I live in an old house. It was built in 1933. The style is called California Monterrey. A style created by an Architect from the East Coast who modified a style of homes he loves, a more colonial style, to incorporate the adobe that was so plentiful in Southern California.
It’s not perfect but this is what it looks like from the front elevation. The wrought iron is horrible. From a true architects/artisan point of view.
My husband is an architect. A rather well published and talented one. Who has built a lot of houses for famous people. A lot of sports figures, and some actors and Hollywood types. He has his own firm. He’s a very successful man. He collects historic architecture books, often owned by famous architects. Its his passion. His first love, the single thing he relates to more in this world than anything. Except his daughter. Who I’ve written about before and who is extraordinary in her own right.
Which sometimes leaves me wondering why it is he loves me.
Because I am of average intelligence, average looks, average everything. Why would an extraordinary person love me? I am not special, I don’t come from a good family or an ivy league education.
In a way, we are two peas in a pod because we don’t have the family bonds that so many take for granted. We have each other. And that’s it.
Through this journey he doesn’t have a lot of words to encourage me because he doesn’t really know how. But he gardens, plants things in the back yard that he thinks will make me see that he loves me. Azaleas, Camellias, a Japanese Cherry tree. Things that go with the Japanese Maples, the stephanotis, the hydrangeas and the gardenias. Even though growing them is hard because the heat of the southern California summer make it difficult. But he endeavors through it.
In Southern California it’s unusual to find a house of this age, or a lot that hasn’t been subdivided somehow. Lots of people have more land than we do, lots of people live in bigger houses and lots of people have bigger yards. And bigger wiener dogs. I adopted him because my stepdaughter loved his long back and short legs and his sad face. She didn’t realize it was all an act, because Ive never seen that face again and he’s never sorry for anything he does wrong, he just shows me his butt.
The avocado tree is over 100 years old. It fruits over 1000 pounds a year. Ask my RE, I’ve brought at least 150 pounds of avocados to his office over 2 visits, because I am not above shamelessly bribing the women that work there to remember and to be nice to me.
From these things a journey is made. It’s who I am, where I live, how I think. It’s what I believe, and hopefully it’s where the baby I wish so much for, will live with us. There is a room ready for him or her, a room that I painted last summer, whose floors I re-finished, and whose windows you can’t see because the tree blocks it, shading it, during the hottest part of August in a house with no air conditioning.
It’s an old house, with a lot of things I’d still like to change, and where with patience and tenacity we are changing them. Updating them. Restoring them. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a home. And it’s where those who I love most live.