Thursday, April 26, 2012

House Hunting in the Days of Yore

Remember the first time you went looking for a house? How about the second or third time? It's the great American Dream to own a home and my husband and I have owned three. The following is the story of Hunt #2 from way back in the 'olden days' as our granddaughter, Anna, would say.

Dining Room With a View

About the only thing that appealed to my husband and me was that the realtor had said it was in the country. Or sort of in the country considering it was central New Jersey, near Trenton where we’d just been re-located from upstate New York by his company. It was the mid seventies, we had two rowdy young boys and we wanted a house – fast. So off we went to see the ‘attached house’ as it was called. This would be a large house, divided down the middle with two front doors, renters on one side, us on the other. Okay, we’d look.

Our concern level began to rise the minute we saw the tiny kitchen.

“What do you mean there’s no heat in here?” I asked.

“Well, no central heat,” said the realtor, “but there’s this nice little stove,” she added quickly, sweeping her hand over the little wood burner. “You can even cook on it!”

I tossed my husband a look as we continued to the upstairs, via a very narrow stairwell with a shaky banister. Concern level, up a notch. Okay, the upstairs wasn’t too bad, had just been done over, in fact. My mind began to solve some of the problems, including a heating duct to the kitchen. I mean, how hard could that be? After all the house had a nice yard, an income opportunity in the other half of the house and a dining room, something I’d always wanted. We saw that room next. It wasn’t huge but it had possibilities. My small table and chair set would probably fit and I imagined a happy holiday or two with Grandma at the head of the table. Then I noticed a flowered, cloth-covered screen at the end of the room, blocking one corner. I asked the realtor what is was and she sighed as she walked over to it.

“Well, now remember, the family had an older member who couldn’t get up the stairs anymore . . .” she said, hesitating as she assessed the anticipation on our faces. Then she pulled the screen aside. “It’s the bathroom.”

Sure enough, there it sat, the toilet in all its white enameled glory. It was positioned very near where I’d imagined Grandma would be enjoying her apple pie come Thanksgiving. Somehow I didn’t think she’d appreciate the view. Sides splitting, we gathered up our rowdy boys and left.    

Image: Salvatore Vuono                                                               Free Digital Photos

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