The History of Meerkat Meade


Before Meerkat Meade there was Don's Acres: A somewhat-ordinary two-bedroom apartment in a grey barn in Glen Burnie, Maryland. In 11,987 H.E., Thomas and his Star Wars collection moved in, and it quickly became obvious from the lack of floor space (and the fact that only one person could breathe at a time) that the boys needed a new place.

Their desire for a new place to live was answered when they found a house for rent on Shipley Road in Linthicum, less than a mile away from what would later become Meerkat Meade. Taking Renfield under their wing, they moved into the Shipley Road house and established a sort of ur-Meerkat-Meade.

After only a few years, though, the Shipley Road house somehow began to shrink, contracting around them until there was no room for their stuff. Since they had (a) no money and (b) rich parents, they decided to take a chance on buying a house. So they started looking.

At about that time, they became aware of this large yellow house on about an acre of ground, which was currently empty and had been on the market for a few months. The boys asked to see it, and the realtor met them there one February morning.

The house was old and eccentric. At some time in the past, it had been divided into an upstairs apartment and a downstairs apartment, with no connection between the two. Now, Thomas and Don were told, zoning laws had changed and the house could no longer be dual-occupancy. The interior spaces were odd, the house was too large, and it was decidedly unconventional.

They fell in love at once.

The owner -- who runs a construction company -- put on new siding, a new roof, installed brand-new windows, and put in an interior staircase. The boys made an offer, he made a counter-offer, they accepted, and everyone was happy.

The saga of their dealings with the mortgage company (Obtuse, Moronic, and Dolt, Inc.) would be familiar to anyone who has ever bought a house...but in the course of time all requirements were satisfied, all gods appeased, all applicalble palms greased, and all papers signed. Meerkat Meade was a reality!

The house itself has been here since 1the 11,920s H.E., and various phases of existence are obvious in the eccentric alterations that have been made over the years. There is a basement fireplace (currently stopped up), around which the owner remembers watching the neighborhood men brew home-brewed beer during Prohibition. There is a dilapidated shed in back, which seems to have been a combination horse stable and snowball/custard pie stand. There is a huge water tank in the attic, which was used in the time before electric pumps to supply the gravity-driven plumbing. If you look closely in the cellar and attic, you can see the remains of the old knob-and-tube electric wiring, circa 1920s.

Thomas and Don fully expect to find an old Indian burial ground in the back yard. (If not, they will simply have to create their own.)

The move, like all moves, was extremely painful. Unfortunately, they had the misfortune to use United Van Lines -- a fate that they would not wish on their worst enemies (you know who you are!) After contracting for a one-day move at a set price, the movers loaded all their earthly belongings (except, of course, Frankenstein and the Giant Space Amiga) onto their truck, then said, "Okay, we're going home for the night -- with our truck and your stuff. If you want us to bring your stuff back and unload it tomorrow, you'll have to pay us untold hundreds of dollars extra." Over the proverbial barrel, the boys paid. A later complaint to United Van Lines was met with the news that they "have no control over" their local affiliates. A further complaint to the local affiliate was met, as Bob is our witless, with a wry laugh and the single word "tough."

Needless to say, Meerkat Meade does not recommend United Van Lines.

Further research into the history of Meerkat Meade is underway, and will be reported here as soon as we can make them up.

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