As our family moved from place to place while my husband was in active ministry, we collected memories of all the parsonages in which we got to raise our family. Some houses were better than others, but there was one standout that we still talk about. I will keep the location anonymous, of course.
This house, as were all of our parsonages, was set in a rural area. The outside was white asbestos, but had gotten moldy through the years, so little Matthew told friends we were moving to a “green and white house.” There was a freestanding garage with a dirt floor next to the house, but after we found out the previous pastor had quartered his horse in there, we decided to pass. Such a waste of good fertilizer, though.
The previous pastor (a bachelor) had decided he wanted a wood-burning stove in the living room, so he bore a hole in the ceiling, stuck the pipe up through there, put sand in the middle of the room, and placed his stove right there, on top of a box filled with bricks with sand sprinkled over them. When he moved out, he took the stove with him, but the hole in the ceiling had been thoughtfully taken care of by a green trash bag which hung several inches from the ceiling down into the room. The wall-to-wall carpet would get literally wet when it rained. The carpet where the wood-burning stove had been always smelled like urine. The mildew was so bad, one of our friends (another pastor’s wife) couldn’t ever come visit because of her allergies.
The pastor’s office had some unidentifiable brown stain on the wall. It looked as if something had been thrown at it and then dripped down in all directions. We decided from the looks of it, it was either a cup of coffee thrown at the wall or tobacco spit. To the right of the stain, there was a terrarium left by the former pastor with a snake skeleton still occupying the inside.
The bedroom adjacent to the little office, someone told us, had been redecorated during the ‘70s when the inhabitants had been a little “high.” That might explain why there was one kind of wallpaper on one wall, another on another wall, and the other two walls were painted, each a different color.
In our bedroom, the bed was tied together with a coat hanger.
I saved the best for last: In the bathroom, every time we flushed the toilet, raw sewage came up into the bathtub.
We met some wonderful people in the church when we lived there. But that parsonage was certainly an experience, and will live forever in the annals of our family as the worst house we ever lived in.