Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Please Excuse The Dust IV: Destruction and Dreams

Where were we in this story I began last week?
Ah, yes - that young couple who bought Don C. Merchanthouse's home...

When first married, my parents rented a house in Hagerstown, Indiana. Conveniently for Dad, but not for Momma, the house was located exactly two blocks south of the Ron-de-Voo, the local bar. 

It didn't take either of them long to realize that the current location was less than ideal. Momma and Dad found a house for sale in the country two miles south of Greens Fork, and one Sunday they attended the open house. 

To Momma, it was perfect. Everything about it. 
The location. 
The land. 
The big old farmhouse: a perfect place to raise a family. 

It's been said (by Dad) that they didn't live there two years before there was nothing right about the house. What Momma had fallen in love with (shag carpet, drafty windows and asbestus shingles) she now wanted gone. 

So they started small. 
Wall-by-wall, tearing them down and getting rid of the horse hair plaster. 

But wall-by-wall only revealed more problems in the “perfect” home. 
And, more artifacts from generations of homesteaders before. 
They found a leather lace up baby boot. 
A calendar from 1918. 
A bottle of wine (yes, they opened it and it nearly killed them). 

The good news is that the frame of the home was steady and stable. The timbers crafted by the “local men of toil” in 1843 were still solid and fit together perfectly. But the walls and windows (and roof) we’re in great need of replacement. 

My parents soon realized that that in order to get the home they dreamt of, it was going to take a lot (like - a lot, a lot) more work. 
And money. 
And time. 
But they're a determined pair (and hard headed) and moved forward anyway. 

Along the way, Momma put her own artifacts within the new walls of the home. She left notes that told the story of our family, current events in the news and also the price of gas and groceries. I wish I could be around in 100 years when another family finds those treasures. 

Over time, they found more helpers. 
We always showed up on time and we didn't drink on the job. 

There is not a single wall in the home today that is the original. 
The chimneys and fireplaces are all there. 

The beams and frame remain the same. I like to think of it as a new home with an old heart. 

The left, vertical beam was actually brought in from a barn where Momma grew up. 

My parents sure made it their own. The details speak volumes of their love for this place. 
Dad cut down an oak tree along Washington Road when we were very little.

From that tree our bookcase, entertainment center and woodwork were made. 

The house is done now, by most standards.


There are still repairs to be made. Like in Luke's room. Where he hung his glory days football helmet stickers and Momma has tried (for years) to find a non-destructive way to peel them off. 

The house isn't perfect - it never will be. 
But it is like this old friend that doesn't judge; 
it quietly sits back, painfully waiting for us to come visit. 

Home always does. 

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