A message left 19 years ago on a wall behind some wainscoting offers a glimpse at what life was like in John Buckley’s house before he lived there.
In the midst of several frustrating home improvement projects, the Crystal Lake man was painstakingly removing the wainscoting when he discovered a note written in pen by a girl who was 13 years old at the time.
“Once I read it, it got rid of the frustration,” he said. “It was, ‘awww.’ ”
And now he and his family, wife, Gail, and daughters, Jacquelyn and Lauren, would love to let whoever wrote it know it’s still there. Perhaps it’ll put a smile on her face when she thinks back on those days, they say.
She’d be 32 years old now. She might not even remember writing it at all.
The message includes her full name, but it’s been left out because the family’s been unable to reach her so far. Her first name is Monica.
Here’s what she wrote:
“The year is 1993 and I am 13 years old. Clinton just got elected. There are no trees in the back yard. I am very hurt you chose to take this beautiful wood down because it looks wonderful. Da Bulls pro basketball team have won two championships behind Michael Jordan. My favorite drink is Coke. My favorite shoe is Nike. My favorite TV shows are “Fresh Prince,” and “Cheers.” My favorite sports are volleyball, softball, and basketball. I play Sky-high for volleyball. I go to Lundahl Junior High School but I will go to South High School next year. I hope you like my house and will consider replacing the wood paneling.”
It’s a memory for her, said Buckley, who compared it to the time he and his wife left their names in some freshly poured concrete on a sidewalk when they were newly married years ago.
“Shhhh,” Gail said with a laugh as he described the location.
“It’s so faded now,” John said. “We have to point it out to people.”
Gail remembers writing something with her sister growing up in a closet where their mom couldn’t see it. The two left their names and drawings to remember them by.
In the midst of often negative news, John said, he just thought it’d be nice to pass along more of a “feel-good story.”
And his daughter, Jacquelyn, is also 13 years old and has played volleyball for Sky-high.
When the family replaced the flooring in the same room, she left the family’s name and date underneath the new wood floor. So in a way, history is repeating itself.
“I just thought it was kind of cool that she would leave something like that,” Jacquelyn said of what has become known as the house’s little time capsule.
“She probably just did it as a whim,” John said. “Now it’s going to be a memory for her, a reflection of who she was.”
And hopefully, if they reach her, she’ll forgive the family for going against her wishes and taking down the wainscoting.