They passed from this world in 2006, and the house has been an empty shell. Various structural problems made it impossible to find a use for it. The well was old and the septic tile field had been replaced three times, because the ground was impermeable clay. If it passed the perc test in the 1950s, it must have been in dry weather. Extending utilities to the house would have destroyed the woods that surrounded it, leveling oaks and hickories and tulip trees, and would have been very costly, too. One defect was a 1960s era fallout shelter, which had developed leaks and regularly flooded the basement. In our humid climate, the house became a Petri dish for mold. I could not enter it without a facemask. It has occurred to me that the fate of the house would have been different without the fallout shelter — a 14-by-18-foot room with murky water 30 inches deep. It was added at the last minute in 1962 in an atmosphere of Cold War fear that even the war on terror could not match.