I’m not sure how old this is, probably sometime between 1934 and the 1940’s. I found this while crawling under my house, which was built in 1934. Crawling under the house? Yes. A few years back we noticed a terrible smell in our house. After a few days of being completely repulsed by the growing odor, I decided to take action, and crawled under my old pier and beam foundation to inspect.
On one side of the house there’s a 4′ crawl space and the other, maybe 1′. And as my luck had in store for me, the stink was coming from the 1′ side. After literally hours of breathing dust that had not been bothered for 76 years, I found the problem, a 30 lb raccoon rotting away and no way to reach it. So, with my not-to-quit mentality I came up with a plan. I’ll crawl over and under the air conditioning ductwork to get within a garden rack distance, and drag the critter within reach and then push it into a garbage bag. Option 2, let it rot and dry up, and be miserable for weeks to come. Needless to say, I went with the first plan.
Most people would have worn a mask of some sort over their face to keep from breathing too much dust and to help with the order, but not me. I decided that wouldn’t be necessary. After 2 hours of maneuvering air ducts and breathing dust, I got in position, hooked the rack and started to drag it toward me. It was covered in more maggots than I had ever seen, and so foul in odor I had to retreat. Then panic set in, I couldn’t remember how to get out of the maze of ductwork. As I backed out on my belly, coughing, eyes watering, and realized I wasn’t coming back in if I got out of this alive, so I went for it again.
Turning around I made a last ditch effort to get this critter in the garbage bag, and at last with my trusty rack had my way. Now, all I had to do is get out. Thoughts went through my head of a 911 call to extract me from the house. Not only would that be embarrassing, I could die before someone found me. My kids were gone to camp, my wife and I were divorced and she hadn’t been around for years and my dogs thought I was having fun under there.
Determined and nauseous, I finally found a way out, dragging my rack and garbage bag the entire time. Upon my exit, I was greeted with fresh air in such generous fashion it made me vomit for 15 minutes straight.
But during my journey to the underworld, I also, collected treasures, this “Murine for the Eyes” bottle and a couple of toys that appeared to be from the 1950’s. When I saw the silk-screened type style on the bottle, I thought I had hit the mother load. Hand drawn type, I can get enough of it. The toys were pretty cool too.
Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Maybe, if there was a treasure in store for me.