Life can change in a heartbeat, and if I ever need to be reminded of that I need only think back to 1976. I won’t go into a lengthy explanation, but due to a series of bad decisions and unfortunate circumstances we lived in a motel for a few weeks...including the first week of December. As we resolved our problems I prayed for a place for us to rent that we could afford and that would be good for the kids. Little did I know that God would answer my prayers with a place that I already loved! It was the perfect Christmas present.
Each day as I drove the girls to school I was drawn to a somewhat dilapidated house on the corner of Maple Street. It was nearly hidden on one side by huge trees. It had an empty pool strewn with leaves and debris. There was an old barn and what looked like the remains of a garden. The house itself spread out in a strange angle that indicated it had been remodeled at some point and at least one room had been added on the side. A brick chimney suggested a fireplace. The “for sale” sign in front of it was obviously old and the house had failed to attract anyone. I can’t really explain why, but it fascinated me from the first day I saw it and each day I stared at it a little longer. I even drove into the circle driveway one day and looked closer.
Our newspaper listed rentals by areas and price ranges, so when an ad appeared that met our needs I quickly called from the payphone in the parking lot of the motel. The owner gave me the address and told me to do a drive-by before he agreed to show the house. I heard the words “Maple Street”, but never dreamed it would be THAT house. You have to remember that we lived in a huge city at the time. When I realized what the address was attached to I wasted no time finding a phone and calling the owner. The rest is history and we lived in that little house until our move to Lone Pine.
We were joined for Christmas week by one of Gary’s college friends and his girlfriend.
Thursday, December 23, 1976
Opened our presents at work; had cookies and coffee. Goofed off most of the day. Picked up three kittens after work. Dave and Diane arrived about 9:00pm. Spent the evening talking, playing with the new kittens: Don Hix, Kelly, and Cindy. Diane and I decorated the tree they brought with them.
Friday, December 24, 1976
Diane and I cleaned house and made pies. Got everything ready for Christmas. Aunt Betty came over for a while. She brought the kids some stockings. Diane cooked dinner. We drove through Christmas Tree Lane. Spent the evening talking, watching TV, and playing with the kittens. They are so cute!
Christmas Day, 1976
Merry Christmas! The kids were all pleased with their presents. Dave and Diane seemed to really enjoy watching the kids. We had ham and turkey for dinner. Paul and Karen Volker came over . We played darts in the evening. This was one of the happiest holidays we’ve ever had. We were all relaxed and just had fun.
Sunday, December 26, 1976
We all got up late. Dave and I fixed waffles. Went to Karen and Paul’s for a visit. Got back just in time to catch Doris. She stayed a short time. We had leftovers of course. Mike and his girlfriend, Jennifer, came over in the evening. Dave and Diane left about 9:30.