House and Home

Pack it up and Move on in – Part 1: “Surprise! We bought a Civil War Era House!”

There wasn’t much to like about the tired, run down house that sat hidden behind two 100 ft. tall Norway Spruces and an equally tall Pitch Pine. If the peeling paint wasn’t enough to turn off the drive-by house hunters, the fact that it was a dingy peach color trimmed in rusty orange was sure to do it.

It was New Year’s Day when I opened the “Home Seeker” section of our local newspaper and saw the house pictured on page one.

“Oh wow,” I said to Doc, “It’s Dean and Aggie’s house!”

The back of the house


“Who?” asked Doc, dropping the Arts section to the floor next to his recliner.

“Dean and Aggie — It’s that house around the corner from my parent’s. I always loved that house” I said, as I sat on the sofa remembering many childhood visits. “I loved the big floral rugs Aggie had on all the floors. And wallpaper. We never had wallpaper when I was growing up. Just paint. I thought her wallpaper was the best thing ever.”

“Well then, let’s go look at it.”

“What for?” I asked.”We don’t want to move. Our house is beautiful. And we’ve just finished remodeling our bathroom and we put all that money into the landscaping last summer.”

“We can look, can’t we? You haven’t seen the house in, what? 30 years? Wouldn’t you like to see it again? Just for old time’s sake?”

Famous last words.

I called the Realtor listed on the ad and he met us at the house the following morning. The house was vacant and owned by a bank following a foreclosure.  As we approached the front door, the Realtor realized he had forgotten his house key. No matter. The three of us had no problem finding a window with a broken lock. (They were all broken). We climbed inside.

For Sale

It was the house I remembered, but much the worse for wear. It hadn’t been updated since I’d last seen it except for the forest green carpeting throughout the downstairs. The carpeting wasn’t an asset. It was at least 20 years old and looked as if it had never been cleaned.

I wandered from room to room. I could envision Aggie’s furniture where it used to be: the maroon sofa in the side room next to her sewing machine… The floral upholstered rocking chair in the living room next to the television where she always sat. The kitchen had the same copper tiles on the back splash. The bathroom had the same built in dressing table. Now though, lots tiles were missing and the wooden dressing table drawers were swollen shut. The breakfast nook had the same gray Formica tabletop and red leather booth seats, but now the Formica was stained and chipped and the leather torn. The 1950’s one-piece cast iron sink and metal cabinets were still there, but all the plumbing had been torn out from beneath the sink. The window frames on the enclosed porch were in such bad shape that the only thing holding the glass in place was magic.

“I still love this house,” I said.

and an outhouse

“The back yard is fantastic!” Doc exclaimed, returning from his own outdoor venture.

We both stopped and stared at each other.

90 minutes later we left the Realtor’s office. We were now the owners of a tired, run down, house with peeling peach paint and rusty orange trim.

To be continued……

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