ready to move. Today I was looking around the house, at the boxes, the mess, and reality
struck me. This is the last week we will live in this house.
Three years ago we began remodeling this house after
my Aunt Pauline died. It was in terrible condition. The windows were falling out, the
ceilings caving in, roaches and rats infested bedrooms and the attic, and the house
smelled of human urine and feces. The yard, almost an acre in size, was over grown. You
could barely walk out the back door for the tall grass, over grown bushes, and the vines
that had taken over the yard. But the house was free, and with me pregnant we needed a
bigger place to live then the 650 square fare foot apartment we were living in.
I was pregnant at the time, and since I was
no longer working because of my brothers death and working with the DA and the police
department on the case, I was designated as general contractor. (like I didn't have enough
going on) My goal was to have the 1498 square foot home, totally remodeled by Christmas.
Six months. Six months to practically put a new house up underneath the roof.
Everyday my mother and I would arrive at the
house and clean out the rooms. We found boxes of letters and pictures from Germany, a coin
collection, diamond rings hidden throughout the house(they appraised at $9,000),
money (over $100) and personal and financial documents dating back to the early 1900's. It
seems that my Aunt Pauline was a pack rat. And to some extent that really benefited me. We
had furniture, really good furniture for the first time. She had beautiful mahogany tables
and chairs, window tables and bedroom suits, hand sewn linens and afghans of all colors.
It was after going through the letters from Germany that we picked the name Johanna for
Wild Child's middle name.
There were many ups and downs during the six
months we worked on the house. the painter I had ended up being a drunk and didn't
complete the job. The hardwood floors were refinished, with one of the hallways having to
be totally replaced. The antique iron work on the front of the house was sent to be
restored only to come back looking worse than the way it left. I did however hire a
wonderful contractor who replaced all the windows and doors, gutted the kitchen and
transformed it to something any good cook would love, replaced the ceilings and anything
else that needed to be replaced or repaired. My plumber was wonderful to us, giving us
discounts because we had so much work to be done -- the shower had rotted through and had
to be replaced, the sinks and toilets replaced, not to mention a good bit of the original
We moved in December 24, 1996. Thankfully I
didn't have to really move anything, I was eight months pregnant at the time.
A lot has happened since then. We had Wild
Child, we had many family celebrations, my annual Halloween Party, the last Christmas with
my mother, all of Wild Child's first as a baby, a miscarriage, and the mourning of my
mother after her death. I'm ready to move on, ready for happy times, in a house where we
can create new memories and new traditions. A place where I can feel normal without the
haunting memories of those long gone. A home in which we created and built from the ground
up, that is entirely ours, with no past but only a future.
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