Looking Back . . . and Ahead

We’ve been re-re-remodeling our old house. Again. Yep.

It’s good to look back to when we first purchased this property. It wasn’t what we were looking for, but in a town of 1,000 or so, you don’t always have a wide choice. I wanted a big old square house with a front porch, but none were on the market when we moved here. So . . .

We found a home with history. Guess that fits us both, although at the time, I hadn’t begun writing WWII novels. I did look into the history of this structure, though, and discovered it was one of the first built in St. Ansgar. 1873.

This place has been through more than I can imagine, although I did get to interview someone from the family that built it, and learned so much about area history in general. This woman worked in the onion fields around here when she was young, (Depression years) and went on to graduate from Iowa State with a degree in Home Economics.

Now the house is hardly recognizable as the same one–scroll back a couple of posts and you’ll see an article called There’s No Place Like . . . The project we began this winter made a huge structural change. The central wall above the basement stairway blocked heat flow from the back to the front, so we gulped and ripped out that wall. Turned out to strengthen the whole building, since the supporting walls hadn’t been tied together well.

In a word, Lance’s upstairs office (with a lot of heavy files) was sitting on a fault line a bit like the San Adreas. Of course, we didn’t know this.

Our brilliant carpenter taught us a lot. Whoo boy.

Now, all is well. Not finished, but mostly. Mostly is that word in builder language that gives people the jitters. Just what part of all remains to be completed? Painting will surely continue ad nauseum–Lance is hard at that, and does a great job.

Anyhow, the old house has even more charm at this point, and we’re glad we stuck with her. (Houses are female, yes?) I shall stop soon, lest I get into pc trouble.

Can’t help but think about parallels between this house and our lives. Just as this home has become much more open with age, so have we. At this point we can literally see from the front door to the back. (Remember, I said it’s not finished…)

And it’s stronger. Most of the time, I think we are, too. We can be open because we know who we are. Our fault lines have become clear, and that’s a good thing. Socrates instructed his followers, Know thyself. And the sign above the window waaay back there in the photo says . . . It’s A Wonderful Life.

Enough on this topic. It’s good to be home, and may the month of March go out like a lamb for you, wherever you are.

6 thoughts on “Looking Back . . . and Ahead

  1. What a great post! I love the parallels between our homes and our hearts. As we get older (er, more mature), we too open up, we flow better, and we become stronger (spiritually at least). Thank you for sharing the photos and the wonderful lesson in faith. God’s blessings ma’am.

  2. Sounding very familiar at present, I am in process of rehab on my house of the same era – 1885 – eliminating water and mould damage, rebuilding a flat roof, a ceiling and 2 walls, and a floor through which a personal foot had descended! Unbelievable change in mood with the rotten mouldy wood out of the house and doors wide open to blow fresh air through. Just like opening our hearts to allow the breath of God to flow through us and onto others.

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