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An old abandoned house | Source: Shutterstock
An old abandoned house | Source: Shutterstock

Poor Man Buys Ruined Old House and Finds Room Hidden behind a False Wall — Story of the Day

Rita Kumar
Mar 18, 2024
08:03 A.M.

A poor man buys an old abandoned house, unaware it holds an incredible love story within its walls. He learns more stunning details when he finds a secret room concealed behind a fake wall.

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In a tiny village nestled in the hills, there stood an abandoned house that was left to crumble with time. But for the 24-year-old small-town sawmill worker, this house had always been more than just a dilapidated ruin. It was a childhood dream to make it his home someday, right from the days when he walked past it on his way to elementary school.

Although he had no riches to speak of, Joseph always retained sight of this dream as he grew older. He worked hard day and night at the sawmill, saving every penny he made for the day when he would finally have enough to pay his first mortgage and buy that abandoned house. His hard work paid off in the end, and that day finally arrived with a promotion to shift supervisor and a mortgage approved by the bank.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Joseph finally made his childhood dream a reality—he bought the abandoned mansion. As he wiped his tears of joy, he decided to share the good news with the only person who'd stuck together through thick and thin—his grandma, Betty. So with a heart fluttering with joy, Joseph ran to meet her that day...

"Are you serious, Joe? You bought that house? Oh, I'm so happy for you, darling!" Betty exclaimed, and her hand went up to her mouth because she was genuinely excited that Joseph had finally purchased the ruined, old house of his dreams.

"Of course, grammy! I told you I was serious about getting that house. And I was lucky nobody bought it all these years! This house is my dream...it's my love...it's my everything! And it's finally mine!" said Joseph, showing his grandma pictures of the abandoned mansion on his phone.

He had always known that there was something strange about that old house. Rumors in town were that it once belonged to an older man who had mysteriously disappeared from the face of the town several years ago.

"A secret room behind a false wall? What is in there?" exclaimed Joseph as he tore the fake wall down with a spade.

Joseph was a little boy then, and the rumors stopped as he grew older. The house was reduced to nothing more than ruins over the years. It evolved into an elaborate secret meeting spot frequented by young lovers and photographers with a craze for dilapidated structures.

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As Joseph bragged about how he would paint the house on his own and even put up a portico garden of roses and change the whole look of the building, something left Betty unsettled and her joy faded.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

"I knew the man who owned that house," she interrupted in a sad voice. "He was the happiest man I'd ever seen...one with the soul of an angel. The house you will move in soon, sweetie...it's not just brick and concrete. It's a symbol of a love story so beautiful, envious, and heartbreaking...straight out of a fairy tale. And only I know the depths to which that man went for his love."

"A love story?" Joseph grew curious and impatient as Betty wiped her foggy glasses and sat back to reveal something that not many in town knew.

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"I was a young, beautiful girl back then...younger than you even," began Betty as she chuckled. "The town was bustling with new trades, fashion, and everything any man and woman would want to live a life of their dreams."

"And then, there was a man with the same name as you. His name was Joseph! He was very handsome. He was the kind of man who could turn heads with just one glance. His thick brows, chiseled jawline, grey eyes like smokey rain clouds, fuller lips curled into a flirty smile...Oh, he was just perfect!"

"Every girl in town and, honestly, even I spent several sleepless nights only dreaming about him!" laughed Betty.

"But my fate, I dated his best friend, your grandpa, who was not that bad, but Joseph was something different. And soon, a rich family arrived in town on business with their young, beautiful daughter, Carolyn."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"You see, Joseph was an ordinary simple man. Don't be surprised if I tell you that he, too, worked in the sawmill, just like you, sweetie!" Betty added.

"Joseph worked in a sawmill, too?" Joseph was stunned as he sat on the floor, surprised and curious to know more about this man his grandma was bragging about.

"That's why I said...You know nothing about that house, and I think it's fate's plan that you know the secret behind its crumbled walls before you even think of tearing them down," added Betty.

Joseph thought his grandma was indeed right. All his life, the only thing he knew about the abandoned house was that it looked uninhabitable, and nobody wanted to buy it. Some of his friends had even asked him to go for an even better house. A few even laughed at his taste. But now, Joseph realized there was something bigger to the house than its crumbled walls.

"So what happened after that? Did they fall in love or something? It happens in every love story! What's so different and special about this one?" he laughed.

"Would it be easy for a peasant's son to fall in love with a rich man's daughter? Never! Because Carolyn and Joseph were poles apart. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and Joseph was a poor farmer's son raised in poverty. But one day, something magical happened...I still remember that day. We were at the amusement park...."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Betty's eyes gushed with tears as she recalled the day Joseph lost his heart to Carolyn at first sight. That day, he had gone to the park strictly on business to deliver logs to the motel.

Just as he snapped his sweat and was about to leave the town square, he was distracted by an unusually sweet-smelling woman giggling with her friends as she walked across the fair, brushing past his shoulder. He didn't know if it was her golden curls, hazel eyes, or musical voice. Something about her had struck Joseph's heart then and there, and he fell in love with her at first sight!

"The fair lasted for a week, and Joseph began frequenting it daily, just waiting for a chance to talk to Carolyn. One day, we all froze in our spots when we saw him approaching her with a bouquet of roses in his hand. I wonder where that rascal got all the courage," giggled Betty.

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"We were all jealous of Carolyn, and I even wished she would turn him down. We all saw how disappointed Joseph was when Carolyn refused to accept the flowers."

"But we knew Joseph so well. He was not someone who'd give up so easily. And what fool would climb high up a Ferris Wheel and threaten to jump down and break his head for a woman? But there was Joseph—a young crazy man in love risking his life for just a date with Carolyn! She was terrified and begged him to come down. But we all secretly laughed because we were used to Joseph's dirty old tricks, and we knew this was his ploy to make her fall in love with him."

"Did she agree to go on that date with him then?" Joseph chimed in.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"Well, Carolyn might've been rich, but that doesn't mean her heart was shielded with armor or carved out of a rock! She did like Joseph…who wouldn't! He was such a charm in town! She agreed to go on a date, and Joseph climbed down the Ferris Wheel as all our hearts burned with envy," gasped Betty as she took a trip down memory lane.

They went to the cinema hall on their first date, and as Carolyn's eyes were fixed on the screen, Joseph's eyes were fixed only on her. Then they wandered around the city under the starry night. Carolyn loved his simplicity and charm, and Joseph admired her sophistication and ethereal beauty. It was only their first date, but they felt something special.

It was such a magical evening, and it came to a dramatic halt outside the abandoned house.

"Was it abandoned back then too? Was Joseph not the owner then, grandma?" Joseph grew curious.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"Sweetie, since that house was already abandoned, the state took over until somebody came forward to buy it. But nobody did. Joseph was in love with that house just like you, and he dreamed of buying it someday. So that night, he took Carolyn there to reveal his dream."

"The walls will be brown and white...with climbing roses all the way up to the balcony facing the sunset," he told Carolyn.

"Won't you ask what I want? If I understood your intentions clearly, I will live in this house too,” she laughed.

"The walls will be mint green and white...and my room overlooking the mountains, spacious and huge where I could paint sceneries and portraits! Then a terrace with a hanging garden of succulents and white bougainvillea creeping all the way up to the balcony, where we'll sip tea and watch the sunset every evening."

"Your wish is my command, your majesty!" Joseph laughed in response.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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From that day on, they became closer and closer, spending all their free time together. They often visited the abandoned mansion, dreaming of how they would furnish it, where their baby's nursery would be, and even what color of the finest pink should go on the walls if it was a baby girl or blue if it was a boy!

One night, after their usual meeting at the abandoned house, Joseph decided to walk Carolyn to her home. As they approached her house, they hugged each other, only to be noticed by her parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Carlson knew about their daughter's romance with Joseph and even liked him for the genuine man he was. They thought he was decent, charming, and loyal, but they also knew he was not good enough to give their daughter the life they'd envisioned for her.

Carolyn's parents were not ready to give her hand in marriage to a man whose hourly wage was nothing more than 40 cents. They knew their daughter would be mad at them if they told her to forget Joseph. So, they began thinking of how to bring their daughter's love story to a dramatic end.

That evening they invited Joseph for dinner.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Bon Appétit, gentleman," Mr. Carlson broke Joseph's silence. "You can sit back and relax. I can understand your worry. But don't be shy. It's just an informal dinner, so we get to know each other better."

"Thank you, Mr. Carlson," Joseph replied with a confident smile, though he was nervous as he was really not used to dining with the wealthy.

Joseph shared about his life, his work, and his dreams, and everything about the gathering seemed smoother than he'd thought. The dinner was over, and Joseph sighed heavily as he prepared to leave, only to be stopped by Mr. Carlson.

"Please come to my study, Joseph. We have a little man-to-man talk before proceeding with certain things. Ladies, if you could please excuse us...."

Joseph shakily followed his girlfriend's father to his study, an elaborate room with huge bookshelves ornamented with big, fat books he'd only seen in the town library.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Cigar?" Mr. Carlson extended a cigar to Joseph as he puffed smoke.

"No, sir. I don't smoke."

"I'm impressed, Joseph. Like really!" said Mr. Carlson, a taunt in his tone. "My daughter is indeed lucky, you see. Her grades are always great...she still has college and then university. I'm planning to send her to law school...What do you think?"

"That's amazing, sir. Carolyn is really bright and talented. She has a very promising future, and I can see that."

"Well, I know...I know. She's, after all, my daughter!" Mr. Carlson said, coughing. "She has to go far...visit places...meet new people of our background...there's so much to do. But I don't think my daughter will have a promising future if she's with you."

Those words hit Joseph like a ton of bricks.

"I know you love her sincerely...that you're not interested in our money. You're honest and charming, Joseph. But please answer this honestly—Do you want my daughter to spend the rest of her life in this town on your meager salary? Will that be enough to give her the life of her dreams? Do you think it would be fair to drag a princess from a castle to a shabby hut?"

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"You know, Joseph, if you truly love someone, it doesn't mean you have to possess that person. Think the other way around! Don't you think it would be better to let the person go so that their life would be better...promising...and peaceful?"

"I don't know if you're ready to make this sacrifice if you truly love Carolyn...But I'd appreciate it if you would do it for my daughter's happiness," finished Mr. Carlson as warm tears welled up in Joseph's eyes.

His heart was torn between his love for Carolyn and her dad's love for her. Mr. Carlson's words kept ringing in his head. His heart sank as he walked away without meeting his girlfriend, and he cried the whole night. Joseph's heart shattered to a million pieces when he understood that Carolyn's dad was right.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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The following evening, Joseph took his girlfriend to the abandoned house and hugged and kissed her, his heart feeling heavier as he knew things were about to change between them. He then lied to her that he would be moving to Alaska very soon.

"What? But you never told me about this," Carolyn was mad at Joseph as she burst into tears. "I'll be going to college, and I cannot move to Alaska with you. How will we meet? Oh God…I cannot be without seeing you."

Seeing his girlfriend cry pricked Joseph's heart as he prepared himself to break her heart once and for all.

"I've been offered a better position there, and I have to go," said Joseph. "It's my dream to buy this house, and I'm not ready to give it up for anybody...even for you, alright? I'll be leaving soon, and I have a lot to pack," he said, trying hard to hold back his tears while faking an angry face.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"I hate you...I just hate you. How could you do this to me? You betrayed me...You are such a selfish man. You deceived me, and I'll never forgive you...I don't even want to see you again," Carolyn fumed at Joseph as she burst into tears and stormed away.

Another blow awaited her at home when her parents told her they would be moving back to their hometown the next day. Carolyn was devastated at the very thought of not seeing Joseph again.

She bolted to the mill the following morning to meet him, but he was not there. A worker told her Joseph had gone to the town nearby to deliver logs and would return only in the evening. Time was running out, so Carolyn grabbed a paper and pen and scribbled a note conveying how much she loved Joseph along with her address.

"Please give it to him without fail...And please tell him to write a letter as soon as he gets this...please don't forget...please," she pleaded with the worker before leaving.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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When Joseph returned later that evening, he read the note and dropped to his knees in tears.

"I was such a fool," he cried. "How could I even think of breaking her heart...I love you, Carolyn."

As days passed, Joseph sent her letter after letter, over a hundred letters, to the address on the note, but there was no reply. Every spot in town they wandered together started haunting him. Carolyn's voice kept ringing in his head, and the abandoned house they'd wanted to build their little family seemed even more deserted and empty without her. So Joseph decided to go to the address and apologize to Carolyn.

But when he did get there, he learned the house was already sold, and nobody knew where the Carlsons had moved after that. To Joseph, this was another big blow.

"He returned to his hometown, disappointed and exhausted...he was a mess and not the charming and spirited Joseph I'd seen," recounted Betty. "He was determined to find Carolyn at any cost. But Joseph was soon drafted into the army with your grandpa and the other men in town when World War II began."

"And what happened after that, grandma? Did he find her? Did they meet again?" Joseph asked Betty.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Betty burst into laughter. "Your grandpa and Joseph went to the war. Your grandpa returned in a casket several months later, and Joseph was one of the four soldiers who carried his coffin."

"Joseph told me his heart was still beating for Carolyn. He was determined to find her, but before that, he decided to surprise her."

"Surprise her? With what?"

"That abandoned house! He wanted to buy that house and bring her back to live all their dreams. He told me he would renovate it just like how Carolyn had wanted and get down on one knee with a real diamond ring and propose to her...That was the dream of his life," said Betty.

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As it turned out, when Joseph was fighting for his nation, his father fell ill and passed away. After returning home from war, Joseph sold their only priced possession—their shabby farmhouse. He put in all his savings, got a mortgage, and eventually bought the abandoned mansion.

It took Joseph a year to finish the repairs and transform the house into what his girlfriend had wanted. The walls were painted mint green and white. Creepers and succulents hung down from the terrace as white bougainvillea crawled up to the balcony, just like how Carolyn had wished.

"And once he was done renovating the house, he took me there and showed it to me. I marveled at the lengths this crazy man went to fulfill his promise to his girlfriend. Joseph left for her hometown that evening to find her," said Betty, tears swamped in the rim of her eyes.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Upon arriving at Carolyn's hometown, Joseph was determined to wander around every house on the street, looking for her. But it took less time than he thought. While walking to his motel at the end of the first day of searching, he saw her at a restaurant. His heart almost skipped a beat, and it felt like it would stop beating forever.

He saw Carolyn seated by the glass pane in the bistro. She seemed happy while discussing the menu with a man in a fine suit and French beard, who was holding her hand. Joseph could feel his heart crack when his gaze shifted to her bulging belly. Carolyn was heavily pregnant.

From that day on, Joseph's life was in shambles. He returned to his hometown and lived alone in the house for several decades. He stopped talking to people.

Then one day, even before the break of dawn's first streak of rays lit the town, Joseph had just disappeared. Nobody, not even Betty, saw him ever again. The house of his dreams was left to crumble again with time. Nobody was interested in buying the abandoned mansion until Joseph, Betty's grandson, was drawn to it.

"Wow! Can someone go to such extents for their love?" Joseph asked rhetorically when his grandma finished her story.

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Joseph felt nostalgic when he visited the abandoned house again the next day. He then decided to restore the house to honor his namesake without making any major changes. And while painting the walls on his first day of the repairs, he accidentally stumbled upon a false wall behind an old wooden wardrobe.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"A secret room behind a false wall? What is in there?" exclaimed Joseph as he tore the fake wall down with a spade. Cobwebs and dust greeted him, and cockroaches fled in the dark when he stepped foot inside, flashing his phone torch. The place seemed untouched by human existence for decades.

"Oh my God!" gasped Joseph when he found himself standing in the heart of a small chamber furnished with a table, a broken chair, empty wine bottles, and an old cabinet.

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Joseph then found his namesake's diary in the cabinet where he'd described his romance with Carolyn. There were old photos of them together, gifts and greeting cards, and the note she'd left Joseph with her address.

"They were so beautiful together! What a love, man...this is just crazy...wow!" gasped Joseph as he finished reading his namesake's diary.

He was so touched by the events that unfolded on the leaves of the dusty old diary and the photos. So Joseph tried to find Carolyn's relatives on social media to return the priceless treasure to her.

After a tedious search using Carolyn's first and maiden names, Joseph found a profile of a young woman who had posted pictures with her grandma, whose name was Carolyn. Joseph could not believe his eyes when he realized his namesake's lover was still alive.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

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Joseph decided to surprise his namesake's lover and repaired the house at a faster pace, giving it the makeover Carolyn had once wished for. It took him several months, and Joseph immediately contacted the woman once the job was done.

He told her about Joseph and her grandma's love story and the items he'd found in the hidden room. Moreover, Joseph wanted to show Carolyn how his namesake had loved her all his life and had even fulfilled his promise of transforming the house into what she had wanted.

On a late summer evening, Carolyn's granddaughter contacted him and agreed to visit.

"Granny has told a lot about her romance with Joseph, you know!" the woman told Joseph on a call. "She loved him all her life though she was forced to marry a rich man, my grandpa...Granny remembered Joseph all her life. You won't believe this! She even told me how she would turn into a star and unite with her handsome lover in the sky after her death. And she died the next night."

"Your grandma...what? She passed??"Joseph was disappointed.

The heavy gasp on the other end of the phone answered his question. He was so heartbroken because he wanted to surprise Carolyn and fulfill his namesake's promise by bringing her to the house of her dreams.

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"But don't worry! I'm excited to visit and take granny's things," added the granddaughter. "I'll be coming next weekend."

Carolyn's granddaughter kept her word and visited Joseph the following Saturday. She was stunned at the breathtaking beauty of the house she had heard her grandma describe all the time. And Joseph was captivated by her smoky grey eyes, brunette curls, and sweet fragrance, and his heart started thumping with a strange feeling.

"I'm Carolyn! Nice to meet you," she said, extending her hand to Joseph. She was named after her grandmother!

Joseph could not understand if it was destined by fate to meet Carolyn. He toured her around the house, completely lost in love with her at first sight. They spent the evening talking and laughing, sipping tea while watching the sunset from the balcony with the white bougainvillea crawling up.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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What can we learn from this story?

  • Appreciate the chance to be with your loved ones, as fate may not grant you another. Joseph intentionally broke Carolyn's heart so she could have a more promising life like her rich dad wanted. On the other hand, Carolyn thought Joseph had betrayed her and fought with him. Though they realized their mistake and love for each other, circumstances never allowed them to reunite.
  • Materialistic possessions can perish with the sands of time, but not memories. Joseph bought the abandoned house without knowing the history and memories it concealed in the hidden room behind a false wall. Until then, he thought the house was just abandoned, but his perspectives changed when he realized it was an abode of memories of a defeated lover.

Tell us what you think, and share this story with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

A man buys an abandoned farm for only $1K, unaware that the seller tried to deceive him. One day, he found a bag of money in the attic with a letter that flipped his fate. Click here to read the full story.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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