The House on Fourth Street was our first home.
I had just accepted a different job in a different city in a different state, and we had only one weekend to find a house.
We looked at the House on Fourth Street on a Saturday morning, but dismissed it because it was old and peculiar.
That night, the lovely Mrs. Borengasser had a dream that we should give it one more visit. We did. And we bought it.
It turned out that our assessment was accurate. The house was old and peculiar. It had been built over 80 years ago. (To put this in perspective, if the house were a dog, it would have been more than 560 years old!)
Like people, houses change as they age.
They start out naïve, giggly, and eager to please. But as the years accumulate, they get grumpy, impatient, and uncompromising. They begin to smell funny, develop strange aches and pains, and become leaky. The House on Fourth Street had reached this stage.
The house was certainly peculiar. The entire two-story structure was heated by a single glass heater located in the living room. In the winter, the upstairs was so cold, we used it for an auxiliary refrigerator.
This worked great. You just had to careful you didn’t kick over the milk, or step in the Velveeta.
The House on Fourth Street had ghosts. They were nice enough, I suppose. And somewhat shy. They would occasionally bounce on the bed late at night, or disappear around a corner in a ball of light. At least, they were housetrained. They never had little ectoplasm accidents.
Perhaps we had ghosts because the previous owner of the House on Fourth Street was a mortician. Others may talk of skeletons in the closet. Hah! We had real skeletons in our closet. Fortunately, they were only a couple of garfish mounted on a wooden plank.
Attached to the garage was a root cellar, a dark, dirty dungeon which was a sanctuary for creepy crawlers. To live there, you had to be ugly, nasty tempered, and have six or more legs. (I was lucky. I only had two out of three of these requirements. Four more legs and I might have had to live down there myself.)
Shortly after we moved in, I was walking across the bedroom, and the floor collapsed. I immediately called a carpenter and went on a diet.
Obviously, the House on Fourth Street wasn’t perfect. Far from it. The house was like your eccentric Uncle Waldo, who wears pizza-stained shirts, mumbles about government conspiracies, and chases the neighborhood kids out of the yard with a wiffle bat. But what are you going to do? He’s your uncle.
In other words, it may have been an oddball house, but it was our oddball house.
Over the years, our family and the House on Fourth Street got used to each other, even grew to enjoy each other’s company. It became a wonderful relationship.
But, eventually, like most people in this day and age, we had to move on.
Today, we live in a fine respectable house – bright, friendly, and mature.
But every once in a while, I think back on the House on Fourth Street.
I suspect I have more in common with it now.
I’m becoming old and peculiar myself.