Monday, February 16, 2009

A Pharisee's Homestead

This is one of the homes I grew up in, a home my mother and father designed.
Previously there was another house on this site. The home was torn down and replaced in the 60's by this one. My mother designed a laundry shoot that would dump laundry from the upstairs, to the downstairs. Dad conceived of a coal brick fired furnace that generated "radiant heat" from the floors. Copper piping was built into poured concrete. The concrete was mixed by hand and we watched. When it was finished, it was the 7th home I had lived in, and I expected to spend all my life there, at least, until I was an adult. We left it too soon. The Mission back home in the "States" decided Dad had done his job too well, and he was no longer necessary. Dad was a "medical missionary," a Hospital Administrator turned contractor turned "bunker c fired" oil heating expert during his stay in Korea.

Dad's plans called for flexible copper piping but instead rigid copper pipe was ordered and had to be bent to do the job. Importing another set of the correct flexible copper pipes would have taken too much time so we made do with what we had. I can remember the head scratching that went on trying to figure out what to do with all that wonderful rigid copper pipe.

The "door to nowhere" you see on the second story was a fire escape. Judging from the condition of the home, I daresay it's never been used. To the bottom left was a pile of debris 40 years ago, from the old house. I remember stepping on a nail there after famously telling my mother, that there were no nails in the pile, or that I would watch my step. I was not through confidently declaring my immunity when I stepped right onto one. I endured tetanus shots for that brilliance on my part.

Mom had a lot of azalea bushes. They are native to Korea. We had a rabbit hutch farther to the left, past the area of my infamous nail stepping trick. During the year this home was being built, we lived farther up the hill in the "Linton House" where I often played chess with Tommy Linton. The Lintons were visiting the United States during that time.

Further down the hill was the intersection of a road where one of the Missionary men faced off individually against several hundred, maybe a thousand demonstrating South Korean students while I watched. Orioles used to dive bomb us from tall maple trees that were in the area. I rode my bike everywhere.

All of this brought back huge memories that are becoming more familiar by the moment. At first seeing the home made me think of life in those days like they belonged to another person, not me. But I'm becoming more comfortable with my old self by the second. Getting to know me, all over again. With most of your childhood memories half a world away, that can be difficult to do. My son, who was a Sergeant stationed nearby had a chance to see where I grew up a couple of years ago but never visited this home.

You might be wondering what this is doing here. To give you an idea of the history tied up in the place I grew up, this is Eugene Bell's final resting place on this earth, that is, until he is raised incorruptible. Eugene Bell is the Grandfather of Ruth Bell. I used to play in the graveyard, in and on Eugene's grave. Please don't take it wrong Eugene, I was just a kid. Who is Ruth Bell? Up until 2007, she was Mrs. Billy Graham.

Thanks to "The Marmot's Hole" and it's author Robert J. Koehler. Also, a hat tip to family friend Clarence "Gun" Durham, who let my mother know about this blog, this entry and these pictures, which led to me posting them here.

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Carol said...

Thank you for sharing a bit of your interesting life with us.

TxBlogger said...

Umm. Radiant heat. I'd love to have that in my house. It makes so much sense!!
I was in a RH home a few years ago and it was so comfortable. No noise and dryness from forced air. The floor so warm you could go barefoot. Just makes sense. All home should have it !