Please excuse my unkempt appearance. I haven’t had a human visitor in many years. Of course, that wasn’t always the case. My story started in 1946.
World War II ended the year before, and many of the troops headed home into the welcoming arms of their loved ones. The war had put their lives on hold, but now it was time to pursue the American Dream of owning a home and raising a family.
Bill and Maggie Wilson were married a week after Bill returned from Germany. The couple worked multiple jobs, pooling their earnings to save for the down payment. In less than a year, they had accumulated the required $1200.00. Next, Bill and Maggie purchased some land and hired a contractor. Two days before Christmas, the keys to my front door were now theirs.
My design was typical for 1946: a living room, eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms, and a bathroom, all on the same floor. The feature that set me apart from other homes in the area was my roof extension over the front door and the two pillars supporting it.
The Wilsons settled in quickly. Bill and Margie continued working hard. Several months after moving in, Margie became pregnant and had to stop working. Their first son was born seven months later. I was pleased to provide shelter to their recent addition. Approximately a year and a half later, their second boy was born.
In September 1953, Bill lost his job. The economy had slumped after the Korean war ended. Jobs and money were scarce. The Wilsons could no longer afford to pay their mortgage, so the bank claimed ownership of me, and my once happy family moved away. The bank quickly sold me to a real estate management company. From that point on, I was a rental property.
Nothing was the same after my original family left. People constantly moved in, stayed for a few months or a couple of years, then moved on. Some renters were careful not to damage me. Others were careless and left me in disrepair. The rental company carried out a minimal number of repairs, refusing to perform the restoration necessary to keep me looking new.
My life continued like this for many years. As I grew older, fewer renters wanted me. At one time, my rural location was a positive selling point. Now, it had become undesirable for many young working families, looking for a short commute to work. I wasn’t surprised when one day a car stopped, and a man placed a for sale sign in my front yard. I’ve remained unoccupied ever since.
Another slump in the economy placed the real estate company out of business. Soon after that, the county claimed me as payment for back taxes. The sign eventually fell over, but I remained standing strong, waiting for a change of luck. My luck changed, but for the worse.
Our community needed a new cell tower, and my backyard was the ideal location. The county negotiated a deal, and once again, I became the property of a company instead of a family. During the tower’s construction, a severe windstorm caused an unsupported portion to topple into my right wall. The men removed the tower debris but never repaired my damaged wall.
I was pronounced uninhabitable, but that’s not entirely true. I now give shelter to several families of raccoons, field mice, spiders, and birds. They don’t damage me like some renters did, and occasionally I get to witness a mother giving birth.
I hope I haven’t bored you with my tale of woe. I believe you understand. I almost feel as though we’ve met before. I see you’ve brought your children with you. I hope you don’t mind if I listen to your conversation.
“Kids, this is where your uncle and I were born. Back then, this house was something special. Your grandparents had it built especially for us, and I still have many fond memories of the time we spent here. I wanted to show this house to you because it’s important to know where your family started. We loved this home.”
I nostalgically watched as they walked away, wishing I could tell him this home loved him too.