First Home – 612

We’re digging footings on another new house next week.  It’s a common occurrence in our construction world… but every few years there’s extra excitement over the deal because it’s a house for us.   And that’s the case this time.   It’s another chapter in our lives.  And it seems all the chapters can be summed up in the homes where they took place.

So chapter one is “612”.  (Obviously named for its address.)  Our very first humble abode.  We were teenagers, but ever so practical.  Before we got married, Gary had the idea that we should buy a house and fix it up.  Both of us still lived with our parents, and the idea of paying rent was brand new.  Just seemed absurd to do that when we could own a home.   So we searched around and found this little mess for less than $20,000.  Convincing the loan officer at the bank that we were 100% positive we were going to get married, he let us buy the house, and we set out to turn it into a sweet little cottage. 

My favorite part of the loan story is that we just about swore we would NEVER buy another house because the paperwork was just overwhelming.  Ha! 

Six months later the house had undergone a delightful transformation.   Friends and family joined us in our enthusiasm to have it ready to move into.  I dare not even begin the list of people who shared in our labor of love because I’ll leave people out.   Inside and out we had so much support!  Thank you, all over again, to the amazing people in our lives who have been part of our story. 

It was a tiny little place.  Two little bedrooms and one little bathroom.  But that first Christmas I invited everyone from all the families to come over for a party… and they all came.  We just packed everyone into that house.  And surely the big crowd helped with the temperature inside, because the only way to ever be truly warm in the winter was to stand right in front of the single panel heater.

We finished college in that house.  We had an old “step van” sitting out in front always – which mortified me with its looks, but it held all the flooring tools that kept us in money.  Our other cars were always coming and going to our various jobs.  I taught in Clovis.  Gary worked for the Portales schools.  I worked at the Hallmark store, Gary worked for another contractor.  When we weren’t working at work, we were working on the house.

We built fences, we built patios, we planted trees, we refinished the wood flooring, we knocked out the front and put in a bay window, we were forever tearing out another old thing and putting in new things.   One spring break during college when everyone was heading off for warmer weather, we spent the week adding siding up in the gables to give the house a fresh new look.  Oh my goodness.  It was never-ending.  But we had an absolute ball.

One day we took a phone call in that house.  Gary stood in the kitchen on that line, and I stood in the bedroom on the other phone, and we looked at each other with jaws dropped as the woman on the other end of the line offered us teaching jobs in the Virgin Islands. 

So we had a garage sale and were astonished at what can be accumulated in four short years.  We sold the black and white television set that we’d carried back and forth between the living room and the bedroom all those years, and we sold the house.  We put some things in storage, packed about 6 suitcases – if I remember correctly – and we moved off to St. Thomas to begin another chapter.

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