A Pleasant Surprise… and History

Answering the front door yesterday found one of our across-the-highway neighbors – SusanM – and 2 women I did not yet know. One of the women, Joan, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shirley who built my home back in 1946; and the other was Ivy – a niece of Joan’s. I was delighted to welcome them for a tour of their old homestead and ecstatic when they shared 1950s era Polaroids of the house and grounds.

1959 front of house

I was blown away by the fact that the “mature” trees I am so fond of can only be 50 years old at the most.   Note the current lack of foundation plantings and the addition of the side screened porch. I am still debating what color I want the front door – it came over from my previous home.

The mystery fish pond in the center traffic island was finally revealed as well as a glimpse of a house.  It is the Rice’s home across Hwy 59, which has had a brick veneer added since the photo.

Pond and Rice home

The interim owner Mr. Madden apparently filled in the pond. We do not know if the concrete was taken out. As I believe in building *up* for flower beds, we may never know. (you try getting a shovel into rock hard clay sometime.)

The biggest interior change for Joan and Ivy was probably the kitchen.  The kitchen and DR used to be one large room, with a bar between them.  Ivy had fond memories of being seated there for treats from the kitchen. The closet that now houses my washer and dryer was the pantry, and contained a trapdoor for access to the basement. Originally, the washer and dryer were in the basement, as well as Mr. Shirley’s workshop.

Joan shared that her mother was a superb gardener. She actually installed the stone edging for the flower beds, that I have so admired. She also agreed that her father had something of a concrete fetish – the front stoop is a very solid 18 inch deep monolith. And the walls – the house is originally concrete block with concrete added to fill the voids. My handyman almost quit over the effort involved to remove the walls during some reno work. The upside is that if we ever have a tornado, I am not worried in the least.

The rooms are all oversized because her father had served  in the Navy and was not going to be cramped in his new home.  After the stakes were placed for the original house layout, Mr. Shirley had 6 to 8 feet added to every dimension. The bedrooms are 16×16 and 14×16. The bathroom is so large that I am easily going to have room for a separate shower and whirlpool tub when that remodel happens.

Joan and Ivy were pleased that we love the home and that I am working to have flowers planted everywhere outside. I was grateful to have a glimpse of the home and family that built it.

In a later conversation with Joan, I discovered that she has iris, day lilies and a rose that her mother transplanted from here to her home in Fairplay.  Come fall, Joan has offered to bring some of them back home. Her mama would be proud.


About SharonMc

Retired DuPont engineer; currently raising puppies and posies.

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