Sunday, September 27, 2020

End of an era

We moved into our Loch Alpine house in 1992, right when we first got married. I still remember when we saw the house for the first time.   We got married on Oct 3, and when we got back from our honeymoon in Hawaii, we went house hunting.  It was Halloween, which is a great time to be in L.A.  We used to have this big bonfire in the sub and the kids all got cider and donuts from the Dexter Cider Mill.  You could feel the excitement!  (sadly, the bonfire was discontinued after the year that the bonfire got a bit out of hand and the Scio Twp. Fire Dept. was quickly invited to the Halloween party to put it out).   We knew we wanted to live somewhere near Ann Arbor, I was working in Dearborn and Andy in Jackson and so it was the halfway point of our commutes.    Plus, I knew I was going to be starting classes soon at the University of Michigan for my MBA, so it made sense to be near Ann Arbor for that reason.   

A fond farewell to the bilevel house we dubbed the "doublewide", due to it's complete lack of architectural style. Despite it's lack of design, it was a great house and it served us well. It was a fixer upper, except it never got completely fixed, but we tried. The guy that built the house in 1978 with his first wife was getting remarried and the place was decorated in what I liked to call "frat house chic", complete with a couch on bricks.   He didn't spend much time there as his fiance had a place in Burns Park, so he was "moving on up".   He was a psych prof at Eastern Michigan University and had one whole cork board wall in his kitchen devoted to sexy photos of his conquests, many of which looked to be his students. In the pre #metoo movement era, this was probably typical, butI can remember being disgusted by it. For whatever reason, he decided his Burns Park lady was "THE ONE",  thankfully.  He decided to move to her place and so we were able to get a great deal on this old house.  He wanted out!  He had replaced the ankle deep shag carpeting that needed a rake to maintain with the world's cheapest berber carpet that we didn't get around to replacing until we put the house on the market ourselves.  So, honoring the now longstanding tradition, we replaced it with the world's cheapest berber carpet in 2020.    When we bought the house, we walked through the night before the closing and the psych professor told us it had a "great kitchen for cooking" and he was right about that.    We did a ton of cooking in that house.    I still remember the kitchen had countertops of Formica that featured a picture of butcherblock, and the vinyl flooring was printed with a picture of bricks.   There was a lot of fake wood and fake bricks in 1970s home decor.   The place was decorated in avocado/harvest gold/orange and if it were still decorated that way, we'd call it "mid century modern" and it would be hip and cool.  My college friend Liisa dubbed it the "Very Brady House".  For the record, I always said "Don't play ball in the house...."

We moved out of our Dearborn rental and in to our starter house (which we never moved on out of shear laziness and fear of packing) on Christmas Eve 1992.   I can remember checking out at Meijer on Ann Arbor-Saline Road that day with 3 toilet seats in my cart.   The checkout attendant asked if I was giving them as gifts and I told her I was replacing the 3 vinyl covered padded toilet seats in our new house.  Why did anyone in the 1970s think the world needed padded toilet seats? 

Over the 28 years we lived there, we redid the kitchen a couple of times, but it always remained a "great kitchen for cooking".   I will miss it, but we will have a great place to cook in our lakehouse up north, too.     I will miss is the marks I drew in the kitchen closet to keep track of how talk the kids were (see above).   I will also miss our great wooded lot and the excellent bonfires we would have in the back yard, and all my gardening exploits there.   We had the best neighbors ever!  Loved raising kids here.  The neighborhood was always teeming with kids, there were woods and streams and lakes to play in.   Most of the play group parents of my era have moved on to other places and there are new parents that have moved in.    Their kids are having a blast playing all over the neighborhood just like mine did.     

We aren't leaving just yet; we found a rental house in Loch Alpine until we retire and move north.  But I will miss the old place.   It had a great kitchen for cooking!