Fascinating- House history

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by dreamer, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    we have been in our house 19+ years. It is the only home my kids have known. It is my first house I owned.
    It was not new, and it is very tiny (900 sq feet)
    when we first moved here, I was beyond ecstatic to HAVE a house, after living in tenements and dumps etc for several years on my own (since age 12, self supporting) I was also a brand new parent, and had my head in the clouds, LOL. Then my husband got ill and I was SO overwhelmed for many years, with babies, toddlers, sick husband, sick kids and working 2-3 jobs to just barely keep us going. Our poor tiny house got VERY neglected, I mean to the worst extreme, cuz I was in most basic primal survival mode. Then I got so ill, and was totally dependant - etc.....for a few more years. 2 years ago I began to get better, and looked around at my poor house and family and yard. So slowly I began the LONG process to try to make up for the decades of neglect. Turns out, I found I LIKED working outside, but, I was so weak, and it can be costly, and well, we have no money. VERY slowly I began the long process of trying to rejuvenate/renovate my yard. Original owners had worked in concrete and rocks etc, and had laid some stunning giant rocks n cement all over my yard and then planted some amazing gardens, well, it was all so neglected, I had to dig it all out, massive amounts, and do it by hand, and oh boy was I SLOW. our bushes had all overgrown beyond redemption, we lost several trees to lightening over the years. But I began.....and by hand I carefully dug out the debris so our giant rocks could once again be seen in all their glory.
    I lovingly planted new flowers in places I finished.
    Last year I began to wonder about the people who originally owned our house. I went to library but found precious little. So, I continued to do my best, mostly outside, LOL, I found I liked working inside less and less.....
    Inside we still have ALL the original paint, carpet, appliances, floors etc etc. NOTHING is different.
    I can say the quality of everything inside and out is the best money could have bought, altho it does all now need replaceing, I am slowly doing my best. BUT I am not getting very far.

    SO today we were working on replaceing the railing for the front stoop. Wanted to make a front porch, but, bldg codes would not permit it. And money ran short, too. So just putting in a new railing, now.
    A man and a young teen stopped out front, was looking at us. LOL.

    Turns out the man was a young boy, original owners of our house, his bedroom was what is now my sons bedroom. His father put all our lovely rocks in, all the gardens, all our extremely high quality carpet, heavy duty extreme paneling and exotic trimwork etc. He exxplained to me the color choices of everything here, the rocks etc. He had with him his own son, a year older than my son now. LOL. I took him and explained to him about diferent trees in our yard, flowers, rocks, etc. SPots I have not yet finished in yard, he told me what was there originally.

    Then he looked up and down the block and was shocked to see everyone who lived on the block way back then STILL lives here. I am still the newcomer on the block!

    He left with tears in his eyes, glad to see how much I adore and treasure the rocks, turns out I had read that just before I bought the house, there was one specific and exceptionally large rock here in my yard, his dad had moved several states away, and then passed away, his wife came back and begged the owners of my house at that time to permit her to TAKE that largest rock and move it---to his grave! (and they let her) I read that and wondered just where in the yard that rock had been, LOL, now I found out today. :)

    The man was gracious to me, I was some embarrased, but he said he could tell how hard I have been working to try to restore the beauty of the rocks. He was tickled to hear, my kids and I faantasize about lottieries but always my kids insist even if we won millions, they do not want to move, even tho our house is far too tiny for all of us........(and since me and husband do not work and have not for years and 2 of the 3 kids are homeschooled, the house is ALWAYS full)

    So it was an interesting morning to get to talk to a man who was a boy and part of the original family of our little house in middle of just another cookie cutter neighborhood. (All the houses on our block are identical- just slight outside decor variations)

    That was fun. :)
  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Wonderful to find out about your house. It is gratifying to make your house into your home. Way To Go!
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    dreamer, how wonderful! Sounds like we have the same type of cute little old house. I wish that would happen to me! I know that my house was moved here sometime in the 50's; my master teacher was raised right around the corner and remembers the excitement it caused. The county assessor's office has no info, except that the oldest part of my house is from 1918. My homeowner's paperwork says 1924. Do you have any idea how to trace the history?
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    That is just freaky that the man and his kid stopped by. I too grew up in a 900 sf home give or take a few feet. I can tell you that despite the lack of space your kids will be EXCELLENT organizers and have patience others do not. I can manage more junk in a 10x10 foot room than anyone I know - and man can I pack a bag. lol.

    I love the story about the rocks. The fact that a house that small has stood the test of time, and held your family together through some slim times- yeah I get the not ever sell factor. My mom's house is painted pink - we've tried other colors but OUR HOME will forever be Cupid Pink - trimmed in gray. The trees are having to be cut down soon and it made me cry. They have alway s been like old friends. We're gathering seedlings now to replant the same trees when they go - I have one here in SC from OH - and it's now 5 years old - and over 20' tall - my mom dug it up with a plastic spoon when it was the size of a darning needle.

    Great story - I think you should write it down in a "home" journal so no one forgets.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That is very interesting- and my guess is that today meant as much to the grown son who stopped by as it does to you!! It is funny how our work can lead us to appreciate so much.
  6. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Um, I think I did not word things very well, LOL. My house is not very old, not historic or anything like that- LOL. It had the original owners, the people who stopped by, and then a single elderly lady for a few years- and then us. The rocks are gigantic, along neighbors driveway, our driveway, front of house, along back yard fence on one side and along back of house. The side yard also has smaller rocks and Ihave finally made that into a little "nook" - made some small trees there into a canopy over it, it is fenced in, and plant morning glories and sweet peas on the fence to make a private little cubby hole, with a bird feeder, humming bird feeder and some flowers. That area is TINY, maybe 6 feet wide and 8 feet long TOTAL. a small porch glider sits there.

    LOL I am not sure my kids have learned much about how to organize, but, we try. we go vertical a lot. My new idea oforganize is dumpsters.....get rid of the accumulation, LOL. we are now officially smushed.

    Now what was even more weird about this today was......my father and I have been mostly estranged, most of my entire life. He very occasionaly speaks to me for a few months here and there, but mostly he ran off after first stalking my mom at gunpoint when I was a baby and my mom was jst 16. Then he left the country to avoid paying child support. Then he came back and settled in somewhat, lived in apartments, was remarried (no kids for his wife nor for the 2 of them together, so my dad just has me and my one brother)
    Dad drove an 18 wheeler, long distance and had an apartment here by the lakes and rivers. CLose enough I could stop by, less than 45 mins......so maybe once every couple of years I did so, but not much more than that, he never acknowledged me, really, has only met my husband maybe once, would not know my kids if they walked in his house, and my kids would not know him. Thats fine with me. Dad lived in same apartment for like 20 years or so. One day I went and he was not there, gone. LOL. I called his siblings and found him, he had moved up near the dells, he bought his first home- a trailer house with acreage! Maybe 5 or so years ago.
    SO I have ALWAYS sent him cards and photos of me and the kids on a very regular basis.....
    Last year I decided to send him some tulip bulbs becuz when I was a toddler, he had some tulips, and toddler me happily picked every single one and proudly presented him with them. LOL, so I tucked a note about that in with the bulbs.
    Yesterday I got a letter from his wife, all it said (and LOL my name was spelled wrong, go figure, they have been married 40 years) everyone told them tulips would not bloom there, but, they DID. So, I got to see his tulips, and his home! I was so tickled to get those photos, plus one of them, my goodness, turns out 15 years have passed, I think this time, and my - it shows!
    Well, um.....I had a surprise to share as well with them......I have not shared it with many yet.......I am gonna be a gramma, and I am VERY excited. BUT I have also been pretty busy becuz of it......
    So I told my dad I have been trying to come see him, but with sons eye and going to chicago and husband illness and my own illness and homeschooling etc, and now our newest news, it just is not ever working out. Well, dad was not very enthused, so I never bothered to make more than the tiniest effort to go.
    Turns out just as well, LOL, my goofy jerk father s wife said, after she told me how old THEY have become, and after she got nasty and said my husband is "too young" to have health problems, she said I do not even KNOW your kids, do not know their names or anything. Yeesh. LOL......uh ya think you might have looked at the pics and videos I sent so faithfully all these years? DUH.

    BUT.......it did not dampen MY desire to see my dads house nor him one more time, even if he is weird......
    I found it very exciting to just see a picture of his lil house, LOL. (He has never seen my house, even when he lived very close to me)
    So- it feels like it has been 48 hours of roots and old home week or something......checking out the houses and history etc, LOL.

    I always take my kids past all these places, places I lived thru my life and where my husband lived thru his life....we go past all of those places whenever we head towards city for doctor appts etc.

    Well, after the man and his son left today, I was embarrassed enough to wash the windows! ROFL, so now they are all sparkly clean, and so are all the drapes and curtains, again. and we are half done putting a new railing by front door. LOL.
    Yeesh, it sure is gonna be a LOT of work to make up for lost time, tho. wihs me luck. Between my dad, my new upcoming title, and the man who used tolive here, I do have renewed motivation, thank goodness.
    so- wish me luck I can keep scraping pennies together and keep up my energy, I know I am building strength. YAY! and my efforts are finally starting to show a little around here. YAY!
  7. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen


    That is an amazing story!!!

    I grew up in the same house for 21 years. When I went back MANY years later and it had been renovated...at first I was sad, but I saw this happy family in it. I knocked on the door, told them I used to live there and they invited me in. (They do that in small towns. We even still have our names and handprints and names in the backyard patio concrete.) We talked for about an hour about how this room used to be this, etc. They loved hearing about the history.

    Sounds like you are working so hard to keep it up. I'm sure he'll appreciate knowing his heritage.

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know how neat it is to learn history of your home. We learned a LOT about the first home we bought, down the street from my parents. Some of it was funny, but mostly not.

    husband and I moved to OH when difficult child was 3. I was born there, and lived in the same house until my parents moved us to OK. When we moved back I used to drive the kids past my old house. On Halloween one year we went to that neighborhood to trick or treat. I caught up with some old neighbors, and then introduced myself to the people who live in our old house.

    The mom took me inside and showed me around. she didn't know that the walls in the upstairs could be removed by takingout 4 bolts (daddy was a shop teacher and designed them that way when bro and I needed our own rooms. she was excited by that.

    I was amazed at the basement, they had finished it. It was never finished into rooms when I was little. The kitchen had been repainted in the SAME colors my mom painted it when we got the house ready to sell. Still had the same wallpaper there. They asked about why they had a bigger kitchen than any of the other houses like theirs in the neighborhood. I explained that my dad knoecked the wall between tiny kitchen and tiny dining room out. he also hand made a cherry mug rack into one wall. They had wondered for years what the rack was built for. I had her give me a coffee much and showed her how perfectly it fit. my mom collected coffee mugs, and so did she!

    The front bedroom on the first floor even still had the wooly mammoth my mom painted on it. She used an overhead projector my dad borrowed from school to put the design on. It apparently had been covered with wall paper and they found it and re-did it when they pulled the paper off. I was tickled to find that.

    Then we went outside and she asked if I knew the contractor who built the garage because they wanted to do some renovations, could I give her their name/phone number. I said I could, but I guaranteed they wouldn't be interested. My mom and dad built it, with some help from some buddies. I mean every nail, every board was put there by them. My dad was in the hospital with kidney stones when the concrete was supposed to come, so my 5'2" mom used the sledge hammer to get the footers in place!! No way would my college prof mom and science teacher dad come back from OK to do that stuff!! LOL!!

    The lady and I had a good laugh, and i told her the people across the street could give history on the people who bought it from us. They didn't live there long (the people who bought it from us) because the neighborhood HATED them. Called them Aggie and hte Unspeakables - they played music LOUD all night and cursed at everyone, even the little kids! They also called the cops on everyone in the neighborhood, had big drunken brawls, etc.....

    It is really neat to learn the history of your house. We are making hte history for our home, it was new when we bought it. But if/when it is sold i have a journal to leave for the buyers.

    Glad you ahd an old home week, they are neat.

  9. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    the house my mom and bio dad lived in when I was born was just 2 blocks from house my mom and her new husband bought, so I was able to easily keep up with my birth home. and it is only an hour from me now. then we lived in a vriety of places on the run, but, my memory held and I can find all the places, altho some have been torn down since then. The house my mom and her 2nd husband had, where my twin sibs lived, their dad still lives in that house, with his 2nd wife. Atho even tho he was married to my mom several years and he mostly raised me, we do not speak at all, not since my sister had kids. So wee do not go see that house. BUT we still are friends with all those neighbors, LOL.
    My mos 3rd husband and mom moved kinda a lot at first, and we do drive by their homes.....they eventually settled down, and gosh me and my kids wanted so much to buy moms house after she died, but......could not afford it. LOL. it is much larger than mine, altho it is also much older. It has actually sold now 3 times in the 2 years since mom passed.

    I forgot, darn! Yes, our houses original owners had put their name in concrete here, too and I was just showing it to my kids last week, and I forgot to show it to that man and his son today!!!! DRAT! I had removed a bush from where it was, so we had not seen it in years till last week. And we added a triange apron to driveway 2 years ago and my kids put their names and handprints in the concrete, LOL. and in the one rock surrounded base of one of our large trees, we have casts of each of our kids handprints nestled amid the flowers.

    LOL talking about removeable walls etc? One of the places mom took me and bro when she was fleeing dad, we lived upstairs and our landlord lived down, and the room me andbro shared had been divided with a temporary removeable wall, too, and so had our closet, plus our closet also had a hidden staircase leading down to landlords coat closet, LOL. I was maybe 6 or 7 yrs old, bro was like 4 or 5? Landlords son was my age, even had exact same birthday as me, and on saturday mornings, me and bro would slip down the secret stairs to their home and watch cartoons and The Monkees and Batman, LOL. That boy would move their vacume cleaner when he got up, and by 7 am, me and bro were slipping down there, and we would all settle in front of his TV. LOL. Our usual access to our space was via an outside stairway open to elements, but in winter we preferred to go down thru coat closet, LOL. In summer me and bro and landlords son would shimmy from the stairs to our space out onto a section of roof and eat our lunch sitting on the roof, LOL. Often when I go to the military base to shop, I go past that house and tell my kids all about it, LOL.
    We did live for a short time just immed prior to my twin sibsbirth in a houe nearly identical to the house I live in now.....and my bro who has same father as me also now has a house almost identical to mine, but his is in the next town east of me. And he had 3 boys- except for the time when I had his middle son living with me. I think a lot more people owned my brothers house than how many owned mine, and I think their stories were not as pleasant as the stories of the previous owners of my house. :-( My sister lives in a huge huge brand new house in a brand new subdivision, in a town that only recently became a town. Her twin is a minister so he lives in whatever house his church owns and provides for him, BUT his in laws......his mother in law and his father in law are both identical twins and they had their kids at the exact same time as each other, and they custom built a huge 2 family house when the kids were teens......and they all lived together, and now they have deeded that house to my bro and his wife for it to belong to my bro and his wife some day. So, I suppose they also will have pleasant history to talk about?
    My youngest bro just recently moved to a high rise in downtown chicago- something none of the rest of us ever did, LOL.
  10. Dreamer,

    What a beautiful story and many Congrats on your coming "grandmotherhood"! I can only imagine just how excited you are. Homes are so central in people's lives, and I know that you really made that gentleman's day by letting him walk down memory lane.

    Our home just passed the 100 year mark and the same family lived here for 60 years. We've been here 17 years and thus far 4 people have knocked on the door and asked to see the house. Each and every time the house was a wreck, LOL, but I knew it was important and opened the door wide to them.

    It is obvious to me that this house was filled with love from the very beginning. I could sense it when we first looked at the house. Each person who has visited has told us a little more of the story, and each one has cried before they left - just remembering the good times. We're trying to keep all the good vibes here that we can... One interesting note. We have always had lots of cats attracted to our yard - all the neighborhood "outdoor" cats and many who have taken up semi-permanent residence. I always thought they came, well, because we love cats and we have lots of wild life in our yard. But our last visitor told us that her grandad adored cats and fed dozens of them every day on the balcony outside his bedroom window (this is now easy child's room that he has sadly left) ....

    We've been wondering.... do the cats have some kind of genetic memory?

    I hope that someday in the distant future the new owners of our house will open the door wide to our sons if they come by and ask...
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Reading this made me remember at my Nana's house, my mom had written in the concrete. They had that house built in 1928, when they got married, and my Nana lived there until the day she died in 1993.

    When I refinished the front door at my house, I left all the paint layers under the doorknob plate (does that make sense?), and wrote our names and the date in Sharpie before putting the plate back on.
  12. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I had said we still had everything the same, but, thtas not quite true, we painted the kids rooms. My sons room was shamrock green carpet (which I liked) and huge bright orange floral wallpaper. Under the wallpaper was many other bright colors. I stripped the main part of his room, but, in the closet, I left an area with a history of the layers, LOL, nd our girls room was pink when we moved in and pink now, too. LOL.
    for many years we fought off raccoons in attic, oh my goodness the damage they did - incredible. Awful. and very costly. we had professionals deal with it eventually and it still did not stop the problem, so now we keep a floodlight on and a talk radio - it did not matter we had a golden living outside and in garage- did not matter there are 3 cats here.
    we are IN town, and we still get a new nest of baby rabbits every year in back yard, every year without fail. One year they were under the kids swingset, another year under our table outside, this year under a potted strawberry plant.

    and :) thank you, I am VERY excited about grammahood. It changed a lot of things at last minute here, but, the whole family is all very excited.