The Plaque We Found Inside the Wall

Many people who were not fighting for their lives during the pandemic spent their time remodeling their homes. Just do a search on “home remodeling during the pandemic” and you’ll see what I mean. People had more time, motivation, and money to remodel since they couldn’t travel.

Russ and I were no exception. We decided to remodel our kitchen, a dark brown dungeon that was probably last remodeled in the mid-1980s. We didn’t have much room to work with, so we didn’t enlarge its footprint — we simply brought it into the current century by replacing the cabinets, countertop, sink, and backsplash. We also painted a few window frames.

It looks marvelous, I must say. We went for a modern farmhouse look, and I think we succeeded. However, I’m not going to post any photos because I feel weird about having you all know what my kitchen looks like.

What I will post a photo of is something mysterious we found inside one of the kitchen walls. One of our last jobs involved removing some old Z-brick tile (the stuff that looks like white bricks) on a furnace chimney that runs through the kitchen and retiling it with stone. We hired someone to do the work for us.

When we came back home from a walk, the tile guy said he had something he wanted to show us. He’d found it in the wall surrounding the chimney. He held up a dusty yellowing wooden plaque. It featured paper with burnt edges – a technique popular in the 1970s, with a picture and prayer associated with St. Francis of Assisi.

We weren’t quite sure what to make of this find. We aren’t Catholic or particularly religious. Russ, for one, was disappointed they didn’t find a hoard of gold instead!

After cleaning the plaque and pondering on it for a while, we decided it would not go back inside the wall. But we wouldn’t throw it out, either. That would seem a shame since it’s part of the history of the house. Instead, on the back of it, we wrote in sharpie marker when and where the plaque was found along with our names. We plan to hang it up in the attic so that it will remain with the house – it will be hidden, but not too hidden.

I wonder how many others who remodeled their homes this past year found unexpected treasures in their walls?

4 thoughts on “The Plaque We Found Inside the Wall

  1. What an interesting story! It’s also interesting that the plaque was found on the inside of the walls. I wonder what the people who placed it there were thinking. I think you did a neat thing by writing on the back, documenting its history.

    • Thank you, Book Club Mom! I expect the people who placed the plaque in the wall saw it as some sort of a blessing for the house. It’s been a good home for me for 20-plus years, so although I am not superstitious, I think it should stay with the house.

  2. Gold would have been nice! But as you replied to a comment, maybe it was meant as a blessing for the house and it has been a good house for you. I like that you will leave it with the house in the attic. I tend to feel that a house has a bit of a soul – ok I’m a romantic.

    We moved into our home 44 years ago when it was brand new. When we are gone, I wonder if a new family will wonder what the previous owners were like. And what will they make of the stuff we leave in the attic? We have thought about moving a few times but never did. We jokingly say the house won’t let us go! Enough silly confessions, Marie! Happy Summer Solstice!

    • Hi Jo Nell. I love your thought about the house not letting you go. Sometimes places end up owning you instead of the other way around, ha ha. One interesting thing I discovered while working on this post is that St. Francis of Assisi didn’t actually write the prayer on our plaque. According to Wikipedia, historians think one of his compatriots in Assisi wrote it and it’s been misattributed to St. Francis for at least a century. Oh well, it’s still a nice prayer, as far as prayers go. Happy Solstice to you and yours!

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