When I moved into my house (which was really my grandparent’s house, F.K. & Opal Vickers), which was known as the Stevens House (Stevens’ House?), no matter how many years I lived there, I was told not to use the chimney because it was ‘rotten.’
I’ve always been a fan of big rooms, and seeings how the chimney wasn’t doing anything but taking up space, I thought I’d knock it down, tear down the walls between my two small rooms, and create one beautiful large room.
I had lived there some eight years by then, on and off. The ‘off’ mainly being time spent in the big house, which in my case, meant Stanford Hospital.
The sun rose through the windows in the East, and I pictured the light moving through my new room, and then setting through my bedroom windows in the West.
The chimney wasn’t ‘rotten’ much further than the few feet above the roof. And then there was the massive foundation as well. See that sledge hammer? Me and that sledge hammer eventually won. And the large room was worth it. I think. I’m not sure I have any pictures of the room itself. I’ll look.
As were wont to do, while wandering the woods. We climbed trees. I don’t remember what Pat was saying down to me. I don’t think it was, as some might suppose, “Get me the Hell out of this tree.” No. We were plenty able to get ourselves out of trees. There was gravity, after all.
And yes, this was on the same day I took the picture of James’s house in the woods. It was, in case I haven’t already mentioned it, a fantabulous day. One of those bright winter days, sort of like today’s weather here in Richmond, where the light is sharp and clear, and the air is cold enough to be brisk, but not too cold to make one’s ears freeze and for frost to form on one’s cheeks.
Here’s the picture of Pat, looking, I’m sure, exactly as he does now, some, oh, decades later. 🙂 I just like using the word ‘decades’ in such situations.
This house was later restored by James Vickers to be an amazing place to live, with wrap around porches, a dock into the lake (which I believe James made), as well as all the modern amenities, with central air and a heating system that keeps it warm and tasty no matter how nasty the winters might get. The last time I checked, J.V. had a separate fuel fed heating plant that ran on those pellets… or corn husks… one of those…
There’s even a wonderful green tin roof. I loved this house before James worked on it, and I’m so glad he was able to restore it and rescue it for the family history it represents.