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THE HOUSE'S STORY

Updated on September 3, 2012

GOODBYE, HOUSE, GOODBYE!

I was built in 1978 on land purchased from John Trent in 1976. I was used as a summer cabin for the first 13 years of my life, but found a new existence when purchased by Gerry Walker on Labor Day weekend, 1991. When Gerry bought me, I still had cedar shingles inhabited by 18 bats, my basement was a mudhole with a boat in it, and I had no insulation from cold, heat, or noise.

That fall, Harvey, Gerry’s friend, came to visit,and he helped her install an inside roof with R-19 insulation in the loft bedroom ceiling. In March of ‘92, Harvey and Gerry left me while they trekked the entire nation for six months, visiting many national parks and forests en route to Alaska,where they summered while attending a Hall Family Reunion, hosted by Harvey’s sister and husband in Anchorage.

March of 1993. The Blizzard! That Friday night, March 13th, it snowed, blew 80 mph, drifting snow to 10 feet in places. Lying in bed, Gerry and Harvey heard the pines “crack”, but no other sounds as they landed in four feet of snow on the roof!

For 10 days, I didn’t have any power. No power, no pump, no pump, no water! They emptied the water heater and put it in the toilet tank; flushed once a day. Harvey spent the days chopping wood and teaching Gerry to cook in a fireplace. Gerry chopped and stirred by day; they cuddled under lots of quilts at night. You could see daylight at one corner of the roof on the northeast side.

Later that year, Gerry had my exterior roof reconstructed by hiring Farrell Smith, a local carpenter, to remove all the existing shingles (we found new homes for the displaced bats), installed 2 x 4 framing over the entire roof (and it’s a BIIIIG roof!); in between each framed section placed R-19 batts (another kind of bat!) for superior insulation, over that went C grade exterior plywood, roofing paper,and brand new shingles from Georgia Pacific.

Inside, my flat walls were primed and painted and lots of contemporary paintings and objets d’art placed in special spots throughout the house, bringing color and excitement to every room.

Grey Berber carpet came next, throughout the main and loft floors. Harvey removed each step of the circular staircase, cut carpet to fit, and reinstalled them with screws. No more loose steps!

In the basement, I was treated to a drywall ceiling with plastered effect, more insulation, then came the central air and heat, a beautiful Trane heat pump. BOY! I was now SUPER ENERGY EFFICIENT! Not to mention that TVA gives me a special electric rate since their lakefront is part of the property.

In year 2000, the family came to visit for the one and only Family Reunion Gerry hosted. Grandma Jennings was there along with Amy and Barry and their three children, Liz, Christina and Nick. The kids had a wonderful time dashing up and down the circular staircase; Nick helped Gramma Cookie (their nickname for Gerry) bake her special oatmeal cookies with their Secret Ingredient!

In 2001 Grandma Jennings suffered a paralyzing stroke and things began to fall apart. Gerry spent four years caring for Grandma and in 2004 she and Grandma mourned through a terrible weekend here watching Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne destroy Grandma’s mobile in Fort Pierce. Gerry had friendly builders enlarge my bathroom door so Grandma’s wheelchair could get through,but once the storm was over, Grandma insisted on returning to Ft. Pierce to see the damage, and she and Gerry stayed to live in Gerry’s previously acquired townhouse.

Grandma died in 2005, and after some knee surgery in 2007 Gerry returned to the mountains, thinking she was here for good.

Summer of 2007. Son David came to visit, to borrow money. Gerry loaned him a large sum from the equity that had built up in me over many years, and he promised he’d pay it back in two years. He was not able to keep that promise, and though Gerry sold everything she could, borrowed from friends and relatives, worked for Census for a year and a half while caring for her elderly auntie, she has been unable to continue paying the mortgage. Then, on Friday of Labor Day weekend last year, Gerry suffered a compression fracture trying to adjust my dock lines down on the lakeshore. She had an epiphany. It was time for her to leave the lake.

This coming Tuesday, September 4, 2012, the 2nd mortgage goes on the block. Gerry is leaving me for Fort Pierce, her birthplace,where she plans to write family history and live where someone else takes care of the yard and maintenance.

A little extra note here: I have two real honest to goodness woodburning fireplaces. Each one has its own cleanout on the screened porch. Which reminds me...

The hand-built dock and screened porch off the basement were finishing touches in 1995, and I’m ready to enjoy families and friends for the rest of my life. Hopefully you’ll be part of it and know the peace and tranquility of the mountains and lake for many years, as Gerry has.

Sincerely,

The House
Labor Day, 2012

Comments

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    • gerrywalker profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerry Walker 

      6 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      Thanks, appreciate your comments...never wrote a "Christmas letter" though! Gee, what have I missed!

    • profile image

      Ghost32 

      6 years ago

      I came to check out your profile after you left a comment on my "talking house" Hub--only to discover that your house not only talks but writes letters as well! It also has those obvious "eyes" on the top floor, much as the talking cartoon Muppet houses do.

      Nice article, even if this house does have a "voice" that reminds me of the form "Christmas letters" favored by my siblings...:)

      Vote Up and More.

    • gerrywalker profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerry Walker 

      7 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      Yes, but I was lucky to be healthy enough to enjoy it for over 20 years and have lots of great memories. Just wish I'd been able to sell it! as it is, it's going to sell via a short sale agreement and I don't know how long that will take. Fortunately found a good real estate agent who will handle that.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Too ba that you must leave what sounds like a nice place that you were tailor making to your needs.

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