Lancaster Lane


Ms. SpoolTeacher and her older sister in front of the “Cracker Box” with their “Gypsy” lawn set and the tree she climbed a million times to sit up on that crooked limb.

Ms. SpoolTeacher woke up this morning thinking, for some reason, about the huge homes some people live in. She herself had a two story home that was almost 1900 square feet at one time, all by her little ole self. She did have roomers from time to time, but for the most part, she rambled around that “mansion” with two dogs and two cats for about six years.

afot big house2

The big ball is out of control again

afot the big house 001

The big ball at it’s best

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some people have no imagination

She really woke up thinking about the little, as her mother would say, “cracker-box”, 30X30 foot home she remembers the most fondly from her childhood. It had jalousie (“louvered” her mother called them) windows, which she remembers her mother  abhorring because they never closed tightly enough to keep out dust and cold or hot air.


The three girls, on the other hand, found them useful for breaking in whenever they locked themselves out.

single mother

Their father was in the Military, always stationed somewhere the government didn’t allow families or they couldn’t afford to rent nearby. So the mother was, for the most part, a single mother managing nickels and dimes much the same way Ms. SpoolTeacher does today. “The more things change…”.

Now that she is “still not 60”, she is glad to think that she has turned out to be so much like her mother. Growing up, of course, it is the last thing a young woman wants to be.

She went through her little hometown several years ago when she was on a business finding expedition and pondered the idea of (if she won the lotto) buying that little plot of four houses, or the whole town for that matter.

A freeway bypassed the town many years ago, making it mostly a ghost town; but developers have come in and built up all the land around it so that the old parts are now fetching top dollars. At least they were.

She grew up in that house, with her two sisters, from her age of 5 til 13 when they were able to move up to the main street into a much larger farmhouse that had a basement and many more nooks and crannies. They thought they had “arrived”. Their mother would live there til the day she died and always feel like she had done well. She never bought, she always rented; but her landlords thought so much of her, they always kept her rent at minimum, about $120 for about 20 years when it went up with new owners to around $400.

Stevie trip to CA 2011 242

as it looks now

  • Bedrooms:2 beds
  • Bathrooms:1 bath
  • Single Family:1,283 sq ft
  • Lot:117,176 sq ft
  • Year Built:1938
  • Last Sold:Jun 2004 for $350,000

Current listing:
Zestimate: $122,483
Rent Zestimate: $1,421/MO
Est. Mortgage: $487 mo

She herself now has about 1200 total square feet with the converted garage/studio included. And she still rambles around with dogs and any other animals that come to share.

She thinks how much people want now days.

Sure, it was hard for three growing up girls to manage with one bathroom; but portable lighted mirrors, and electric curlers came into existence.
Most of the space of houses today are for show or storage of all the things that aren’t really needed.

Kids in those days were outside roaming the neighborhood on bikes or bare feet for the most part. In and out of neighbor’s houses, walking up to the local convenience store to trade in bottles for candy, or out climbing trees or chasing boys.

There was only a need for a big house if you had an especially large sibling rivalry.

And she remembers her best friend when she was in her mid 20’s – 30’s having a house about the size of a deluxe motel room that was always full of people and everyone always wanted to be there, piled on top of each other because there was such a feeling of love and caring. She would sit with her friend in the kitchen at a table lined on two sides with benches. Her friend on one side, she on the other and her friend’s three kids hovering or sitting next to them and her husband lounging nearby. When they got bored with that, they would walk around the neighborhood and say hello to all their neighbors; she with her friend and her friend’s three kids, hopping, skipping, singing, playing as they went.

Now she notices families sitting together all with their I-Phones in their palms, heads down, no interaction.

“Blah, humbug. Not any fun like the good ole days”, she thinks.

But then she thinks of her life as she has designed it…walking her neighborhood, in and out of her neighbor’s houses, sitting piled up in living rooms or at kitchen tables, sharing food, sharing ideas, sharing sorrow.

Life is what you make it.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. If that is what you want.

That said, did you notice that her mother’s house now rents for $1421/MO or you can mortgage it at it’s severely reduced value for $487/MO. Her mother was afraid to buy a house when she was about 10 years old because she didn’t know how they would manage to come up with another $25/MO from $50 to $75!

Well, babysitting only yielded $.50/hr and wages were, what, good at $4/hr?

The more things change. The less it makes any sense.

Time to go do some sewing or neighbor visiting. Y’all all come back now.

spoolstuff 016

click to visit Ms. SpoolTeacher’s Baby Shoe Spool Factory


2 thoughts on “Lancaster Lane

  1. Pingback: Learning curves. Yipes! | Spare Shelf

  2. Pingback: Gingerbread-aholic | Spare Shelf

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