|Mom favored character-filled houses |
needing a little TLC.
My mom catered to the down-to-earth, homeschooling types; few others would tolerate her entourage of children. While she sacrificed the more lucrative clients, my mom ingratiated herself to others, many whom she still considers friends. Some of them even attended my wedding.
Touring houses with a frugal mother and equally frugal buyers, I developed an eye for latent possibilities in properties others would pan as 'dated' or 'dirty.' And upon discovering a house full of vintage character, if we had opted to wait in the car, Mom would call us in to admire the natural woodwork, built-ins, or original retro kitchen.
|Being a professional bassoonist was my |
top career choice, though I would've
settled for selling real estate. Somehow I
ended up selling vintage kitchenwares instead.
As a youngster, I might've been an agent myself. I'd peruse the day's new real estate listing cards, setting aside those I deemed especially well-priced. My mom required that I answer the phone, "Shilto residence, Laura speaking," which felt embarrassingly grown-up; but before acquiring our first answering machine, I fastidiously took client messages, sometimes attending to simpler queries. In high school, while my band director tried to dissuade me from a bassoon performance major, I balked, figuring I would sell real estate if my music career faltered.
|Calin and I, in front of the Eliminator, about to|
leave Michigan for Omaha. I wish the photo
showed the pinstripes and "Eliminator" decal
I landed a performing job, though. With ink still wet on both bachelor of music diploma and marriage certificate, my hard-won position as bassoonist in the Omaha Symphony took me and my new husband to Nebraska. We arrived in a pickup truck borrowed from my parents: a small Chevy S-10 emblazoned "Eliminator," over a flourish of zig-zaggy pinstripes. It overflowed with all our possessions, covered in a big blue tarp secured with clothesline. (Fifteen years later, my dad still drives the Eliminator, though the doors are about to rust off. They would've already, had he not jerry-rigged the hinge with a wind chime).
If showy rock stars occupy one end of the musical genre and wage spectrum, classical musicians in regional orchestras crowd the other. This didn't discount home ownership, though--not for the resourceful daughter of a real estate agent. We house-hunted in a fashion learned from Mom and her thrifty clients. Our Omaha agent spent the first day showing bi-levels in suburbia. We had to set her straight, knowing our preferred aesthetic more likely involved estate properties on city lots rather than newish houses with fake stone façades and particle board cabinetry.
|Calin scrapes petrified carpet |
padding off the floor, after having
removed the green shag carpet.
|Enjoying a meal at the A-Ford-O Motel.|
|Calin futilely attempts rust removal |
on our ugly Chevy Celebrity. This
photo does not do the car justice.
|I and my Heckel bassoon enjoy a meal in |
our retro kitchen. This photo graced a page
of the Omaha Symphony cookbook.
Even in the cheap motel, cooking out of an old electric frying pan; in our fixer-upper house, baking in a vintage 1940s range; or navigating the grid-like streets of Omaha in a humble Chevy which could dethrone the ugliest car in almost any lot, those were happy, hopeful times.
|Leaving our house for the last time,|
ready to move back to Michigan.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1Timothy 6:6
He is rich who has few wants.--proverb
Next up: A post my sister deemed to personal for my blog, but it struck a chord with readers: City Girl, Country Girl