The Mr. Chaume shack

The Mr. Chaume shack

The Mr. Chaume shack

The unchanged house for the last century

Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu (Quebec), Canada

This is the story of Mr. Chaume and his house.  A house that was sold in the 1970s to my stepfather but the notarial act stipulated that Mr. Chaume,the seller, could stay in the house for free until his death. In the meantime, the buyer would not be able to visit his new house without the consent of the seller. Well, I must say that the interest of the property was more geared toward agricultural land (several acres) and not the house that already in the 70s, had several shortcomings that will never be corrected.

Because after all, Mr. Chaume wasn't the kind of man who have a lot of money... Maybe a lot of empty bottle of beer, but definitely not a billionaire. For the rest, it was voluntary simplicity. Electricity for few lights and an old fidge, a stove to heat the whole house, no running water (a good old surface well and a toilet at the back of the house, a no more working water pump in the kitchen and no phone in the house. He had, however, spittoons and chamber pots.

In fact, it was a house straight out of the nineteenth century. Even if all its neighbors have water, Mr. Chaume make the choice many years ago to refuse to pay the few bucks needed to be connected. At the same time and for the same reason, he had also ojected to the city who offer him to move back the house who was dangerously close to the road. It therefore obliged to condemn every winter the windows on the street side to avoid him snowplow that broke his windows with snow.

Born and died in the same house

It's few days before christmas 2010 that Mr. Chaume died. Even if members of his family have visited him occasionally, he died alone in his house, at 88 years old.

When we entered the house, I had a feeling of desolation. Compared to many abandoned houses that I had visited, this one was so dirty, so miserable that I feel pity for the old man. Nobody can live in all that dust and dirt. Mouse traps were placed in every corner, the kitchen was stinking and sky was visible from the roof of the second floor.

By the way, quick anecdote. During our visit, a policeman came to talk to my stepfather. At first, there was talk of some details on the death of Mr. Chaume, but the discussion quickly turned on another subject: the dairy. At the back of the house, there was an old dairy (little place to keep the daily milk). True witness of the past (it should be as old as the old man), the policeman wanted to know if it was for sale because he was ready to buy it, disassemble and rebuild it at home.

He left empty-handed.

The rumor of hidden money

Old hermit generally mean: hidden money somewhere. Well no, no money was discovered behind a wall in an old jar or under the floor... And it's not because we didn't searched!

And today?

Now demolished, the old Mr. Chaume's house gave way to a new... country style house. The land has been sold and the new owners have built a large yellow and white house. There is still the farm buildings, but I can't say whether they will be retained or possibly demolished.

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