Eleventh Home – The Cottage

Thankfully, while we were still living on Guam, we’d decided it was time to start investing in some rental property.   So, we had purchased this 6-unit apartment complex in Portales.  Along with some newer apartments came two cottages that had been built in the early 1900s.  Tiny little things.  You could reach up and touch the ceiling in the bedroom.  A chain smoker had been living in one of those cottages for years, and the timing was right, with him moving out, for us to overhaul the place with lots of scrubbing and fresh paint, then to move ourselves into it.

For any of you who have ever blessed Gary and me with the compliment that we’ve been mentors to you, I hope you’ll pay attention to this “chapter”.   Because this chapter is important.  It’s not one of the lovely ones.   This was a swallow-your-pride, do-whatever-it-takes, pick-up-the-shovel-and-dig-another-well time in our lives.

We moved back to Portales in June of 2002.   I remember it was June, because that’s my birthday.  Gary has always loved giving me wrist watches.  That year he gave me a pretty pair of pink leather work gloves and a new watch.   The card said “It’s time to get back to work!”

We went back to work doing any job we could get our hands on.  Lots of small remodeling jobs, just like we’d done when we were kids living here.  We were determined to make back all the money we’d lost in the financial fiasco of the previous year.

My grandmother was suffering from Alzheimer’s, and for the two years we lived in that little cottage it was my great privilege to go to my grandparents’ home every morning and make them breakfast to get their day started.   I will forever remember how grateful I was that we’d lost all that money… because without that event, I’m not sure we would have moved back to Portales.  And getting to be with three of my grandparents who were still living at the time was priceless.  I sang Wayne Watson’s song to myself often.   “For such a time as this, I was placed upon the earth.”

Gary is a determined individual.  He’s always worked hard to rise to any challenge.  I know how hard it was for him to take so many steps backwards to start all over again, but he did it with gusto.  We were back to square one, but moving on!


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