Secluded in the mountains of upstate New York is an abandoned residence that was owned by Michael (1907-2003) and Gloria Johnson (1918-2001) †.

Michael †, born in the Bronx in 1907, served in the United States Army during the Western Pacific Campaign during World War II and received both the Asiatic-Pacific and the Good Conduct medal. He later founded a bottled gas company, served as the local town Justice between 1951 and 1981, was a lifetime member of the local Volunteer Fire Company, a member of the local American Legion Post, and was a past Commander for the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Gloria † was a secretary of a nearby lodge for decades and was a member of the nearby Ladies Fire Auxiliary for more than 50 years.

The modest seven-room house was built in 1929 and acquired by the Johnson † family in 1947 who completed extensive renovations that included the addition of a modern kitchen, wood paneling, and insulated ceiling tiles. It felt cozy and familiar.

What makes this house unique is that it has not been occupied for nearly two decades and that none of the precious mementos and artifacts were removed by any of the surviving family members after the passing of Michael †. Upon my first visit to the house long ago, the interior was cluttered, a product of haste and abandon. Family photos piled on the dining room table. Funeral arrangements scattered on the buffet. Bills discarded on the floor.

Outside remains three of Michael’s most treasured possessions, a circa 1956 American LaFrance 700 Series fire truck, a circa 1960-1966 GMC B-6000 fire truck, and a circa 1953-66 Mack B85 fire truck. (See last week’s post about these fire trucks.)

With the property taxes going unpaid, it is likely that this forgotten house will soon be put up for a sheriff’s auction.

† The names have been changed because of privacy concerns.