Let’s start at the beginning. When we were first married, we lived in the northeast side of town in a cute little split level house. We became engaged in February of 1983 and set our wedding date for June 18 of that same year. That gave us little time (4 months) to plan a wedding and find living quarters. Wilma’s apartment and my tiny little house wouldn’t fit our needs, so we needed to get to it.

We looked at several houses, finally finding our house-to-be when we did our own cruising, looking for available properties. We had spent some time with a real estate agent, but that had gotten us only a few choices, despite his efforts to put us in a home. So we continued to drive around town, looking for the real estate signs that would lead us to a house. Sure enough we found one.

The NE house in 1984

We checked with our agent – he wasn’t familiar with the place, so he checked it out. Lo and behold, it fit our budget – and in fact, it was quite a low price, since the sellers had been transferred out of town. The place was for sale by Merrill/Lynch, who were looking to rid themselves of the place.

So we made an offer that was accepted, allowing us to close the deal in May. We moved in our stuff and there we were. A double stall garage, lots of storage, a small kitchen, and some nice space for us to use.

But then our daughter arrived in 1985, and our son in 1988. That sweet little house seemed to shrink in on us. Wilma and I began a fun little hobby of running around to open houses just to see what was out there. Oh, we had looked some before, but now it was time to seriously take a look.

And that’s what we did on that sunny Sunday afternoon on January 26, 1989. We had seen a few houses when we came upon our present home. The place was empty – no furniture, part of an open house affair for the weekend.

The house had a main floor and a walkout basement. Nicely done kitchen cabinets, double stall garage, and two fireplaces, one up, one down. 3 bedrooms up, and a couple of rooms below that could serve as bedrooms, along with a nice laundry room. Bonus of all bonuses, a very nice deck that was in the process of being completed. It was already screened in, but still needed a little work.

And out beyond the back yard, kids were sliding on a hill. There was so much snow that we didn’t know until spring that the back yard was fenced in.

Wilma and I split our routes at first. We each checked out the levels independently, touring the house at our own pace. We met back at the front door, thanked the agent and drove home to our sweet little place in the northeast side of town.

We got home and walked in the door, hanging up our jackets. For the life of me, I have no idea if the kids came with us or not. Anyway, I looked at Wilma, she looked at me. Almost in unison, we said, “Was it just me or was that a good one?”

Well, clearly, it was. We saw it again a few days later, made an offer, and made the deal. To add to the fun, this house, too, was for sale because the owners got transferred and was owned by Merrill/Lynch. We moved in on March 25 in a rain storm … and thanks to our friends who helped: Lauren, Max, Larry and Terry and a moving company for the big stuff.

So we’ve seen our kids grow up here. We have had many visitors. We’ve hosted family events. We’ve housed folks for a music festival. We’ve had Wilma’s parents’ trailer parked in the driveway. The kids and I have played catch in the street. We’ve installed things, had things removed, repaved the driveway, hung new gutters, put in some new appliances – all that physical stuff, yes, but there’s lots of love here too.

We have been in the house 25 years now. We went through refinancing twice – for a home improvement plan and to buy our little lake place; – but just this past fall, we made our last payment on the mortgage. After all that time, the place is ours. Our very own American Dream.

For Wilma and me, it is home. Now that we are retired, I don’t know how much longer we will be here, but has been and is a fine home.

How fortunate and blessed we are.

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