I paid $1,000 for it. It had not a single pane of glass. One working toilet, which sat in the middle of ruins from a fire in the back two rooms of the first two floors.You could see the sky from the basement. Built in 1880, it was ten rooms of heartache.
I had never seen anything so beautiful.
It was surrounded by houses in similar condition, lived in by people who were as besotted as I. They were the most creative and generous people I’ve ever known.
These down-on-their-luck Victorian mansions surrounded a beautiful 30-acre park which had been the Disney World of St.Louis in the mid-to-late 19th Century. Swan boats plied its lake, and trolleys carried people there to see wondrous plants in summer, and skate on winter ice. I want my ashes scattered there, where my heart still lives.
As years passed, this house took shape again as hardwood was shined, bannisters returned to tightened staircases, and walls, bathrooms, paint,water and light loved it back to life. Children grew up there. Thanksgivings and Christmases were grand affairs.
Friends married there, mourned there, laughter and music filled it like grace. The house was featured in magazines and opened to house tours.
Maybe the house loved me back. It certainly helped me grow up, express my creativity, and allow my generosity and bravery to thrive.
Yes, I had a house. And,obviously,it still has me.