THIS OLD HOUSE

“Just recently, some friends in Anchorage informed us that our old house on Fern Lane is up for sale.”

334 Fern Lane

For 35 years, my family lived in the same house in Anchorage, Alaska. At 1,280 square feet, it wasn’t the biggest home in town, yet not the tiniest. Friends asked how we existed in such close quarters. The saving grace was that it had two bathrooms and three bedrooms, as small as they were. This place was a mansion compared to where I used to live.

For close to 13 years, my brother Jim, and our parents, took up residence in a 600 square-foot-trailer. It was a whopping 10 foot wide x 60 feet long. In our first three years, our mobile home was more like 240 square feet. That trailer was 8 feet x 30 feet in size. Being in the Air Force, Dad towed it to different bases all over the country with his car.

These days with both kids having left the nest, our house in Arizona is 1621 square feet not counting Casita and garage. The garage is actually bigger than the home itself. Only in Lake Havasu City can you get away with such. Thank you, Planning and Zoning.

Just recently, some friends in Anchorage informed us that our old house on Fern Lane is up for sale. I took a gander on Zillow to see how it appeared. Not a whole lot is different than when we sold it in 2010.

Some nights I lay awake, and can virtually open the door to that place and visualize every scratch and blemish in it. The current owners made some changes, but in my mind, I still know where things that aren’t right. Having 2-inch x 4-inch walls is one of them. In Alaska, you rarely see that anymore because extra insulation is needed, with 2-inch x 6-inch studs being the norm.

I spent many hours trying to keep that place glued together. During winter was the hardest. We had a sloped driveway, and on more than one occasion I discovered our car or truck at the bottom of the hill. Concrete had to constantly be salted and sanded. Buckets of both were kept near the front entrance.

During winter, I’d shovel a maze through snow in the front yard. That took lots of time each snowfall to keep it open. Carly & Simon, our Pekingese fur babies loved it so the effort was not in vain. By mid-winter, walls to the maze would be up to my waist.

Our former neighbors, Matt & Kim Stohr, still live across the street. Kim asked if we’d be interested in moving back to that location. I thought about it for a good while. It’d be hard at this point.

Unbeknownst to the current owners, we have pets buried in the backyard, and neighbors from long ago are now permanently gone. So many memories and most all of them good. I don’t think coming back would recapture life the way it used to be.

We purchased the place in 1977 for $75,000.00. It’s now listed for $349,000.00. To buy it at this price would be like doling out $35,000.00 for the same motorcycle you bought for $3,000.00, 45 years ago. I couldn’t do that no matter what.

Perhaps the number one reason for foregoing such is the size of the garage. It’s only 400 square feet. Tiny as it is, I build several cars in that cramped space lying on cold hard concrete. My body would now veto the idea of going back and doing that all over again.

We’ll have to pass on this old house. At this point in life, I like being mobile much the way I grew up. Traveling in an RV is as close as I can get to reexperiencing such. Hopefully, the next owner of 334 Fern Lane keeps it up like we did. My one message to them would be,

Keep plenty of salt and sand on hand because you’re eventually going to need it.

The only house with a blue roof.

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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