Considering what to blog about this week, I thought first about doing a Tuneful Tuesday of songs about houses. I came up with five songs – which would make a very long blog similar to last week’s about World War I – so I decided to have one song per day with something about one of the five houses we’ve owned during our marriage.
Here’s a photo of our first house, in Waseca, Minnesota. The photo was taken in 1990, long after we left it, but the only exterior difference is that the owners were apparently replacing or repairing the porch steps. We bought it for $10,000 in the fall of 1973 when Onkel Hankie Pants was teaching English in the local high school. I did not see the house before purchase, as I was in Maine visiting my parents after being discharged from the Army; we needed a place to live and there were few apartments available, so we became homeowners a bit sooner than we’d expected. The location was good, only four blocks from downtown with its library, small supermarket, Ben Franklin and the Busy Bee Café. The church we ended up joining was only two houses away, which was convenient in those days when we were still young enough to sleep late on Sunday mornings.
Not every song I came up with for this week is necessarily relevant to the houses we owned, but this one is:
This song captures a bit of what it was like for us, having only been together about 14 out of our first 64 weeks of marriage, to be making our first real home together. We had no money; OHP’s salary that first year of teaching was less than he had been making in the Army. Our furniture consisted of cast-offs from OHP’s parents and other relatives. Our glassware came from Shopko, except for a couple of heavy glass beer mugs that came from a gas station. (And we don’t really even like beer!) Our dishes would be very cool now, but in the early ‘70s when earthtones were in fashion, the white and turquoise modernistic dishes from Mom’s basement were just something to keep the food off the tablecloth.
The song talks about “two cats in the yard,” and we did have two cats in that house, but not simultaneously. Finn, a ginger cat, was our first. Sadly, he was hit by a motorcycle and died soon after we brought SonShineIn home from the hospital. That was a day of ups and downs, as it was also the day we learned that my parents were surprising us with a visit – the only time they were able to come to Minnesota, but then, a first grandchild is pretty special. A few weeks after Finn’s death, one of my coworkers at the library offered us a kitten born in a corncrib on the farm where he was renting a house. Bunter, a grey tabby (and female despite the name) lived to be 17 and moved with us to all our subsequent homes except the one we live in now.I could tell some more stories about our first house – there was a cistern in the basement! Heat came up through a large floor grate in the middle of the living-dining room, and we sometimes had to bring the car battery in to keep it warm overnight since we didn’t have a garage. But that’s enough for today.