The Third House
Today I'm talking about my favorite house - the actual structure - that I have lived in. I fear this post will not be so much about the house though as it will be about the changes to my personal life that occurred while I lived in it.
In 2003 I accepted a new position with the company I was working for in D.C. at a TV station in Baltimore, Maryland. When I took the job I had recently recovered from a bizarre virus I contracted in Florida when there for a surprise 60th birthday weekend for my mom. I was paralyzed by the virus for several weeks as the doctors worked to figure out exactly what was going on with me. As a single mother, I was terrified.
Once I was on the road to recovery, my mom stayed with me in Florida while I rehabilitated and my dad took my daughter back to Chevy Chase, Maryland so she could get back to school, to her friends and some sort of normal routine. During my time in the hospital, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and my father was diagnosed with melanoma.
Looking back, it was probably not the right time for me to accept a new position. My father was given the all clear after his surgery, my mother was not. They were staying with me in Chevy Chase while my mother began treatments in D.C. and they urged me to take the Baltimore job as it was a step up and because "life goes on, Kerry". It was a dream job.
The housing market was brutal in Baltimore and again I lost out on a few houses in bidding wars. The house we ended up buying was in rough shape. It spoke to me though, loud and clear. It was on a huge corner lot with a lot of privacy. The house was built in 1790 as the "caretaker" house for what used to be a large estate and had since become a beautiful neighborhood, not far from Loyola University.
The Baltimore station was not performing well and I needed to hire and fill several positions when I first started. One of those new hires, John, moved from Florida to take the head finance job at the station. I invited him over to my house for pizza soon after he started to welcome him to town. When John was leaving after dinner he noticed that the front doorknob was broken. It was the beautiful, original brass doorknob. I loved it and didn't know how to fix it, or who to even call to fix it.
John said, "I can fix that doorknob for you" and I thought, yeah right! I let him give it a try, because it seemed like the right thing to do, and sure enough he fixed it before he left! That was all it took, I was in love with John. Someone who can fix things around the house! True love. Scandalous story for another time, we did start dating on the sly and then had to come clean with the company. Yikes.
Here we are in front of the door with that very doorknob when we were dating.
And not long after that picture was taken, we were married at that Baltimore house. Here we are with John's parents at the wedding:
And here is the first bite of cake:
The house had a laundry list of things that needed to be done and again these live in memory much more so than photos. The house needed extensive stucco repairs and to be painted on the outside. It needed new gutters, new landscaping, new exterior entrance to the lower level, new garage doors. It needed a new kitchen and for the lower level to be finished. Plaster repairs and paint on the inside. It was all worth it though. The house had five fireplaces, original wood floors, the stone foundation under the stucco allowed for deep window sills. The house oozed charm. And lucky for me, John was incredibly handy!
Here are some home movie glimpses into the house.
Living room with one of the five fireplaces (the bedroom above had a fireplace too):
Dining room with another of the fireplaces (the bedroom above had a fireplace too):
Lower level with the fifth and largest fireplace:
Side yard gazebo before and after:
A shot of the newly painted front door after we had just returned from our honeymoon:
My mom passed away while we lived here, less than three months after John and I were married. It is hard to think of this home without heartache and hope. Love and tears. So much gained and so much lost living here. A lot of stories for another time. I often look back and think in the short time we lived here, we lived a full lifetime.
Thank you for visiting our home in Baltimore with me,