Tuesday, January 15, 2008

.......Back to the Shoebox

I was lucky to find this little gem as I digitized my family photos. It was carefully folded and tucked away among old photos, greeting cards, and report cards. It is pretty fragile, and is quite old. After studying it for about 30 seconds, I realized that it is a floorplan for my grandmother's house. I showed it to my mother, and also asked my grandmother about the constrution of the home.

The story goes that my grandfather built this house himself. It was built during WWII at a time when building materials were rationed. At that time period, they were only allowed to purchase around $300 in materials at a time. The photo here is the front of the paper. On the back were several sets of figures that all tallied up to around $300. My grandmother said that the neighbors pulled together, and some of them went to the lumber yard and purchased their $300 worth of lumber to allow them to gather enough materials to build the house in the required stages. She also mentioned borrowing money against an old chevy car they owned, and as soon as that loan was paid, they would again borrow against the chevy. The family moved into that home before it was completed. The exterior walls were wrapped in black felt or tar paper, and the interior walls ,while framed, were not covered. Sheets and linens were hung around the framing of the bathroom to give privacy to it's users.

My grandmother still lives in this home. I wondered for years why she is so stubborn as to stay there instead of moving in with one or other of her children. After hearing her story, about the struggle they went through to build the house I now uunderstand. The home represents a defining moment in her life at a defining moment in our nations history. It also is a big part of who my grandfather was, and what he was capable of achieving.

What's in your shoebox?

1 comment:

Heasleye said...

Now that is cool! I love looking at floorplans, and because of this one's history in your family, I would consider it a real treasure. If there is writing on the back, maybe a double-sided frame of some sort would preserve it and it could be hung with some neat photos of the house today? My cousin had an artist friend do pencil sketches of her childhood house, her husband's childhood house and their current house and has them hanging in a row on a wall in their house. This sort of thing would fit nicely with that arrangement. Anyway, neat find!