The first arrangement heated the bedroom directly from the pipe . The second left the stovepipe hole open so heat would seep slowly upstairs through it .
This second formation left an open hole in the bedroom floor which caught us often with a foot or leg dangling into the room below. It was only about 10 inches in diameter . There was no fear of Sis or I falling through , but little brother at 3 years of age did manage to get stuck a few times . Mum to the rescue .
As well , it served as an easy shout-through to Mum or Dad downstairs . Rather than go down to talk , we would place our faces into the hole and carry on a conversation . " Mum, I can't find my socks !"
During summer , when there was no stove pipe below , we used it as a spy-hole to watch our parents and visitors . You could hear every word clearly...even at night when we were supposed to be asleep in our beds .
However most memorable experiences with the hole came with my brother attached .
During his 'terrible twos,threes and fours', he had a fascination with this household feature .It was hard to keep him away from it . He was always dropping things down the hole - most things were minor , but major objects did find their way below , too. I am thinking of two in particular .
One summer , Mum was working at the dining table on Rec Council business with papers spread about her . Just as she leaned back to stretch , a huge rock ( a six inch , one pound hunk of conglomerate) landed on the table right on top of the papers she had been leaning over only seconds before . We refer to the incident as 'the day my brother almost killed Mum' . Although she may have felt like killing my brother , he did survive . The rock was confiscated to the location that all things-that-fall-through-the-hole ended up .
The other object that dropped through the hole was not as pleasant as the rock and drove us insane for weeks . One winter , when the pipes were in the second arrangement to enter the flu downstairs , my little brother , rather than use the commode decided to drop his load down the stove pipe hole . It seemed to him a convenient spot in an emergency . Of course , it landed on the hot stovepipe . There it stayed , invisible from below ...to slowly cook .
'L'aire de turd ' wafted throughout the downstairs and the bedroom for weeks . No amount of searching revealed the source . Mum cleaned and scoured and re-searched time and again . No one knew what was suffocating us . Not even my brother . Who really remembers such things once the job is done ? Eventually , the little coil was cooked to a crisp and ceased to smell .
It was not until spring , when the stovepipes came down as usual for cleaning , that the discovery occured . When Dad picked off the petrified poop , he didn't recognize it as quickly as Mum .
" That little Sh*t ! "
From then on , the stove pipe hole was blocked during the summer and barricaded during the winter to prevent access .