Monday, August 06, 2018

Monday Memories: Home


I don’t recall the exact date, but 40 years ago this month, Livia and I moved into the original house that we built on this property. She and I built it from the ground up, along with a great deal of help from her parents and other family members on both sides. We dug the foundation and poured the cement for it by hand, using a cement mixer and buckets. We dug the septic tanks and lateral line, even though we had to rent a jackhammer to break up the rock layer that’s close to the surface under the ground. We framed it and raised the rafters. It was a lot of work, but it was a darned good house.

The land itself, a little more than three acres, had only one tree on it when we started building. At one time it had been part of a farm, and the whole area was one big field. So at least it’s pretty level. We’ve planted dozens of trees over the years. Some lived, most didn’t. We added some storage barns. We built a detached building that served as my library and writing studio for a number of years. All of that was lost in the wildfire of 2008, almost 30 years after we moved in.

I don’t think there was ever any real question that we would rebuild right here on the same property. In December of ’08, we moved into the new house. Even before that, though, we had moved in a mobile home to live in while we decided what to do and got the new house built. So except for about a month right after the fire when we stayed with Livia’s parents, this piece of ground has been our home for the past 40 years.

I plan for it to remain our home. We’ve lived too much, and lost too much, here to ever go anywhere else. There are too many memories. Even when I’m gone, I want my ashes spread here so I’ll still be part of the place. Maybe some in the front yard, where I sat on the porch and watched the dogs play, and over in front of the garage where Patches is buried, and across the driveway where my studio used to be and Harvey is buried, and out where Dobie and Max are resting . . .

Well, you get the idea. I ain’t goin’ anywhere.

13 comments:

Walker Martin said...

Thanks for sharing this great story James. I guess fires have to be a home owners worst nightmare, followed by floods. I know what you mean when you say you ain't going nowhere. I moved my family and collection into a new home in 1989 and it was such a hassle and ordeal that I swore I'd never move again.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Great story and picture. I know building a house like that is beyond my abilities now, and would have been 40 years ago as well. Well done.

Keith West said...

Thanks for sharing. Especially the part about the dogs.

Richard Krauss said...

Thanks, James. You and your family are an inspiration.

Peter Brandvold said...

You two kids have had quite a life together. I admire and envy you both. Thanks for sharing your memories, James.

Anonymous said...

Great, moving post.
That's true home ground, James. You belong there.

John Hocking

Rick Robinson said...

Great post, James. Keep it up - the writing, the living, the posting - and hug a dog.

wayne d. dundee said...

Great memories, James. Like Mean Pete said, I admire and envy you and Livia ... Some day, after I'm gone from this earthly plain, my ashes will be mixed with Pam's. If even a small scoop of those remains were to be scattered over the ground of all the places we lived, it would take a truckload of ashes to begin with. (Okay, no cracks anybody -- I know I'm on the, er, hefty side, but I still ain't gonna leave *that* many ashes.)

Howard said...

A wonderful remembrance. For better and for worse, indeed.

Unknown said...

Awwwww

James Reasoner said...

I like the way Livia looks like she knows exactly what she's doing in that picture (she did) and I look like I'm thinking, "Oh, crap, oh, crap!"

Will Robertson said...

Thanks for the great picture and memories, James. I hope y'all have many more enjoyable years there (above ground, of course). As a long-time reader of your blog, I've already gathered that you-all are fine folks, but your dog comments really underscore it.

Oh, and congratulations on the Italian edition of TEXAS WIND!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Great story, James. We lived a little southwest of you for 26 years--between Weatherford and Cool. Five years ago we downsized to Hurst. What a hassle and we miss out larger home soooo much. This house isn't so bad but has no storage. It'll take blasting powder to get us out of this one, though.