Happy Corner: Fall’s Approach Brings “Fix-up” To Mind
With our forced “‘sheltering in place” due to the Pandemic our homes have taken quite a beating through the spring and summer. I have done more than my share of meal preparation at a time when I had convinced myself that that phase of my life was past. I have heard many of my friends and acquaintances say the same thing. Fall is a time when we lean toward doing some fixing up of our homes in preparation for the winter months when we stay in, but I think this forced family togetherness makes us ready for a change of scenery indoors. If you are like me, I have spent as much time outdoors as possible until the late July and August heat as made outdoors unbearable.
Now with prospects for cooler weather facing us and still more prospects of avoiding interacting with people, we look at our home interiors and think of ways to make it more inviting. Maybe not a make-over, but at least a refreshing one. As we all know, however, one thing leads to another so a plan is necessary. When I was teaching paragraph development to 8th grade, I told them several methods: one cause/one effect, many causes/one effect, a chain reaction, and etc. The best example of a chain reaction is a home remodeling project. Buy a new sofa. The rest of the furniture looks worn. New furniture makes the carpet or flooring look worn. Then the paint looks all wrong. So before embarking on a remodeling project, it is necessary to have a plan and a budget.
Having lived in our house for 60 years come Labor Day 2020, it has had so many changes over those years that it is hardly the same house. We were able to build with the help of a low interest loan from Farmers Home Administration at a time when teachers salaries were ridiculously low, but with good advice from Extension Homemaker Agent, Mrs. Sally Childers and others, we endeavored to get the most house for the money available to us. I thought of one piece of advice we got and heeded was from Mrs. Creel an older friend who told us to be sure and make the hallway wide enough so that we could be carried out on a stretcher if needed.
I was in a home recently that was a little bigger than ours, about the same age and similar in style, but the hall was a foot narrower. That wider hallway gives a more spacious feel to a home. It made me think of Mrs. Creel’s advice.
Though we couldn’t afford air conditioning in 1959, we did install central heat with the ductwork for central air which we installed much later. Hardwood floors replaced some floors where mold had invaded from building over a crawl space. A recent bathroom remodel replaced the ceramic tile installed by Mr. Jack that had held up remarkably well and the plaster shower and walls of the half bath finished off originally by him gave way many years ago to an expansion into a larger bath and laundry room and garage.
I started out talking about freshening up our homes in preparation for the colder months and strayed over to home improvements, but maybe I have given young people seeking to buy or build a home encouragement. Rather than going deep into debt, build as much of the space you want and make improvements over time. Mr. Tison was able to do some of the work on our house and that made us able to build a little larger house than FHA was allowing at the time. We are grateful for such loans that enable young people to own a home today. We are grateful to those laborers who constructed ours, too. Carpenters were Mr. Jim Metcalf and Mr. Ed Hayes; block layer for the footer was Mr. Dave Leavins; Mr. Paul Jernigan was the brick mason; Mr. Addis Howell and Mr. Frank Treadwell did the plumbing; my dad’s oldest brother, Uncle Perry Wells did the electrical work and Mr. Raymond Steverson built the kitchen cabinets. Jack did a lot of the finish work including all the ceiling moulding and his dad, a retired carpenter, oversaw the construction. I could list a lot of people who have worked on our house over the years, but in 60 years I would surely miss some.