Our Short Term Rental is in the very historic Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin, TX. She is a 1927 typical bungalow.
Big front porch, two bedrooms, one bath, claw foot tub, hardwood floors, glass doorknobs – you get the idea.
She has been remodeled twice over her lifetime. The first was done by a single mom of one son.
The second was completed by the Amazon family (yes, that is their real last name).
The Amazons did a major remodel. Tearing down walls, adding a bathroom, taking in the back porch to expand the kitchen. They did a beautiful job and I’m proud to be the reciprocal owner of their hard work.
My story really starts with Sherri. The single mom. She now lives in LA and her son (now 27) lives in New York. Every year they meet some place in the middle of the country for a mother/son reunion.
A couple of years ago they decided to come back to Austin. Searching through the listings on HomeAway she came across her old house! The B Hive
She booked the house explaining who she was, etc. During their visit she invited me over to have a glass of wine and take a tour of the house.
It was fascinating! And a little sad.
As they took me through the house they explained what they and the Amazons had done. They were sad that some of their hard work had been destroyed. Made over. Changed.
“Why did they set the kitchen up like this?”
“There used to be wall right here.” (Separating the dining room from the living room)
“They took out the back porch!”
“It’s nice they added a bathroom. *Son* would have liked to not share with his mom.”
Then *Son* took me to the backyard. “My dad and I built a skateboard 1/2 pipe out here. See you can still see the supports we nailed into the tree.” Suddenly I added up his age and realized that when they built that ramp my little family lived in the house across the alley from them. My husband actually would watch them build this 1/2 pipe and wish he could skate it. (He was afraid to ask. Thinking the dad would think he was a creepy old dude.)
Then the stories started flowing. We had been neighbors! We had talked across the fence. I had petted and played with her old dog.
Everyone got a little teary as I left that day. We hugged and promised to keep in touch.
The day after they left I went to the house. In the now defunct telephone niche’ was a framed picture of her and her son on Halloween on the front steps of the house. The son was around 8 years old.
I have proudly displayed that photo in the niche ever since.