There is just something about attics. They are like the dusty forgotten warehouses of generations, the space that harbors scampering rats, and broken mementos.
I remember as a kid exploring an attic of a big old Appalachian house when I was being babysat by distant family.
I climbed the stairs, the scent of dusty dry wood and the visual of dust mites floating in the air through sunlight coming through vents.
By the time I got to the top of the stairs, I realized this gigantic space wasn't open. Instead, it was blocked with furnishings, knickknacks, many generation's worth.
As my mother was an artist and an historian, I spent a good deal of my childhood in dusty antique shops and the basement of the courthouse looking through records. I was used to the moldy book smell and creaky ornately carved wooden furnishings, but this space overwhelmed.
As I gently stepped over and around, in between items to look for things that caught my eye, I stumbled. When I got up and wiped off my knees, I saw the culprit that tripped me. Ironically, a prosthetic leg from very long ago, carved from wood.
Whose leg was it? Did anyone even remember the owner of this practical piece of body art?
In fact, as I rummaged the trunks and dressers and left my fingerprints in layers of dust, I came to wonder why people even bother stuffing late family member's items in the attic if they weren't going to use them or even catalog whose it was?
We had a huge raccoon that would climb up the black walnut tree and get into the attic. When I was a kid, I recall reading "The Exorcist" and at the beginning of the book, Regan hears scratching in the attic. I heard the huge raccoon up there scampering and could not sleep. Yeah, I knew intellectually it was a raccoon, but the timing seemed more like a message.
Somehow that space above our heads becomes "that place we shall not speak of."
Maybe you never go in your attic or it's not finished so to creep around up there, you might fall through the floor, but still you know there is space where anything can reside.
Movies Involving Attics
"Flowers in the Attic"
"Hider in the House"