25 September 2006

Advice for the Sticky Tile Questioner

Sweetie, your email bounced, so I'm making the reply a post!

Sticky tiles on counter as a temporary face lift atop hideous old Formica until real money/real remodelling comes along:
I've done this in my mom's kitchen and mine (both are temporary!!! and will need to be replaced in a few years), and for both projects I used the stone-textured tiles that are fairly rigid. They cut with a razor knife, just like the thinner/cheaper ones, but take a bit more effort (and a straight edge - like a counter top edge- to snap them over) to snap.

Teh best advice I can give is to make sure your counter is CLEAN and smooth (I had to mount that molding on the edge and shim underneath to make my 3 independent counter sections contiguous and smooth enough to tile). The tiles will stick best to Formica if it's not bubbled, chipped or damaged. If the counter is damaged/chipped/has an uneven surface, ask the floor guy at the hardware store for advice on picking out a floor levelling compound. Don't tell him why, though, or he'll try to sell you a new counter.

I don't really recommend this for covering any other counter surface, like wood, ceramic tile (if it's really ugly, get it refinished instead, or if the grout is bad, clean it up and re grout it.), or bare particleboard. If it's wood, you'll get weird water damage issues, and that is a whole other kettle of fish.

Things I've learned about non-standard uses for sticky-tiles:

  • Don't use sticky tiles on vertical surfaces unless there is something supporting them from the bottom (like mouldings), unless you want to have to go back and glue them in place with E-6000 in 3-6 months (or on any hot day). My mom has a few vertically placed tiles that slipped for 2 reasons (no primer and no support) which we have had to re-mount. All the tiles on my walls in my kitchen that I was lazy about (i.e. walked away from the job half-finished because I've been really ADD about this house) and did not support with mouldings have slipped because the house wasn't air-conditioned this summer, and I have to re-mount them when I get the mouldings put up. The ones that were supported are fine.

  • If you do have to remount, use E-6000. It works really well. Spread it thin. If the tile is reluctant to be remounted, tape it up with masking tape while you wait for it to set. Alternatively, use a contact-type cement (whatever type you are comfortable with).

  • If you put tiles on vertical surfaces, use the thinner/cheaper kinds of tile (heavier tiles will slip even if the adhesive is good), but don't go with a discount brand, as the adhesive is different and not as secure. I'd avoid them for any surface or use, really, as they tend to slip or peel up no matter what.

  • ALWAYS use the latex surface primer for applying sticky tile, as it really improves the adhesion.

Okay, now to paint choices for cabinets:

My cabinets are steel 1950's cabinets. Paint choices for these don't necessarily apply to wood or melamine cabinets. If you have non-metal cabinets ask someone at the paint store for advice. There are special paints for melamine, for example.

I used appliance epoxy spray paint for the doors, except for the red ones. I'm not very happy with how the red ones turned out and may take them down and re-paint them with a different, more durable, even paint. What I used was regular safety red (fire engine red) spray paint, and I'm probably going to re-do them with tractor spray paint (not as good for my purposes as appliance epoxy, but comes in more colors).

The matte black paint on the cabinets is brush- or roll-on chalkboard paint, and it comes in a can, which was necessary as I wasn't going to be able to move the cabinets outside to repaint them (when they come down, they're going AWAY and period-appropriate ones are going up in their places). I just took the drawers and doors out for painting in the contrast colors. I understand that you can use this paint in nearly any surface as long as it's prepared correctly, which means sanding it smooth (but not too smooth), filling any dents, and re sanding to smooth it and allow the paint to stick properly (that's a from-memory summary of the surface prep instructions on the can). I used 3 coats, waiting until each coat was dry before putting up the next. It can cover in one coat, but I have kids, and wanted the surface to be durable. 1 quart did all my cabinets and left me enough to do part of the wall for another chalkboard.

If you have an old appliance (like a stove or fridge) that is chipped or in a weird color, appliance epoxy is the stuff you need to refinish it. However, stoves require high-temp paint on the cooking surface, and that comes only in matte black, silver, white and cream, so keep that in mind when you are planning to refinish one, and figure out how you want the overall look to work before you buy paint.

Now, I shall return to feeling sorry for myself about my apparent ear infection.

19 September 2006

How We Came to Rootabaga Country

As a little girl in coastal California, I fell in love with Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories. I loved the open plains dotted with little towns, full to the brim with fields of corn and wheat and beans and squash, with barefooted children in overalls running home from school to help with harvest. I loved the magic of that wonderful fairytale land, with its oddly named towns and strangely named people. The funny stories as well as the sad ones have resonated with me in a way I can't even really express. I've been dreaming of this place that was like Oz, but more real, nearly my entire life.

Four years ago, my mom bought a house in southern Illinois, which is also called "Egypt" for its grainbasket reputation (and possibly where that famous term -too rude to mention here- for the middle of nowhere originated). We're from here, semi-originally (at least since the middle of the 19th century), and Mom has always wanted to move back to where her mom grew up. So she did - she fixed up and sold our little farm on the Mendocino coast, packed up everything and trucked it across the country, doing it all ourselves, because we are those sort of people.

Mom's house is a massive, crumbling pile of bricks, surrounded by trees, on the edge of a town with a name that's truly unique - it was named after a town in Scotland, but we spell it differently. There is no other town with this exact name, and the whole place is full of towns with odd names: names of foods, names of people, grand and ambitious names, and names that seem like they were just nicknames for a spot in the road until someone painted a sign to hang on the way into town. This end of the state has a couple of big interstates, but mostly it is cobwebbed with tiny rural highways, graveled roads, narrow cuts that were clearly made for a Model T to pass another Model T, and you sometimes feel that you are goign back in time as you drive down a little road with a cornfield on one side and little green hill with a little white frame house on the other.

Two years ago, we moved here. I loved the snow in winter, the silence of it as it fell on everything like an insulating blanket. I was enchanted by the burgeoning life of spring, little frogs leaping in the growing grass and the awakening of the bees. Then we suffered through an oppressive humid summer accompanied by the stressful yet lazy songs of cicadas, and went on into a changeable autumn, not unlike this one, that runs hot to cold, punctuated by rainstorms that blot out everything around us.

There is so much green here, so much life, it is like places farther down the great rivers, but not so dripping with sweat. This country is all about the growing of things, and a little of the taking of things out of the ground. It's slow and quiet, gentle and neighborly. No high-speed city life is here - you have to drive to St. Louis for that, as well as any unusual shopping needs. The fastest, or slowest, thing around here is often the train.

A few weeks ago, I realized I had come to Rootabaga Country, or a part of it, or somewhere nearby. I think it might have been when I was working on the historical society website, organizing hundreds of old photos in the archive, and I found myself staring into the faces those same little kids in their overalls, looking ready to run home to cut the corn down, or bring in the cows. It might have been when I walked my little boy to school along a gravelled drive for the first time.

Maybe it was really the day I saw the dragonflies dance in the fading autumn sunlight last year, or when I saw the bees break off to go somewhere new. It might have been the day I found a large praying mantis sitting neatly on my lampshade - they always sit neatly - delicately eating some little bug. Possibly it was the day I looked out the back to see the woodchucks - three of them - eating the fallen persimmons and apples in the grass. Or, really all of these things and many more.

I'm in love with this place. It's easily as magic as any I read about as a child, and the people, well, they aren't any less interesting or freindly.

I think we might stay.

18 September 2006

More Housestory

Here are some tidbits about the house's history. I searched the local paper summary, based on "Kate Songer," who was supposed to have bought the place in 1921. It's pretty thin until 1930, and after that it's mostly funerals:

5/15/1930: Seth Clark FOSTER of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, formerly of Kinmundy, was born near Kinmundy on Dec. 4, 1860. Early in life he entered the employment of the I.C.R.R. and was station agent at Kinmundy at the time of his removal to Oklahoma where since 1903 has made his home. On Aug. 29, 1886, he married Miss Anna FENSTER of Kinmundy, and they had 1 daughter, Mary Edna. A sister, Amanda FOSTER, and a brother, Willis ROSE, also survive. The funeral was conducted at the home of Mrs. Kate SONGER, sister of Mrs. FOSTER, where her mother, Mrs. R.H. FENSTER also resides. Interment in Evergreen Cemetery.

10/13/1932: Nelson Hawley LINGENFELTER was born March 13, 1867 in Albion, Ill, son of Rev. and Mrs. V.D. LINGENFELTER. When he was 5 years old the family moved to Kinmundy, where his father was pastor of the local M.E. Church. He completed his studies at McKendree College, and having learned the printing trade, he returned to Kinmundy and purchased "The Kinmundy Express", bringing his father and mother with him. In 1895, he married Jennie Belle FENSTER, daughter of the late George and Mrs. FENSTER and the following year, Launce was born. 3 years later, their twins, Charles and Roy were born, but Charles died a few days later. After residing a short time in St. Louis and Memphis, Nelson moved his family to Oklahoma City, Okla., and associated with the Daily Oklahoman in 1901. He also served in the newspaper business in Sioux City, Iowa, and Frederick, N.C. He died in Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 4, and the body was accompanied to this city by Mrs. LINGENFELTER and his son Roy. The funeral was held at the home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Kate L. SONGER, and interment was in Evergreen Cemetery. He is survived by a widow; 2 sons, Roy of Charlotte, N.C., and Launce and wife, Elaine, of Omaha, Neb.; 3 sisters, Mrs. Belle BEACH of Gozales, Texas; Mrs. Josephine WILLIAMS of Richmond, Mo.; and Mrs. Hattie ORGAN of Chicago.

10/10/1935: Mrs. Rachel FENSTER died Oct. 4, 1935. Rachel H. CURTIS was born in Waverly, Ohio, on June 22, 1844, where she spent her childhood and young girlhood. On May 22, 1862, Miss CURTIS married Gotleib FENSTER, and they were married for 48 years. This was a happy marriage but at the commencement of the Civil War, the couple was separated for 4 years. Soon after the war, Mr. and Mrs. FENSTER came to Kinmundy where they have lived, Mr. FENSTER until his passing April 16, 1910, and Mrs. FENSTER until Friday. They had 7 children: William G., died in infancy; Anne E. FOSTER of Oklahoma City, Okla.; Mary GRAY of Weleetka, Oklahoma; Jennie LINGENFELTER of Kinmundy; Charles C. FENSTER of Oklahoma City, Okla.; Kate L. SONGER of Kinmundy; and Roy FENSTER of Champaign, Ill. There are 5 grandchildren: Miss Edna FOSTER of Oklahoma City, Okla.; Mrs. Gail GRAY DUBIE of Tulsa, Okla.; L.M. LINGENFELTER of Omaha, Neb.; R.C. LINGENFELTER of Detroit, Mich.; and Mrs. Zelma FENSTER HALEY of Houston, Texas. There are 2 great-grandchildren. Since Mr. FENSTER’s death, Mrs. FENSTER has made her home with Mrs. SONGER, and the past 3 years Mrs. LINGENFELTER has been with them. Services were held from the SONGER home with interment in Evergreen Cemetery.

2/13/1936: [yay! NOT a funeral!] Miss Audrey DUNCAN and Robert MOATS were moved Feb. 1 at the First Methodist Church in Champaign. Attendants were Miss Dorothy DUNCAN, sister of bride and Robert ARMSTRONG. The bride is daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert DUNCAN of Sandoval, and the groom is son of Rev. and Mrs. Ira MOATS of Maquon. Mrs. MOATS attended Kinmundy school, the school her mother, then Forrest WOOLLEY attended, while living with her aunt, Mrs. Kate L. SONGER. Mrs. MOATS has lived in Champaign with an aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Roy FENSTER.

4/15/1937: [also not a funeral]- Mrs. Anna FOSTER and daughter, Miss Edna, of Oklahoma City, Okla. arrived in Kinmundy Saturday. They will make their home with Mrs. FOSTER’s sisters, Mrs. Kate L. SONGER and Mrs. Nelson LINGENFELTER. Kinmundy is Mrs. FOSTER’s girlhood home, and where she lived for a number of years after she was married.

5/19/1938: [Another death. Poor Kate seems to have spent a good deal of her life taking care of ill and dying relatives.]- Charles C. FENSTER died at the home of his sister, Mrs. Kate L. SONGER, May 17, after an illness of several weeks. He was 65 years, 3 months, and 20 days. Services were held from the SONGER home this afternoon with interment in Evergreen Cemetery.

5/26/1938: Charles Curtis FENSTER was born on a farm near Kinmundy on Jan. 27, 1873, and died May 17, 1938. He married Miss Mae BRENNER on June 8, 1897, and they had 1 daughter, Zelma. They made their home in this city until 1903 when they moved to Oklahoma City, where he lived until recently, having spent the past year in the home of his brother, Roy, in Champaign. He became ill in January and came to Kinmundy 5 weeks ago. He leaves a wife and daughter, Zelma, now Mrs. Joe HALEY, of Houston, Texas; 3 sisters of Kinmundy; 1 sister of Weleetka, Oklahoma; and 1 brother of Champaign, Ill. Services were held at the SONGER home with interment in Evergreen Cemetery.

9/22/1938: Mr. Launce LINGENFELTER died at his home in Champaign, Sept. 16, 1938. He was born in Kinmundy, Sept. 12, 1896, son of the late Nelson and Jennie LINGENFELTER, nee FENSTER. In early childhood, his parents moved from Kinmundy, but his frequent visits to this, his birthplace, to visit his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Gotlieb FENSTER, now deceased, and his aunt, Mrs. Fred S. SONGER, have made him quite well known here. He was married to Miss Eulaine WEST of Fort Worth, Texas on Dec. 2, 1928. Besides his wife and son, Danny, he leaves his mother, Mrs. Nelson LINGENFELTER of Kinmundy, his brother, Roy LINGENFELTER of Cleveland, Ohio, an uncle, Roy FENSTER of Champaign, and aunts, Mrs. Edward GRAY of Weleeka, Okla., and Mesdames Seth FOSTER and Fred S. SONGER of Kinmundy. Mr. LINGENFELTER was a member of the Christian Science Church. The burial service was conducted by Mrs. Melvin B. ROGERS, a Christian Science Reader from Champaign, at the home of Mrs. SONGER. Interment was made in Evergreen Cemetery. A list was included of those traveling from a distance.

11/26/1942: - Mrs. Kate SONGER suffered another stroke Monday. [I hope she had someone to care for her like she cared for everyone else.]

5/6/1943: - Mrs. Annie FOSTER passed her 80th birthday May 4 in the home of her sister, Mrs. Kate SONGER. Due to the serious illness of Mrs. SONGER, the day was spent very quietly. Most of Mrs. FOSTER’s life has been spent in Oklahoma City, OK., but for the past 6 years, she has made her home here. [Looks like her older sister cared for her. That's good.]

5/20/1943: - Mrs. Kate SONGER died at her home here Saturday after an illness of several months duration, aged 67 years, 6 months, 6 days. Services were held from the home with interment in Evergreen Cemetery. Katherine Louise, daughter of Gotlieb and Rachel FENSTER, was born in Kinmundy, 1 of 7 children. The parents; 3 brothers, William Grant, Charles and Roy; and 1 sister, Mary (Mrs. Ed GRAY), have preceded her in death. She was married to Dr. Frederick S. SONGER on Dec. 7, 1903, and he died July 4, 1919. She was a member of the Easter Star and White Shrine. She is survived by 2 sisters, Anna (Mrs. Seth FOSTER), and Jennie (Mrs. Nelson LINGENFELTER), both of Kinmundy; 3 nieces, Miss Edna FOSTER, St. Louis, Mrs. Paul DUBIE, Tulsa, Okla.; and Mrs. Joel HALEY, Houston, Texas; 1 nephew, Roy LINGENFELTER, Kinmundy.

4/20/1944: The names of the following will be included in the next call from this county: Carroll Wayne GARRETT, Glen Charles WHITE and Gilbert Lowe DOOLEN. [I don't know if the Whites had bought the house yet]

6/1945: - Mr. and Mrs. Glen WHITE have a son, David Chester, born in Centralia last Friday. The WHITEs now have 3 boys. [I still don't know if they owned the house yet or not]

11/21/1946: Miss Anna SUKUPCHACK, daughter of Paul SUKUPCHACK of Benton Harbor, Mich., and Merle JACKSON, son of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. JACKSON, were married in the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in East Chicago, Ind. on Nov. 18. They were attended by Miss Mary SUKUPCHACK and John J. VANA, of Chicago, both cousins of the bride. The bride is a graduate of the Twin City Business College of Benton Harbor, Mich. Since her graduation, she has been employed by the State of Michigan at Lansing. The groom is a graduate of the local high school with the class of ‘30. Soon after his graduation, he entered the service station business, which business he still has. He entered the service on April 17, 1941, and was discharged Nov. 4, 1945, after spending several months overseas It was while he was stationed at Fort Custer, Mich., that he met the bride. They couple will make their home on the LINGENFELTER property for the time being. {These are the first renters! I wonder if they were renting at the time the White family bought the place?]

I'll keep you posted as I find more.


Instead of working on the house itself today, I worked on learning more of its story. I'm assembling quite a picture of its history and the lives of the people who lived here. It's amazing how much more real a place seems, how much richer, when you know about its "life."

I went to the tax office and asked about records on the house, and while what they had was a single sheet of manila from when the records had been standardized in the 1970's, that single sheet had a 30 year old photo of the house stapled to it.

Look! There is a vent gable on the front, just like I thought. And look at the gentle, highly Craftsman-style curves on those beams on the porch. Sigh. I must figure a way to copy that in my makeover of the porch.

Unfortunately, they also have its build date at 1925, which isn't possible (see below), and I suspect that's actually the year the parcel was split into 2 parcels, when the house was sold. I'm going to go down later and bug them about the old records (probably on microfilm, and maybe in Springfield -ack-) maybe I can get my hands on something more concrete.

I also have the following statement, from the notebooks of the late owner (my neighbor's mother)comments [in brackets] are mine, spelling and formatting are hers:
Edith Heppe [of] Centralia, IL }cousin of Glen's [Glen is my neighbor's late father] This is Dudie and Ellis Wolfe's daughter. She is a sister to Marceline Wolfe Williams, wife to Eddie Williams of Champaign (They are freinds of Elwyn Cheatums){visited in Kinmundy April 21 1994. Ellis Wolfe built the house we now live in (it is a Sears Pre Cut). They sold it to Kate Songer. Her nephew afer her death sold the house to us. We then rented it to Ann and Merle Jackson, then to Trickey (who was manager of Ill. Brokerage in Salem).

When Chuck graduated in May of 1950, we moved in and have lived here since. We later sold the house next door [apparently they owned both addresses?] to Dave and Sue and they tore it down and built the home they now live in [it was apparently in very poor condition and very tiny] Chuck graduated from high school in 1950, Jim from middle school in 1950, and Dave was 5 and a half years old.

Dudie Wolfe was a sister of Johnny Nelms. Her real name was Allie(?) Nelms. She was a relative of Grandma Sarah White, grandmother of Glen.

Edith Wolfe Hepp was Dudie and Ellis' daughter. She lived in Centralia.

Interesting, no? There's more. If I may interest you in some tidbits about the family that built it, from our local paper:

11/2/1905: Advertisement: Get Ready for Winter! If you have not bought that Heating Stove, Range or Cook Stove. Everything in Hardware. TOMLINSON & WOLFE. [I think this was where Ellis worked, as the partners are elsewhere described as "our enterprising young hardware men."]

8/23/1906: Two Electric Storms: This vicinity has been visited by two severe electrical storms, the first occurring last Friday and the last one Sunday. During Friday’s storm H.G. LACEY, residing two miles east of town, had two good horses killed by lighting. A number of farmers report the loss of hay stacks. During Sunday’s storm, Theo. GARRETT, residing five miles west of town had a good horse killed, and Wm. C. THREEWITT of Meacham, also reports the loss of a good horse. In the vicinity of Farina and LaClede the wind did great damage to the orchards and the apples. In many orchards the fruit was estimated to be one-half destroyed. Sunday afternoon the farm house of William JONES, one mile south of Miletus, was struck by lightening to two places and considerable damage done, but fortunately the house did not catch on fire. Several young people of the neighborhood had gathered in this place to spend the afternoon and all received a shock and were knocked unconscious for a time, some being worse affected than other, but no one was seriously hurt. The residence of Ellis WOLFE, in this city, was in the way of the lighting and received a slight wound [I think this might have been another house]. Mrs. S.B. SARCHET received quite a severe shock which lasted for several minutes but she escaped without much injury only a bad scare. Taking everything into consideration, our city and citizens were very fortunate in escaping as luckily as we did.

4/4/1907: we discover that Mr. Wolfe was a Republican, as he ran for Town Collector (and lost).

6/6/1907: Firm Dissolved: The hardware firm of TOMLINSON & WOLFE have dissolved partnership and Mr. WOLFE has retired from the firm. Mr. TOMLINSON will continue the business at the old stand where he invites your patronage. [still not sure if this is the same Mr. Wolfe.]

1/21/1909: Advertisement: When in need of Nails, Bolts, Locks of all kinds, axes, hatchets, hammers, pocket knives, table cutlery, copper nickel plated ware, heating stoves, cook stoves, ranges, pumps, kitchen sinks, etc., etc. I’ll be glad to show you. Ellis WOLFE. [I guess it was teh same Mr. Wolfe!]

2/11/1909: - Fire Dept. Elects: A meeting of the members of the Kinmundy Volunteer Fire Department was held last Friday evening and the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: N.A. RICE - Chief; Ellis WOLFE - 1st Ass’t Chief; F.W. KILLIE - 2d Ass’t Chief; J.T. BROWN - Engine Foreman; W.H. STORRS - Ass’t Engine Foreman; C.F. PRUETT - Hose Captain; J.L. LASWELL - 1st Ass’t Hose Captain; G.M. NIRIDER - 2d Ass’t Hose Captain; F.E. NELMS, Marion BRANSON, F.O. GRISSOM - Ladder Man; F.O. GRISSOM - Sec. and Treas. The Treasurer’s report for the past year was read showing a balance on hand of $24.39. The 1st Assistant Chief was instructed two axes to be added to the engine equipment. On motion the department adjourned to meet on Friday night, Feb. 26, at which time all members are requested to be present.

8/24/1911: Ellis wolfe is listed as having a telephone, along with numerous others.

2/8/1912: Members of the Kinmundy Fire Dept. met last Friday in pursuant to a call by Chief C.F. PRUETT. The Annual Election of officers was held, and elected were: Geo. W. SNELLING, Chief; Ellis WOLFE, 1st Asst.; C.F. PRUETT, 2nd Asst.; J.L LASWELL, Hose Capt.; C.B. MENDENHALL, 1st Asst.; F.W. KILLIE, 2nd Asst.; G.M. NIRIDER, 3rd Asst.; F.E. NELMS, Ladder Captain; B.J. ROTAN, Asst.; J.T. BROWN, Engineman; Andrew JACKSON, Asst.; F.O. GRISSOM, Sec.-Treas.

4/25/1912: The Senior Play at GRAY’s Opera House; Wednesday, May 1st, Cupid at Vassar. A College Comedy in Four Acts. Cast of Characters; Myron ROSS, Clarence CONANT, Leon HANNA, Hugh SPENCER, Lauretta SCOTT, Elsie ROHRBOUGH, Josephine O’BRIEN, Ruby HULTS, Ruth DOOLEN, Vera BARGH, Bess BRYAN, Dorothy DOOLEN, Marcelline WOLFE. Doors Open 7:30. Curtain 8:30. Admission 25 cents. Children 12 years of age 15 cents.

9/5/1912: On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 1, 1912, at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis WOLFE in the presence of a few relatives and friends, occurred the marriage of their daughter, Marceline E. to Mr. Edwin D. WILLIAMS, of Terre Haute. At 2:30 o’clock the bride and groom attended by Miss Lois NELMS, of this city, and Mr. Arch MORROW, of Chicago entered the parlor to the strains of the wedding march played by Mrs. Frank DAVIS, where the beautiful ring ceremony was pronounced by Rev. R.D. WOODLEY of the First Methodist Church. After hearty congratulations the guest were invited to the dining room where delightful refreshments were served. The couple received many beautiful and useful presents. The bride is the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. WOLFE and enjoys a large circle of friends and acquaintances and is one of Kinmundy’s most highly respected young ladies; she will be greatly missed by her many friends and classmates. The groom is a young man of high, moral character, and holds a good position in the Auditing dept. of the Vandalia Line at Terre Haute; he has quite a large acquaintance here, especially among the young people. The happy couple departed Monday morning for Terre Haute where they will make their future home.

1/29/1914:- Mrs. Edwin WILLIAMS and babe of Terre Haute, are visiting here with her parents, Ellis WOLFE and family.

4/23/1914: In the school election Saturday, J.F. DONOVAN was elected president, and E.W. DOOLEN and I.D. INGRAM, members of the board. The hold-over members of the board are W.W. LOWE, W.H. GRAY, C.S. NEIL, and Ellis WOLFE.

12/19/1917: Mrs. Edwin WILLIAMS and little daughter, Valeda, of Pittsburg, Pa. are visiting here with her parents, Ellis WOLFE and family.

4/17/1921: Mrs. Ellis WOLFE and daughter, Edith, and mother, Mrs. NELMS left Monday for Centralia where they plan to make their home. Mr. WOLFE is employed there. [This is why I say it's impossible for the house to have been built in 1925. Why would they build a house here when they never again lived in Kinmundy?]

After this point, it's all news about the family, and none about the house.

6/8/1922: June 7th was the 78th birthday of Mrs. E.E. NELMS, former resident of our city now living in Centralia. There was a surprise given for her on June 4th at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Ellis WOLFE, of Centralia. All of her living children were there to give her a birthday surprise.

10/19/1922: Emma E. WINTERROWD was born in Shelbyville, Ind. on June 7, 1844, and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Ellis WOLFE, in Centralia on Oct. 16, 1922. She married Anderson DEIWERT in early life and with her family she moved to Effingham, Ill. She married John T. NELMS, and they moved to Kinmundy in about 1870. He died Dec. 29, 1890. The children were raised in Kinmundy. When her health began to fail about 2 years ago, she made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Dudie WOLFE. She leaves her mother; Mrs. Ellis WOLFE of Centralia; 4 sons, Myron DEIWERT of Everett, Wash.; John H. NELMS of Kinmundy; Frank E. of Centralia; and Maurice B. of Hindsboro, Ill. Also 11 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and 2 brothers, L.H. WINTERROWD and E.A. WINTERROWD of Ennis, Texas; 3 sisters, Mrs. Nora RAMSEY, Mrs. Delia EVANS, and Mrs. Ella ADAMS. Services were held at the Christian Church here with burial in Evergreen Cemetery. [That's kind of sad, that her daughter gave her a party and six months later it's a funeral.]

8/7/1924: Last Monday evening, Miss Dorothy PRUETT married Dr. H.A. LANDESS, both of this city. Miss PRUETT and Dr. LANDESS were accompanied to Salem by Miss Edith WOLFE of Centralia, Mr. James MORGAN, and Mr. and Mrs. R.J. ANDREWS of this city. The marriage was performed at the M.E. parsonage in Salem. The bridal party was entertained afterwards at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John W. DOOLEN of that city. The bride is graduated from K.H.S. in ‘23, attended 1 semester at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind, and this spring attended S.I.N.U. at Carbondale. "Doc" is a popular young dentist in this city. Dr. LANDESS is the only son of Mrs. J.O. WILLSEY of Ashley, Ill. He graduated from St. Louis Washington Dental College in ‘23. The couple will make their home here.

8/27/1925: Swift School Items: A birthday party was held at Mark SWIFT’s for his birthday. Those present were: Otis CHARLTON and wife, Thurman McCULLEY and family, Jeffie McCULLEY and family, Ellis WOLFE and wife of Centralia, and Gerald STRONG, uncle and aunt of Champaign.

8/18/1932: A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Edwin WILLIAMS on Aug. 11, weighing 8 lbs. The mother is formerly Miss Mercelline WOLF(sic).

2/28/1935: - Mr. and Mrs. Ellis WOLFE of Centralia, announce the marriage of their daughter, Miss Edythe (sic), to Mr. Rolland J. HEPP, which took place Feb. 20 at St. Mary’s Church in Centralia.

4/29/1937: Mr. and Mrs. John NELMS were host and hostess to the NELMS family Sunday in honor of Mr. NELMS brother and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Myron DEIWERT of Everett, Wash. The party attended the morning service at the Methodist Church after which dinner was served at the noon hour at the ARNOLD home. The afternoon was spent in the John NELMS’ home, where the family in jovial mood, with gay repartee and reminiscent stories, whiled away the hours. A number of years had passed since the brothers and sister, Mrs. Ellis WOLFE, had been together. In the family party were Mr. and Mrs. John NELMS, Mr. and Mrs. Myron DEIWERT, Mr. and Mrs. Frank NELMS, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice NELMS, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis WOLFE, of Centralia, and Mr. and Mrs. Lois NELMS ROBB and son, Howard.

4/27/1939: Mr. Ellis WOLFE, a former Kinmundian, has recently sold his tin shop in Centralia, and retired from the business world. He and Mrs. WOLFE are comfortably situated on their little farm south of Sandoval.

5/11/1939: Mrs. Edith SHULTZ, nee WOLF [Edith Wolfe Hepp must be named after this aunt], of Chicago, returned home Sunday after spending a few days with her cousin, Mrs. Florence SHRIVER. Mrs. SHULTZ, her brother and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis WOLF of Centralia motored to Champaign Sunday to the home of Mr. and Mrs. WOLF’s son-in-law and daughter’s, Mr. and Mrs. Edward WILLIAMS, where they celebrated Mr. WOLF’s birthday at dinner.

5/7/1942: At the regular meeting of the Kinmundy Lodge A..F. & A.M., Ellis WOLFE was presented with a gold button signifying that he had been a Mason for 50 years.

3/18/1943: Mr. and Mrs. Ellis WOLFE of Sandoval spent Saturday here with Mr. and Mrs. J.H. NELMS. They just sold their property south of Sandoval and are looking for a new home. We tried to tell them there was only one place for them to locate and that was right here in Kinmundy. [these folks were obviously well loved here..]

6/17/1943: Mrs. Lois ROBB entertained to dinner, honoring her father, J.H. NELMS on his 75th birthday. Those present were Mr. and Mrs. J.H. NELMS, Mrs. Alma NELMS, Mrs. Hazel SEIMER, and Mr. and Mrs. Ellis WOLFE of Centralia.

I really hope I can find out more. The more I know, the more I want to know.

15 September 2006

I must be psychic.

Many months ago, I wrote this:

There's a sag in the diningroom, at the join between the bay and the original construction. Things Must Be Done About This, as it is just sort of hanging in space. I see beams in my future, and screwjacks, and pain.

Wow, was I ever right. Last night we pretty much rebuilt the dining room wall where it meets the bay addition. There were beams, and jacks, and pain. My back hurts, and I bet K's head hurts. The planned posts are in now, and the look as nice as I thought they might, even without the mouldings and with unfinished walls.

We used 2 boxes of screws, and we are going to use more when we finish the job. We spent 50 bucks on securing hardware to prevent wigglyness today.

As an aside, while I LOVE visiting the hardware store, I HATE how it eats up a whole day. I also hate how money flits swiftly from our wallets seemingly by our very presence in the store.

It's the price of our passion, I suppose. The house, she demands it, and we must obey.

Also, StuccoHouse noticed that we were mentioned in print. I am shocked, honestly, that anybody reads this at all. It's nice to know that somebody reads from time to time, but I've been just sort of madly raving into the ether for months now.

10 September 2006

Progressions, Plans and a Thing In The Attic

So, it's Autumn, we've owned our home for 6 months (only 6? it feels like an eternity), and we've made some small progress. There's paint in the hallway now, a "Very Craftsman" green, according to Mom, and I'm working my way around the dining room. We've got all the floors clean of hideous carpet, though some are a little scarred from the experience. The living room is done, save for scouring the floor to remove the last of the carpet pad, and I've got a lovely play area set up for my older son to use while we work. The bath is half tiled, and the master bedroom still languishes, but at least there's a light in there. Things are moving along, if slowly.

I'm aiming for Hallowe'en as our move-in goal.

I have made some sketches of what I'm doing with parts of the house. My plan for the dining room bay is to take this:
hideous before picture
The dining room bay as it appears now.

And turn it into this:
Bay Plans

I made the sketch without looking at the bay so I misdrew the windows - they actually cover the full width of the bay. Other than that, it's spot on. The posts are structural, not just cosmetic. They will support the poorly-remodeled wall cutout on a 4x4 beam, and we've got plenty of mouldings to wrap them with, to make them look Really Original. Eventually, I'd like to add cosmetic ceiling beams to the dining room, too, but this comes first.

The bookshelf is actually a family heirloom, which belonged to my paternal grandmother. It's going to be mounted permanently to the wall, and there will be wainscot added around it, right up to the vertical posts at the corners. It'll be the same as the panelling in the "built-in" I made to fill the arch.

The window seats will be made of the salvageable parts of the old living room archway double doors, which apparently sat unloved for many years in some leaky place. The bottoms have completely rotted, leaving me with a nifty, but not reusable, item. I decided (since I can't replace them where they belong, and because I want to make them again a part of the house), to make window seats of them. Also, the bay is only 4 feet wide, the ends are not evenly deep, and that space is nearly wasted. Finally, it is because I have really fond memories of the enormous window seat in the dining room of my parents' craftsman bungalow when I was a kid. Nothing like curling up in a sunny window with a good book. I want my kids to have that.

Speaking of kids, I'm still working on FX's room. When last I posted about it, we were here:
boy's room built-inThere are a few more shelves in the bookshelf, but it pretty much still looks this way now.

And we (which really means "I") plan to finish it thusly:
Plans! Such plans we have!

That's going to be an open closet with coat hooks on the outside, and shelves for shoes. The closet will have an upper and lower level, the upper one being for things he wears every once in a while (Sunday or seasonal clothes) and the lower being for his school clothes. The desk in the plans is all cut out, but not assembled.

Now to the progress. Quite a bit has been done, some has even been reported, none has been photographed ... Until now!
The Very Craftsman Green hallwayThe Very Craftsman Green hallway.

That's just bare old plaster above the border. The frieze paper (really only by virtue of position - its only pattern is a sort of golden parchment look) goes up after the whole dining room and hallway are painted, and really will look more like an intended plaster finish similar to what's there now, but without the obvious patches and old mucilage. I love how the border paper looks, even if it's only tacked up.

The dark green will make a lovely background for two paintings, done by my cousin, that I was given. You can see one if them in the photo of the living room:

It'll be nice when there's furniture in it. Not lawn furniture.It'll be nice when there's furniture in it. Not lawn furniture.

I love that vintage Greek key paper, but there wasn't quite enough. I have to make some more, which will involve printing it on archival quality paper and pasting it up. It's always something :)

Now, the floor. Here, you can see the line of demarcation between the dining room and living room where the two different carpets once laid edge-to-edge:

Seamy, isn't it?Seamy, Isn't it?

Yes, I figure they didn't strip off the old wax prior to laying down a pink rubber carpet pad however umpteen years ago, so when the pad degraded, it bonded to the old wax, leaving ... this. This is after scraping for two days. I'll keep you posted on the scrubbing and what works. Once it's scrubbed, I'm waxing it.

Call me old-fashioned, or call me masochistic - we do have 2 kids and a dog - I like waxed floors, even if I know what it takes to keep them up.

And now for the playroom:

It's not perfect, but it's a nice, bright, stimulating environment for a 3 year old boy. And he loves it, which is what counts.

On to the half-tiled bath. First, a before picture is in order:

It was very pink, and plastic, in there.

Now, we have this:
tiled wall with medicine cabinetThat's the "fixture wall" with the new/old medicine cabinet in it, sans door.

We were lucky enough to find the old girl under the dining room bay, and she's sound, so I painted her and in she went. The mirrored door is in the kitchen until we're all done flinging heavy stuff around in the bathroom. I wish I had time to finish in there right now, but I don't.

And the master bedroom currently houses all the salvaged lumber, mouldings, doors and panelling:
piles of wood!Sad, isn't it? Eventually, we will have to sleep in here.

Finally, we come to The Thing in the Attic:
The Titanic, or our cistern.The Titanic, or our cistern.

A few months back, when I wasn't allowed up on ladders, my friend K stuck her head up in the attic where her husband J had been working to look for a tool we needed (we were demoing something), and said: "Hey! There's some kind of wash tub up here!"

I, of course, pictured a round tin tub, with handles, like the sort that get sold for icing down beers, and thought "Cool! I could use that for something."

Many weeks later, I stick my own head up there and see this HUGE bathtub shaped thing, about 4 feet wide and maybe 8 or 9 feet long, and a good 4 feet high. It must be the old water-pressurizing cistern, and must have been in here since the place was built. The way these things worked was that you'd pump water up here from the well, by hand, and it would sit up here until you turned on the taps, which would give you water pressure, like a water tower. It certainly goes a long way toward explaining some of the odd plumbing in the basement.

Now, what are we going to do with it if we ever decide to finish the attic?

08 September 2006

Paint me, baby!

I'm heading over to the New House (as distinct from mom's place, the Old House - by 60 years) today, to get a wall painted in the dining room.

Yes, you read that right. The dining room is slowly becoming a usable space. I did teh test patches of paint day before yesterday, and I will be applying paint, for real, to the repaired plaster walls today. I can hardly beleive it.

I'm taking the camera for pictures of what's Done So Far. I may even get them posted tonight.

Of course, the bath is only half-tiled, the kitchen needs the rest of its wiring, the master bedroom isn't much beyond the demo stage, and I still have an old bathtub in one half of the enclosed sunporch, but we're getting there.

That light at the end of the tunnel might even be the end of the tunnel, and not another train ... but I'll knock wood to be sure.

01 September 2006

LIfe intrudes. How rude of it.

I've been nowhere near my house for over a week. I had to deal with actual real-life things instead.

I have been finishing up the historical society website (well, version 1...) that I mentioned some time ago, and getting it ready for uploading. My older son is sick, and my younger one is demanding. I suspect a growth spurt. My husband's work ... well, we'll just say it sucks right now.

And Dad had to go back to California. He called a little bit ago to tell us he'd gotten in fine, from the In-n-Out Burger in Gilroy. I'm jealous - we haven't had In-n-Out since Chris got out of the Marines. I told Dad I wanted a 4x4 Animal Style and an order of fries the size of my head, but he doesn't think it'll mail well at all. Especially not the shake that's mandatory to wash it down with. My tastebuds are homesick for California, if that's possible.

Back to the Website of No Sleep. I think I'm going to name my webdesign company "Sisyphus Productions" - after all, who better do the work that just has to be done over and over again? Mom and I have been throwing around slogans, but I'm so tired right now that I can't recall any of them. Pity, I really thought they were hilarious at the time. That may have been sleep deprivation, though.