Spring Cleaning

When was the last time you woke up excited to clean out a basement?

“You never know what you are going to discover,” said Dr. Timothy J. Standring, exhibition curator at DAM, otherwise known as the Denver Art Museum. (More organized than mine, even so … ) It was he who found, underneath layers of grime and discolored varnish, a Giovanni Antonio Canal, or better known, a Canaletto masterpiece. It was there all along. (Canaletto was born in Venice, October 28, 1697.)

With that bit of encouragement, I opened the door to my basement. Doubtful I could even find the box with my daughter’s artwork, I closed the door and came upstairs. Dr. Standring piqued my curiosity about potential treasure … elsewhere. What could I discover in the basements of others, especially anything that might aid research for my books.

Instead of my basement, I scoured the Internet.

The first thing I found, I am not the only one to toss things into the basement without regard for their value. Someone in the Almuñécar (southern Spain, and my newest vacation dreamland) Health Center discovered objects of inestimable worth collected in crates stored next to garbage.

The treasure hunt continued.

The Koshare Indian Museum takes basement storage to a new level (pun not intended!). They’ve opened two large viewing windows into a section of their underground storage unit so guest can peek at over one hundred pieces of Southwest Indian pottery. Plus, they got really creative with ancient pottery purchased long ago for about one dollar per pot; these have holes drilled into them and are being used as lampshades. Even with the holes, they’re worth more than anything I could find in my basement.

What else?

Archeologists in Moscow find a 16th century basement (important because it’s from the second Assumption Cathedral), human skeletons littered Benjamin Franklin’s basement (don’t jump to conclusions–they were probably autopsy remains–autopsies were illegal until the eighteenth century, and these skeletons were most likely already in residence by the time Mr. Franklin moved in), a stolen 16th century tapestry resurfaced in Houston (well, it could have been stored in a basement), but then I found a website that has among its medieval Spanish decor pages, an inspirational idea to dress up any basement on the cheap. It’s definitely cool and worth the time to click here.

X marks the spot.

Spring cleaning? Not today. I’ve got my marker and I’m headed for the basement.


2 Responses to “Spring Cleaning”

  1. S.J. Abraham

    Have you been to Puerto Rico? It’s forts and a number of other buildings are some of the oldest Spanish buildings in the New World. It was also the main way point for any Spanish ship coming to the new world.

    • Amy Nowak

      Puerto Rico is a place I hope to visit for all the reasons you mention and more: roast suckling pig, mashed plantains, pigeon peas (grain legumes) … it’s the island life for me!


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