Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home is Where the Heart Is

Story by Louise Lahmann

After being remodeled
We moved into the home where I live in Oak Grove in 1963. The house was in need of lots of repairs and my husband Al being a handy man went right to work. There was a big hole in the front porch. When the previous owner left they took the kitchen cupboards and the sink with them. I had to wash the dishes in the bath tub until Al and his brother Ray built new cupboards and a new sink in.

Al did so many things to fix this house up it’s hard to remember now. He remodeled every room and built on to the bathroom and kitchen. He changed the stairway downstairs into a closet and made a new stairway down to the basement out of a little kitchen nook that wasn’t good for much else.

There was a partial basement (more of a dirt cellar) and Al dug more than half of it out and made a laundry room, huge bedroom and closet and a large family room. That was a lot of work and it turned out beautifully as he changed everything to suit him and he was a perfectionist so everything had to be just so. He took pride in his work and I had great admiration for all the things he did. He was quite a wonderful person.
Al & me later in life, after his illness took hold

I never liked the construction phase with all the dust and noise (even though he cleaned up afterwards) but it was worth it as it was so much nicer when the work was done. I helped him when I could.

He remade the front wood porch by pouring a cement slab. He built a small patio off the back door coming from the basement and another patio off the kitchen. There was no foundation on the north side of the house so he had to jack the house up so he could put a new foundation under it. I helped him with that, whew, a lot of work. It was all a labor of love.

He did all this work on his time off from his regular job as he worked full time at Publishers Paper Company. It was not an easy job at the mill either as he worked a different shift each week so had to keep adjusting to a new schedule. I know it was difficult for him but he hardly ever complained. He was a good provider.

Off to work
Later he built a fence around the property to keep out the neighbors dogs, as back then dogs roamed free. He put in three gates and paved the driveway back to the garage. He put in a gravel drive on the other side of the house and a carport so we could have a place to park our other car. Later, we put in an electric garage door. It seemed there was always some improvement and Al was up for the job. Sometimes I wondered where he got all of his energy.

Besides building and remodeling, Al was a master woodcrafter and had many tools to work on his different projects.  He built book cases, closets, lamps, picture frames, file cabinets and even grandfather clocks. He could make anything to order and designed and made up his own patterns many times. Anything he could see he could turn around and create. He had a good sense of humor and liked to build whimsical toys, whirligigs and a variety of windmills.

File cabinet he made
But after a while he got too sick to do much around the house and after he broke both of his ankles (at different times) it was difficult to stand for long hours in his workshop.  I know he missed being able to make new things and left many projects unfinished. He would get frustrated because he just couldn’t do it like he used to.

I love this house and all it means to me because of or shared labors. Every place I look is a reminder of my life with Al.  He was so talented and capable and left me with a beautiful home and thousands of wonderful memories.

No comments:

Post a Comment