History of Milford Bone: Extraordinary Architecture in the Southern Midwest
3. House the First
House the first was built in 1901, standing on the north edge of the Bone.
We know of it as Skeleton House, though others shall not call it such.
House the first was built for Mavis Reed and her family, her starry-eyed husband Glenn Joseph, and their invalid child Rae. The house has been inhabited by others that could maintain its eccentricities.
The story of House the first is long and complicated, as are all the houses on the Bone. People like to tell the story of the kittens born in the basement from no known mother feline, the ones that grew and grew until they walked away on two legs. Those folks will tell you they still patrol the grounds around the lake, mostly looking for small rodents. Some have even said they hunt humans, though none known to us have gone missing in the times since the kittens were born. Most think this is a fable, though, so we must dig deeper to understand the power of House the first.
Mavis was a skilled carpenter and often built things for her family. She crafted many tools for Rae who had troubles grabbing objects or sitting upright to read. She built telescopes and other devices so that Glenn Joseph might look into the stars. It is said that Mavis built most things in the houses of Milford Bone, having spent time with our Universal Friend. It does not escape me that our Universal Friend is thought by most to have died in the early 1800’s.
This is the way of Milford Bone, though, as the divine and spiritual do not often make rational sense. The horrid and weird are bedfellows with these attributes of our time and place, too.
In House the first one is likely to get lost, or have feelings of extreme distress and confusion, even while sitting still. The skeletons are those that reportedly control these feelings yet it is commonly understood that they are only acknowledging the feelings of the person deep within their bones, natural tendencies one has hidden, pretending to be above the consistent human nature of disorientation.
You may not see the skeletons but you will know they are present when you suddenly feel despondent.
House the first has a simple floor plan which makes this all the more confusing to anyone who steps inside. Mavis Reed removed all of the walls on all three floors, replacing them with giant beams that support the floors and ceilings. This was to ensure that her family did not get lost. Mavis and Glenn Joseph, most say, never got used to the feeling of bewilderment brought upon by the skeletons, but it has been said many times over that Rae, stuck inside for all of her life, never understood differently and welcomed the skeletons whenever they made themselves known. Rae didn’t even leave the house when both of her parents died in the late 1950’s, choosing to stay in House the first until she herself died in 1971.
House the first is distinct in that it is also said to have a mural that encompasses the three-level house, stretching from the first floor to the attic. The murals and artwork of each of the houses will be addressed later in this document in further detail. The mural in House the first is the largest of the four houses and it is on the interior four walls of the house, interrupted by the floors. Rae told me one time that it was a binding spell rather than a mural as most people had imagined it.
Other notable occupants of House the first were Benjamin Babinot, son of Jaques and Dortha Topinbee Babinot, and a woman named Jessica Young. Benjamin never married and it was the first time a single man had lived in the house. Jessica lived in the house quite a while and supposedly held communication with Rae, though I kind of think she was full of shit.
A side note, because houses are typically linked to the people who have lived in them:
Rae Reed kept extensive journals and wrote prose and poetry, some of which we still have documented.
I knew Rae well and we always pretended to be sisters when we were in each other’s company. Rae was treated poorly by many folks, the Reed family favoring strong females both in spirit and physical presence. I was certainly strong, and acted strong, to maintain my standing in our family.
Rae never married though often spoke of a young man named Harrie, a son of one of the farmers around the lake. Harrie and I would later marry after Rae passed on, I could not disappoint her as she lived.
We have quite a few journals of the Reed family, and some journals from others that lived in the houses. Some have been burned.
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