My father worked as a caretaker in a castle for a few years. Actually, he was the senior custodian in a high school, but the building looked remarkably like a castle and my imagination needed no further prompting.
Stadium High School was built as a château-style luxury hotel in the late 19th century but was never opened. Just over a decade later it became a school. When my father worked there in the 1960's, he would sometimes prowl through the dusty attics to see what had been cast aside and forgotten and to rescue bits and bobs that would otherwise have been tossed onto the rubbish heap. My brothers, sisters and I became the recipients of stacks of old lunchroom plates that had never been used, the thick, heavy china ones used in diners. I used those plates daily for years and years.
When my girls were young, my father gave me an old oak desk he had salvaged from the school attic. It was more of a table really, with a single small drawer. The drawer had been damaged and repaired badly, so my husband made a new one when we refurbished the desk. It sits in our family room now, beneath a gallery of pictures. I finished writing my first novel sitting at that desk.
Dad was a caretaker in many ways—of people and of things. It takes a certain kind of man to make a good one. He was that kind. He passed away a year ago, and I spent much of today gazing out my windows and into the past. It gives me a pang of pleasure to think of him rummaging around the attics of a faux castle like a benevolent Argus Filch at Hogwarts.