Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fourth Street Sanctuary

In October, 1987, thanks to Bud's status as a veteran (Vietnam), we were able to buy our first house with a VA Loan.

This was how it looked from the front. My beloved yellow Duster in the drive and only one cat*(Cassie) in the yard. (*Reference the song, Our House.) It was so good to get out of the apartment - the one I was loathe to sign a six-month lease on because I didn't think I would be there that long - and ended up living there three years.

A later view (but still before we added the deck after those front steps broke) showing the yucca I planted next to the drive and all the flowers along the south side of the house. The upstairs was unfinished but provided lots of storage space. We were able to cool the entire house with just that one window air conditioner.

The house had been vacant for several months when we bought it. All through the summer the yards had been kept mowed. After we moved in and met the neighbors on both sides, Bernice, the neighbor on the south told us that the elderly woman who had lived there loved flowers and that the back yard was full of flowers if we would let them grow in the spring.

Thank goodness I listened to her. I was able to identify most of the flowers when they came up. If I was in doubt, I asked Bernice if she knew. There were peonies, phlox, perennial sweet peas, bleeding heart, tulips, daffodils, gaillardia (blanket flower), which was new to me, trumpet vine, grape hyacinths, and on and on. There was very little mowing to be done back there - even if the entire back yard had been mowed off when we first saw it.

 Another view taken early in the morning looking east as the sun rose. There was a sand point well which is what we put a roof over and made into a pseudo wishing well. On the left is the outdoor cage we built for my two white doves. In the back, next to the alley, was a partial wooden fence upon which grape vines grew. We never had any grapes, but I once picked the leaves and a friend at work, of Greek heritage, made me some dolmades. I get hungry just thinking about how good those stuffed grape leaves were! The tree just to the left of center was a peach tree and we did have peaches from it some years before it died.

This may have contributed to the demise of the peach tree - the Floods of '93. This was the back yard - full of stinky flood water and all kinds of other people's property that came floating in. It was one time I was glad to see more rain. After the flood waters receded it washed the yard clean(er).

Our house was completely surrounded by water. In fact, once we decided to leave before it possibly came into the house, we boated out, right down Fourth Street.

Luckily, the only parts of the house flooded were this screened porch on the back and the dirt crawl space under the house. We had gotten almost everything out of this area before the levee broke sending flood waters into Valley Junction, the area of West Des Moines where we lived.

This back porch was the inside area of my sanctuary. It held many of my favorite things. I had my stereo and LP's back there. It was where I went to listen to music, read, relax.

Except for the winter, when it became an indoor storage area, it truly was a place to get away. Cassie the cat also enjoyed the peacefulness, especially when the little grandchildren came to visit.

Between the beautiful back yard and the space I created on the back porch, there was sanctuary on Fourth Street.

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