeth).

My theory is as follows:

Doc was out one day, driving in a remote area of Tooele County. From a distance, he sees something that catches his interest. It appears to be a shallow cave in an outcropping of rocks. He drives as close as he can to the site, then gets out and proceeds on foot. Upon reaching the cave, he peers in. He is a big man, and can't squeeze himself into the narrow opening. The cave is dark, but not very deep and he sees something back inside. Looking around, Doc breaks a limb off of a dead tree. He sticks the branch into the opening and tries to sweep out what he can only dimly see. Much to his surprise, what rolls to the front of the cave is a human skull!

Doc looks over the skull carefully. The jawbone is missing, but it is surprisingly well preserved. It has skin tissue and hair still attached, and a tooth! Ah, thinks Doc, if only I'd gotten to this poor fellow sooner, maybe I could have saved the rest of his teeth. He chuckles to himself. What a fine old relic, he thinks. I think I'll take this home and show my wife. We can add it to our collection of oddities.

Doc wraps the skull in an old burlap sack he keeps in the back of his Jeep for just such an occasion, and sets it gently down next to the wheel well cover. He has gone quite far from home, he realizes, and by the time he gets there it will be dark and the children will be asleep. Maybe that's for the best, thinks Doc, I wouldn't want to scare them.

By the time Doc arrives at his home, it is dark. He lets himself in through the back door. His wife is sitting in the living room reading.

"Look what I found out in the desert!" he says, holding up the burlap sack with the skull inside.

"You found an old burlap bag?" his wife asks.

"No. Look." He gently pulls the skull out of the bag and presents it to his wife, dropping the bag to the floor.

"Ugh! That's horrible," says his wife, "Where in the world did you get it?"

"I found it in an old cave," says Doc, "I think it's an Indian skull."

Doc's wife backs away from the skull, her eyes wide and lips drawn tight against her teeth. She knows there's only one way to handle this situation.

"Doc, you've got to get rid of it. I don't want the children to see that horrible thing, and I'm not even sure if it's legal to have it in the house."

Doc is very disappointed in his wife's reaction, but he can see the wisdom in what she says.

"All right, Dear," he says, "I will put this skull somewhere where the children will never find it. In fact, nobody ever need know that we even have it. You and I are the only ones who know about it."

Doc takes the skull and carefully climbs the narrow, steep stairs to the attic. He surveys the attic, thinking about where the best place would be to hide it. When the weather is mild, the children come up here to play, he thinks. It will have to be somewhere that they won't accidentally discover it. His gaze stops on the new cupboards he and his son built last spring. Yes, that might work, he thinks. Doc walks over to the furthest cupboard from the stairwell, up near the front of the house, just on the other side of the chimney. He opens the cupboard door and puts the skull inside. That's not going to be good enough, thinks Doc, All they'd have to do is open the cupboard and they'd see it. He remembers the triangular space under the slope of the attic roof, which he has closed off with the back of the cupboard. If he could pry one of the boards loose and cut it in just the right place, that would be the perfect place to hide the skull.

The next day, Doc leaves the office early, arriving home before the children come home from school. He goes to the garage and gets his hand drill and a bow saw. Then he grabs some nails and a hammer. Thirty minutes later, Doc climbs down the attic stairs, sweating from the exertion and the heat in the attic.

"Okay, Dear," he says, "That old skull is in a place nobody is going to find it. It wouldn't surprise me if it's still there when the millennium comes."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More On the Skull in the Attic

The police were very kind to us. We were never treated as suspects, and they were good about updating us as they discovered more information about the skull. Here is what we learned:

The skull belonged to a native American female, who died in her early 20's. They estimated the age of the skull to be between 200 and 400 years old. Wherever it had originally been buried must have been warm and dry because the skull was very well preserved--basically mummified. It was suggested that perhaps it was in a cave.

The skull was shipped to Florida, where there is a lab where they do genetic testing to determine which native American tribe it belongs to. Once identified, the plan was to return it to that tribe for proper re-burial. That is the last we heard of the skull.

How this skull got in our attic remains a mystery to this day. I will post my very plausible theory on how it got there next time. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lehi City Park Boutique

Just a heads up. I'm going to be at a boutique in Lehi at Wines Park (500 N 100 E) Wednesday afternoon/evening and all day Thursday. Come see me and all the cute stuff I make!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Skull in the Attic

June 23, 2008 found me resting on my bed, trying to get over a bad headache, most likely caused by the constant overhead noise the roofers had been making for days, taking off the 3 layers of old roof. We'd lived in the 98-year-old Tooele home for about 8 years, and February's big wind storm had finally ripped off enough shingles to inspire our homeowners insurance to buy us a new roof. First, though, the old roof had to come off. The bottom layer of roofing material was wood shakes, and beneath them were narrow slats, set about 3/4" apart.

My husband, Paul, came in where I was unsuccessfully trying to rest and said, with an odd look on his face, "They've found a skull in our attic."

I was not alarmed. The previous owner had been a dentist and had owned the home for some 64 years before we bought it. I thought the skull was probably some kind of dental school relic. I said as much to my husband.

"No," said Paul, "It has skin and hair on it, a tooth, and I think even an eyeball!"

"You're kidding," I said. It would not surprise me. One of the things that had attracted me to my husband in the first place was his humor.

"No, I'm not," he said, "Wanna come see it?"

"Yeah." Of course I did. I've never been squeamish and in spite of having a headache, I wanted to see this skull for myself.

I followed Paul outside and around the house to where the roofers had leaned a tall ladder against the side of our house. I climbed the ladder and peered between the slats. It was a bright, sunny day, and the area under the slats was dim, but sure enough, I could see the skull in there. It was resting amid debris from the roof demolition, on top of fluffy gray insulation material. Its lower jaw was missing, as were all but one of its teeth. The way the skin had shrunken around the eye sockets made it look like a laughing Asian man. Strands of black hair still clung to the sides and back of the skull.

The roofers were all on their cell phones, making various calls, one of which was to the police. The next few days were a police and media fiasco, but that's another story.

How did the skull get in the attic? It's anybody's guess, really. The police contacted surviving family members; the children of the old dentist. Nobody had any idea of the skull's existence. And, the skull was hidden so that it could not be detected from inside the attic. Cupboards lined the sides of the attic, with walls in the back that closed off a triangular shaped space where the slope of the roof met the eaves. The skull had been placed in that small, triangular space. The only way it would ever have been discovered was to have the roof taken completely off, or the cupboards demolished.

I have my theory of how and why the skull ended up in our attic, but I want to hear your creative ideas. I will post later what we learned about the skull and my theory about how it got there.

So, let's hear some feedback. How would a skull like this get into our attic?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Daughter, a Missionary

"I'm going on a mission,"
She said
And I had something of a
'Father of the Bride' moment.
How swiftly the time
Has gone.

I didn't worry too much
About her announcement.
She is young and cute
And sweet and vivacious.
I thought
Surely she would be
Snatched up
By some handsome prince
And carried off
Into the sunset.

I've seen it all before
Even after the call--
The girl falls in love
And goes to the altar
Instead of
The MTC.

Yet, here we are
Just a week away
From our drive to Provo
Where we will pull up to the curb
In front of
The MTC.

She will be a good missionary.
I wish I
Could go with her,
Not because
I will miss her,
(Though I will)
And not because
She needs me
(She does not).

I want to go
Because I have gone.
I was once
Where she is now.
I know a little
Of the journey she will take,
And of the joy,
Oh, the joy,
That makes it all
More than worth it.

But, I had my turn
And I'm on the other side
Of the fence now.
I'll stay home.
I'll write letters.
I'll pray every day
For her success.
That will be my mission
This time around.

Some future day,
I may get
A second chance
With my best companion.
And together
We will relive
The joy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kids' Imagination as Inspiration - Contest!

My kids, especially the youngest two, have great imaginations. I like to listen in on their imaginative play. Yesterday we went to the zoo and on the drive there, my youngest two kids and a cousin were making up this scenario where, when characters ate certain things, they exhibited unusual traits. For example, when they ate a particular food, it made them turn a certain color (hopefully not blue from asphyxiation). My author's brain got going on that idea. Maybe instead of a certain color, the eater could gain a certain strength or skill or magical trait.

Today the same two kids came home from swimming at a neighbor's house. They were talking about games they'd played at the pool. I caught the word, "quarter-breed." I had to ask them what that meant. I was told that when someone is 3/4 human and 1/4 mermaid, for example, they were a quarter-breed. Or, they could be 3/4 mermaid and 1/4 human. Hmm, I thought. That has possibilities....

So, I thought I'd run a little contest. Using these two ideas, post a reply giving a short idea for a book. You can use one of the ideas or both of the ideas. You can come up with one book or two books. Your choice. After a week, I will choose the idea I like best and award that person a hand-knitted and felted cell phone cozy, pictured below (Cell phone not included).

So, put on your best creative thinking hats and give me your best story ideas!