Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Building our house


When I was about 5 or 6 and before I started the first grade Dad and Mom decided to build a new house.  I don't know what was wrong with the old one but we started building one about 2 or 3 feet from the old one.  All I can remember is it was so close to the other one it was a challenge getting up on a ladder. 
 After we moved into the new house they loaded our old house and moved it to Grainola where Mrs. Heath would live and build onto it a post office.

Just as a side note which I am prone to do we did not have pre-K or kindergarten and it seemed that everyone turned out ok and in fact I would say better than what I am seeing today.  Now I am just a country boy but do we really need all of this since the country is broke?  Don't get PO'ed but it is something to think about.  I just think a little more parenting might do our kids some good.  In fact I had a healthy fear of being punished at home if I miss-behaved at school.

Back to the house.  I think it was about 30 feet by 40 feet and yes it was a rectangle with one roof line.  That means we had 3 bedrooms and about 1200 square feet with 2 adults and 3 kids.  Larry and I shared a bedroom.  We turned out ok as far as I can tell but you might want to ask some of my friends.  Debbie got her own room and it was kind of girlie if you know what I mean.  There was one bathroom and no shower but the great thing was there was an old time stove in the bathroom which served multiple purposes.  First of course it would warm the room so when you got out of the shower it was warm or if you were on the toilet it kept you warm.  The other advantage was when there was a smell generated by someone taking a dump it burned up the gas if you know what I mean (do I need to explain and I don't know why we did not say leaving a dump vs. taking a dump).  That little stove was an open flame with grates and it was a delight.  I am certain that some activist group got those outlawed because you never see them anymore.  The rest of the house was heated by an old brown furnace with grates in it set in the hallway.   The living area, dining area and kitchen were heated by the fireplace which was huge.  I bet the limestone seat was at least 10 or 12 feet long.  We moved up in the world as we now had linoleum floors NOT that old fashioned oak floors.  Things have changed again.  The dining room table was made by dad out of a new door and it was pretty cool.  Mom had copper tone appliances in the kitchen and there were no microwaves back then.  Like most houses we had multiple entrances and the main one was never used as it faced the south and the north entrance was most often used by company while we used what we called the back porch.  The back porch which was inside the house is where the washer and dryer and a freezer big enough to hold at least a quarter of a calf and I remember having a hog in there plus all the frozen vegetables from the garden.  I bet the freezer was 8 to 10 feet long and it was a chest freezer so it stood about four feet tall.

What I remember was I carried nails and anything Dad wanted as I loved being there to help him.  If he needed boards I insisted on carrying them.   He would not let me get on the roof when he did the shingling but I carried shingles up the ladder and handed them to him.  The entire process took several months because Dad had to take care of the farm and carry the mail as a rural mail carrier each day then work on the house in between all the chores and work.  Larry and Debbie were at school so I was the main help.  Bill Head helped do the finalelectrical wiring as Dad and I ran the wires but Bill wired all the connections.  Yes that is Bill as in Mrs. Head, my English teacher, and their Barbeque sauce son Danny who runs Head Country.  Dad wound up becoming the builder for about everyone around Grainola and a bunch in Shidler and he always used Bill Head for the electric work. 

That house was pretty spiffy and it was about the only house I remember that was totally landscaped.  Mom and Dad loved landscaping and gardening and they went to a lot of effort to learn about landscaping from the county agent which I remember being Mr. Dowell who lived in Fairfax.  The last few things I thought were really special is that the house was built between a few really big trees, one which became my tree house tree and you could not put your arms around the trunk it was so big and then in the front yard there were originally 3 really big cedars but one was split by lightening and we had to cut it down.  The front porch faced the east and we would sit out there in those old metal lawn chairs for hours watching the evening activities of coyotes running across the hill side and listening to the crickets and frogs making racket plus literally thousands of fire flies flashing their yellow lights on and off.  Usually the dog was sitting there with us and a few cats.  At one time I had 23 cats.  Of course NO animals were allowed in the house.

I guess I should correct that.  Once the dog was allowed in the house because it was so cold and we have a picture of the dog lying on the couch and DAD sleeping on the floor.  Another time I brought my show steer which weighed about 1200 lbs. into the house at which MOM started telling me to get him out of there.  I thought it was pretty funny myself.

So what do you learn in the Osage?
  • Kids learn a lot from watching their parents
  • A new house is not a home unless the family is together
  • Don't you wish it was your choice how you want to heat your house rather than the government?
  • If you hold on to something long enough it will be in style again, kind of like wood floors
Thanks for your time,
Gary@thepioneerman.com

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