86 Pine St., Harold’s house was incredible, or at least it was back when Harold’s mother Edolie was alive. I have never seen a thing like it before or since. To say that Edolie was a pack-rat and that the Wype clan were just not into the hygiene scene would be more than a clever understatement. I can try to describe the house, but will inevitably leave out important details that one could only believe if they were to walk into this den of filth. Back before recycling was even being considered, Edolie began saving newspapers. There were bails of newspapers stacked in some places eight feet high, all the way to the cracked and paint-peeled ceiling. There were broken appliances of every kind dating back to FDR’s first administration and perhaps beyond. There were stacks and piles of antique furniture that may have been valuable before having been spray-painted and covered with Charlie’s Angels stickers. There were boxes and trunks and loose piles of papers and clothing. Most of the rooms had paths winding through what seemed like canyon walls of junk that towered over the head, so that one could make their way to the one or two still-functioning objects in the room. Some rooms were completely filled with stuff that had been purchased by Edolie at rummage sales. These opportunistic buys that Edolie made were her passion. She loved stuff… She’d see a 3 string ukulele with scenes from a Hawaiian luau silk-screened on the front among a table of crap and offer the seller $5 for the whole table of goods. The goods would be transported by station wagon and pickup truck to the Wype compound where it was picked over, then stuffed into one of the “storage” rooms never to be seen again. These rooms were eventually filled floor to ceiling, and to open the door was to risk a landslide. The bathroom was one truly evil place. When they did wash, the Wypes had to do so in this unholiest of unholies. I cannot imagine how one could come out of this bathroom cleaner that when they went in. The noise level was distracting due to the mewling and hissing of several rabid cats which I will soon describe, and an emergency radio scanner at maximum volume. Privacy was also a problem because of the cats and because there was no doorknob, only the empty hole where the knob mechanism once was. The door was held closed by a rag that one jammed between the door and frame. Fly strips hung from light fixtures, and from the window shade pull. These fly strips looked as if they were hung several decades prior, and were it not for the sheer number of available flies, I thought it unlikely that a fly could find a free space to get stuck to the strip among his long-dead brethren. These fly cemeteries were not removed when they were full, but another was simply hung on top of the existing one. The toilet seat was cracked, and had been repaired with what looked like medical tape that may have held an eons worth of untold louse and filth. Beneath the sink was a cat box that overflowed onto and between the broken tiles on the floor. It seemed the cat box maintenance was similar to the fly strip methodology… the Wypes just kept poring more kitty litter on top of the existing mess in the hope that the previous layers would biodegrade, or somehow just go away. The stench was astonishing. There were several demon possessed cats tied by leashes to the toilet itself. This made for difficult bathroom visits. I was told that the younger Wype brothers would intentionally piss on the cats to keep them at bay. This practice was undoubtedly done to avoid the possibility of being scratched or bitten by these feral and disease ridden beasts, as a wound of this nature would be fatal. At the risk of overstating the conditions, I feel the need to paint an even more vivid image:
Picture yourself as a visitor to the Wype home, you have to use the bathroom. You enter and are immediately enfeebled and made lightheaded by the overpowering stink of cat urine. The possibility of losing consciousness is especially frightening because you fear you might fall into something life threatening. The scanner radio that sits atop the grime encrusted medicine chest is barking at top volume about a fire at the apple orchard – at least one dead, the radio transmission is interspersed with blasts of feedback and static. With one arm fully extended, you attempt to hold the door closed for privacy even though there is a large hole where the doorknob should be. kitty litter and various debris crunch between the soles of your shoes and the broken tiles on the floor. If you are male (god help you if you are female) you would be standing a few feet back of the toilet trying like hell to get it in the bowl while remaining an inch or two from the insane cat struggling at the end of it’s tether to deliver the fatal bite. You flush with your shoe, and do not wash your hands because you would then have to touch another object in the room, and would have to dry your hands on something that has absorbed the abominable atmosphere of the room. You then run outside and take a life giving breath, then immediately run home and shower vigorously.