My Beloved Daughter,
We lived in two different houses in Campbell, MO. The first was on Speedway Street. It had originally been a two-bedroom house and the prior owner—an elderly woman—had purchased a metal, prebuilt shed and attached it to the back of the house. I took that room as my bedroom and my Grandpa Winfred moved in with us and lived in the second true bedroom.
My bedroom had several issues that made it less than perfect. First of all, as the shed, which the woman had used as a sewing room, was literally attached to my parents’ room, I had to walk through their room to get to bed every night. Second, it wasn’t well insulated and the room was FREEZING in the winter. This was made worse by the fact that I had jumped on the bed once and one of the feet of it, at the foot of the bed, had busted right through the floor. The hole had remained there for the rest of the time that we lived there, though I had tried to cut the draft with everything from cardboard to duct tape. Third, I burned a hole in the carpet while trying to perform an experiment with my chemistry set. When Grandpa Winfred moved out and put a camping trailer on your Great-Aunt Ruth’s land, I moved into his room. It was bigger and warmer. The carpet was perfect (your grandparents made me discard the chemistry set after I tried to use it to make the perfect bug poison).
My parents were paying $20,000 for that house, where we lived from January of 1984. At the time, that was normal for a house in Southern Missouri, from what I understand. When I was in the Seventh Grade—March of 1988—your Grandparents decided on a change of location. So we moved to the house on Franklin Street.
The house on Franklin Street, which was one block from the General Baptist Church where your Grandma Pat was saved, was bigger than the house on Speedway. It had four bedrooms, two of which were never used. It had an in-the-floor furnace for heating (which wouldn’t work when too much water was under the house, like when the snow would melt in the winter—you know, when we NEEDED HEAT. Your Grandpa Chuck had a garage, which he at least got to use sometimes.
There was a shed on the property that your Grandma Pat promised me that I could use as a club house. Your Uncle Bobby and I went in there soon after we moved in. To my horror, we found it to be infested with Black Widow spiders. So, since your grandparents had made me discard my chemistry set and I couldn’t make any more poison, I never set foot in the shed again.
It wasn’t all bad. As the house had two unused rooms, I let my imagination run wild in them. In one of them, I cut out construction paper trees and taped them all over the walls to turn it into an indoor forest to “camp” in. In retrospect, maybe some artificial, but natural-looking, plants would have been better.
The other room, I decorated for a Halloween party and never undecorated. The room, with the fake cobwebs, looked even more unused than it really was.
By the way, this larger house was actually four-thousand dollars cheaper than the one on Speedway Street. I had been puzzled by this when I was a kid. Recently, your Uncle Greg told me that it had been in rough shape. I guess this was something that I hadn’t paid attention to when I was in Junior High.
Sometime after we moved out of the house on Franklin Street, that furnace had caught the house on fire. I’ve driven by it since I’ve grown up and it’s still there so it was obviously salvageable. The last time that I drove by the house on Speedway, when your Grandma Pat was in the hospital after the stroke, it was no longer the nice house that your Uncle Greg and I remembered. In fact, the entire street seemed a bit more run down.
That’s what I get for looking at things through rose-colored glasses, I suppose.