The Story Of The Little Shack

Posted: March 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

The keys will be changing hands soon, again. As they do, I’ve been thinking about my days in the little shack. It’s a rental house now, but it used to be mine, ours. Before Vincent, before a second marriage, before I started to rebuild my life after losing everything, including my dream house in a divorce.

My now husband and I were biding our time, knowing we had to find a place to live. I was losing the house of my first marriage. There was no saving it, a devastating blow. He, my first husband, walked away scott free and left behind something too big for me to manage. What was once the American dream, was now the American tragedy. Foreclosure was imminent.

Out of desperation, I called our local real estate agent. I liked Tom, he knew about the town and all the little places in it. I was hoping he would help find one for us, to start all over in.

It was pouring rain that day. Tom gave me an address and I drove over to take a look. The little shack was a sight for sore eyes. I immediately fell in love with it, regardless of the fact that it was on the slate to be condemned. The private neighborhood, the waterfall at the entrance and the little beach were amenities too great to be true. The little shack  was going to be our new home.

I drove madly to the firehouse and collected my not then husband. Chattering on and on about the great little place. I was brimming with enthusiasm and relief, that we would not end up homeless. This was it! My blinders were on, and all I could see was hope that we would have a chance to be in a home again. You see, my husband lost everything is his divorce too. We didn’t have a pot to piss in, but we were in love and all we wanted was an opportunity to have something from the ashes of nothing.

The shack was a wreck. Everything that could be wrong with a house was wrong. From the roof to the drafty old windows. It was dreary and depressing. Someone had stopped loving this little place and let it go. It had become an eyesore in the neighborhood and was going to be condemned. That is until I found it and made up my mind that we would love it and fix it up and be very happy there. Walking into the living room area, I heard a crash and a groan, my man fell through the floor! He pulled himself out, looked down into the hole and said, “well, we’re going to have to fix that”. I knew right then, that we were home.

During our time there, we did a lot of renovating. I started working full-time and became pregnant with Vincent. Then we got married. I figured, since I had done everything differently the first time, marriage, house, children, that it might be luckier to do it all backwards the second time, house, kid, marriage. And it was lucky and so wonderful. We fixed up the attic into a bedroom loft for the 3 other kids we had from our previous marriages, a little nursery for Vincent and we were as cozy as six bugs in a rug.

Some evenings, I would pull into the driveway after a day at work, and there was my husband with the paddle boat, Vincent strapped in and a picnic basket. We would have our dinner on the lake and then go fishing. It was paradise. One night, we had my mom over for dinner, our table was in the living room, in front of a big double window. We had a lovely meal, my husband drove my mom home, came back to join me on the couch to relax and watch some TV. CRASH! The ceiling directly above the table we just dined at with my dear mother, caved in! We sat on the couch as we watched water, debris and a lot of acorns cascade down like a clumsy waterfall. When it finally stopped, we looked at each other and laughed. I think my husband said, “well, I’m going to have to fix that”.

Tomorrow, the keys to the little shack will be in the hands of my eldest son, Chris. I doubt if he will fall through floor, or have the ceiling come down on him, but it will need some work. Cosmetic stuff mostly, it’s a sturdy little place now. The roof is good, the windows are new and it has a deck and a paved driveway. Not even close to being condemned. We kept the little shack, after we moved out, 14 years ago, to a little bigger shack. We have been renting it out to people who need a break, down on their luck,  who need a place to live, just like we did. We were able to rebuild our lives because of that little place. From something, to nothing, to something again. It was a lot of hard work, but in the end, instead of a vacant lot, where there used to be shack, the shack still stands. A place to hang your hat and lay your head down at the end of a day. A place filled with memories of love and laughter.

I can only hope, for my son, that he can have the luck and the love that we had during out time, in the little shack.

  1. terrepruitt says:

    Sweet. And it doesn’t look to “shacky” now. It might be little, but it is not a shack. But that is your loving nick-name for it, I see. Good luck to your son!

  2. dani says:

    lovely, sweetheart! lovely writing… lovely memories… lovely opportunity for Chris! it sounds like a member of the family. {smile}
    love you lots! *giant glittery super-squishy hugs* ♥♥♥

    • Thank you so much! As a parent it is truly joyful to be part of a child’s future. This is a big step for Chris and he is embracing it and enjoying every minute. We are so happy for him. 🙂

  3. Linda says:

    So excited for Chris to be moving into the little house. It is a sweet place and it was great to hear the story about it. I had forgotten so many of the details. But you did make it a cozy nest sis like you always do! Love you lots!

  4. Shannie says:

    I love all of the memories that I cherish so deeply from that house. So many sleepovers, scavenger hunts for the prize of a couple bucks, catching fireflies…I could go on and on. And of course the ever present snack basket. The same type of goodie and love filled basket that you would welcome us with at the campground, and the same one you still welcome everyone with today. That house was without a doubt filled with love and laughter and I wish nothing but the same for Chris. Love you mommy!

  5. OpinionsToGo says:

    Oh Joanne, what a lovely post about an equally lovely little house. I think that there is something magical about that place. And, when you write about it, you seem so
    full of joy. Hoping that Chris can create his own wonderful memories there.

  6. Joanne… thank you for sharing…thank you for your gracious soul
    amazing what love can build

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