Teenage Mischief: How Best Friends Turned An Abandoned House Into Their Hideout
The StoryCorps MobileBooth wrapped up a month-long run in Dallas last weekend, and we’ve been sharing some of the stories from North Texans.
Joseph Knight and Lisa Foy have been best friends for 13 years. They grew up in the town of Spring, outside of Houston. They live in Dallas now.
Their most vivid memory together came in high school. One day, they found an abandoned house in their neighborhood. For the next three years, that house -- they affectionately call it ‘The House" -- was their hideout.
Discovering "The House"
“When we went in there the first time, we climbed over the fence and creeped across the backyard because we were afraid of someone seeing us,” Foy recalls. “We went up to the back sliding door and we were peering in and we didn’t see anything, so we tried the door.”
The door opened, and the duo found a set of keys on the mantle. From then on, they proclaimed the house as their own.
Most of their weekends were devoted to "The House," whether it was just a place for them to hang out or using their allowances to remodel and decorate the 1970s-era home.
“We pretended like we lived there on the weekends and we would wave to the neighbors,” Knight says. He laughs.
An unwilling house guest
At first, "The House" was a well-kept secret among their circle of friends. However, Knight and Foy were so proud of the work they had done on the home, they wanted to show it off.
“We took our substitute teacher there against her will,” Knight says.
At the time, they had a young, long-term substitute French teacher named Mademoiselle Cummings. They liked her and thought she was cool.
After school one day, Knight and Foy followed her out to her car and asked for a ride home, in hopes of getting Cummings to see their home.
“She was like, ‘I’m not taking you guys home; no thank you,’” Knight says.
The two friends hung back, followed their teacher to her car, and stood behind it so she couldn’t pull out of her spot. Eventually, Cummings took them to "The House."
“She was visibly shaken and we were just unrelenting,” Knight remembers. “I’m sure she thought she was about to be murdered!”
“She probably did!” Foy said, laughing.
Cummings wasn’t there long.
“She was an adult and she was more aware of the fact she was breaking and entering,” Foy says. “We had gotten used to ["The House"] at that point.”
The fun didn’t last forever. Eventually, their parents found out and punished them. Later on, someone broke into "The House" and vandalized it, destroying the renovations the two teens had done. By that point, the house had been a part of their lives for three years, but they were getting bored it with it.
“I can’t imagine doing anything like that now,” Foy says. “Every time I think about it now, I’m like, ‘oh … we were so mistaken!’”
What happened to the house? Foy says there’s a new tenant there: someone who went to high school with them.
StoryCorps is a national initiative to record and collect stories of everyday people. These excerpts were selected and produced by KERA.