Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas at home

Thirty-one years ago this week we moved into our new home. We'd spent the first ten years of our lives together in a gray and white single-wide trailer that was cold in winter and so hot in August, we often sat in lawn chairs in the front yard of the trailer park until the mosquitos ran us inside.

I worked as a reporter at a weekly community paper and Jilda worked at a dress shop. Together our salaries were barely enough to pay the light bill and put a few groceries on the table. And then in 1976, my job outlook darkened when I was fired on January 15. As it turns out, it was also my birthday.

I was out of work a year, but we somehow made it through.

Then out of the blue, I got a call from G.M. Young, an old gentleman I'd befriended while working at the paper. It was December of 76 and he said that I should fill out an application with the phone company.

I'd never consider a career with the phone company, but my unemployment had run out and my prospects were thin, so I jumped at the chance.

After filling out a mountain of paperwork, and taking a battery of what I though were strange tests, I got the call. They offered me a job as a garageman beginning January 3, 1977.

I started out at $3.17 an hour for gassing up trucks. I thought I was robbing the phone company but I didn't share that with anyone. I showed up early and worked a little over each day.

We began saving for a house, and in 1983 we signed a contract to have our house built. It wasn't big or fancy, but it was something we could pay for. The thing that sold us was the vaulted roof with floor to ceiling windows in the living room that made it hard to tell where the outside world ended, and the inside world began.

In one way that seems like a lifetime ago, and then.... well, you can finish the sentence.

As I stand in our front windows this evening looking at our yard, I can see the first Christmas tree we had here. It was a white pine that I placed the Christmas star on without a ladder. It's now over 60 fee tall.

There are six other Christmas trees that we've had through the years that are visible through the windows.

Through the years with Ma Bell, we flourished and many people asked us why we didn't move to the south of Birmingham into one of the affluent neighborhoods, but we always resisted. Sure the drive was a pain, and the houses were much bigger, but I never saw one that looked like home


  1. A beautiful picture. It is dool down here so the picture add and it feel like Christmas. Love the story. There are some parallels especially the single wide trailer. What a joy to have an acquaintance come in at the right time. Life is Good. The now is what counts and it is nice for the mind to house good memories of some hard times.
    Then yo u can appreciate home. I like it, thanks.

  2. Those trees are dreamy. I sometimes wish my husband and I hadn't moved from our old place. I love where we are, but when you live in a house for 30 years, there's just so many sentimental feelings about it.

  3. How great that a window of opportunity opened just when you needed it. Beautiful picture.

  4. You have a lovely view filled with can't buy that! Lovely post written from the heart...I truly enjoyed it!

  5. That photo is lovely, 3 years after Tim and I married we got this house we rent through the department of housing which is subsidies housing and that made a big difference to our lives we have been here since 88 and have plans on moving we are happy here

  6. Anonymous4:35 PM

    I'm sure that wherever Jilda is would be your home...

  7. Nice story Rick. I bet that first Christmas tree would take a lot more lights than it did 31 years ago. Merry Christmas. Happy Home Sweet Home anniversary.

  8. Where you are now sure looks cool.
    I'd stay too.

  9. It would be hard to leave a home that you built...knowing you're the only one to have lived in it. Your home sounds perfect and so does your view! My Mom still lives in the home my Dad built..not big or fancy either, but loved and lived in never the less! I wonder if people get house poor living in those "McMansions" . My brother worked for Ma Bell too...then he wen to Vietnam...and back to Ma Bell when he came home. He eventually went into the phone business for himself. He has never regretted working for that company! Have a good week!

  10. What a joy it might have been if we had stayed in the first house we owned. X was too ill and too restless to stay put.



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