Before going into the stories that other people have shared with me about my dad, I would like to share one of my stories.
The house I grew up in resides in the Burns Park neighborhood in Ann Arbor. 1202 is the address number. It is a corner house that sits about a half-block from Burns Park and Burns Park School. I really couldn't have asked for a better location to grow up in.
While the house holds a lot of special memories for me, it also serves as a connection to my dad. That was the only house we lived in while he was in my life. He also did a lot of work inside of the house: remodeling the kitchen, building the laundry counter on the second floor, and the conversion of our dingy attic into a nice office space with a sun deck you could walk out to.
I thought a good place to start for this project was to see what, if anything, that he built in 1202 remained decades later.
My first action was to contact who lived there and see if it was possible to go in and look around. My mother sold the house to a nice family in the fall of 1993. I had visited the house once since then, when I went with my sister and her husband-to-be, sometime around 1997. I had no idea whether the family that had moved in were still the owners.
I drafted a note, explaining my project a bit and included a way to be contacted. I then went to drop it off and, when I arrived at the door, I found a lock-box attached to the doorknob.
Was I too late? Is the house for sale?
I wasn't sure but I decided to leave the note anyway. It was a good thing that I did. Within 48-hours, I got an e-mail from the Smiths (I've changed their names, out of respect for their privacy), who were the same people who bought the house from my mom. Mrs. Smith told me that I was welcome to come by any time I wanted. I set up a time to come by that weekend and had an amazing tour of my old house. She was incredibly generous.
Many things had changed but there were still some "fingerprints" left behind by my dad...as well as by me, which was an added surprise!
Here are a few of the pictures I took and the story behind them:
The first surprise came when Mrs. Smith told me that I would want to take a look down in the air duct before I got a tour of the house.