Wednesday, January 23, 2008

860 Columbia Lane

September, 1969

We were homeowners! Our trailer was 8 feet wide and 35 feet long and cost us $1,800. Fuel oil tanks on the front provided our heat and our first purchase was a tiny cooler that sat on top. The rent for our space was $11 a month. We were thrilled! Dee gave me a tiny hand painted locket on a chain with a key to his blue VW bug, and the key to our front door as a wedding present.

The trailer came furnished, except for a bed. This is the front end. Across from the couch we built a bookcase from cinder blocks and boards covered in burlap. Dee's homemade collection of reel-to-reel tapes with all of Churchill's speeches sat in the honorary position on top.

If you turn around you'll be in the kitchen.

Old Trailer, 1969

Notice the real pine paneling. We loved it. To the right (out of the picture) was the heater. It had to be lit with a match and was probably very dangerous. The oven was also lit with a match, as were the burners.

The wall next to the stove is actually a sliding door leading to the bedroom, which was exactly as long as our double bed, with a little space on one side. There was a built-in nightstand next to the bed, and we added an ornate green glass hanging lamp, made by my friend Susie Dee as a wedding present. There was one tiny closet in the whole house, and only the cupboard space you see here.

Between the kitchen and the bedroom was a tiny hall with two sliding doors. When the doors were closed, we were in the bathroom. We sat on the toilet to brush our teeth since the sink was just inches away. From that same perch we could easily reach to turn on the water for a bath. It was very convenient.

Three days before our wedding we did the interior decorating. With three dollars I bought a green and blue flowered shower curtain, and some powder blue plastic flowers to stick on the floor of the 2' x 3' tub/shower. Dee painted the kitchen and bathroom blue. We were so pleased with the results that we held an open house!

Mom and Dad came with another couple in tow, to tour our new digs. They had to walk through individually because the hall wasn't long enough or wide enough to accommodate more than one person, (unless it was a couple who were young, skinny, and madly in love.) My dad was so claustrophobic that we had to stand outside by the car to eat the cake I made for the occasion.

Ten months later we put a bassinet in the living room, and welcomed our first baby into our little home.
Baby Makes Three
The stars in our eyes that first year of marriage were so dazzling, it was impossible to see the clouds, and storms that were coming down around us. We loved our new life together, our little home and family. Mom complained that we didn't seem part of her family anymore... we weren't. We'd started building our little kingdom and that's where our efforts were focused.

Without a TV, money, or an extra car we were all we had for entertainment. We popped popcorn, and purchased chips with expensive dips for our New Year's Eve celebration. We borrowed an individual slide viewer from Dee's dad, and spent hours looking at our Salzburg slides individually as part of our celebration, remembering the magic of our first days together, reviewing the miracles that had brought us to this point.

We were overwhelmed by our blessings and couldn't believe our luck at having a home of our own for our little family. The amenities were never discussed. We had the two of us and the Lord to discuss decisions with, and a baby to give purpose to our future, and we lived and dreamed, "after the manner of happiness."

Advice: Take pictures of all the rooms of the house you live in, and every house from now on.
Collect evidence of your life so you'll be able to prove your stories aren't exaggerations.


gab said...

That baby is ADORABLE!!!!

Ashlee said...

I love this story! Such a sweet one. A beautiful little family, with such a beautiful outlook on life and what it's really all about.

Rebecca said...

I love the small print advice. So true :) I can remember doing that with our first two apartments, the first of which was a studio. Once the loft was built, and walls painted, I couldn't have been any more proud!

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh...that was so enjoyable. Thanks for being our voice of wisdom.

Do you think newlyweds are so spoiled these days?

Bridget said...

Those pictures are so great. I bet you are SO glad you took them. We had a small studio apartment when we were newlyweds. It was smaller than our current family room. We had kitchen appliances from the 1950's. It was great. We were so, so happy.

And yes Gab, adorable baby. ;)

Christie said...

I can't believe you had a baby in that space. Jessica is right - newlyweds are SPOILED. I think of our first apartment at Shangorilla and we were living high on the hog compared to you guys. Wow.

Jenibelle said...

We got married and moved to an apartment over a three car garage in Watts while my husband went to dental school. There was a fireplace PAINTED on the wall and lime green carpet. The people in front of us fought all the time and barbequed at 3:00 am. We were poor beyond poor, our sweet little daughter was handicapped, we lived in the ghetto and I have never been so happy in my life. Everything was simple.

Unknown said...

i can't believe you fit a christmas tree in there!

mama jo said...

i remember that little place...but it was so cute, because you were such a cute couple having a great life together...and gabi was a doll...she was everyones favorite..

gramakas said...

You know I don't think I ever visited you there... where was I? I think maybe I was busy going to those 3 different colleges in one year! Your trailer looks about the same size as my grandma's basement apartment that we lived in where Heidi got the master bedroom and we slept on a mattress on the front room floor along with our bookshelves made from cinder blocks and 2x6 wood shelves -- those were the days!

Anonymous said...

That could be me sitting in my trailor..

Polly said...

I remember putting new carpet in our trailor in Logan. That was such a big deal..sometimes on Sunday afternoons we'd go to where you bought mobile homes and looked at doublewides, and dream.

kenju said...

A wonderful beginning to a lasting marriage!!