Almost everyday I drive past this very quirky old home here in Roxbury. At first glance, it appears as if it could fall over at any moment. Nothing looks like it is level: the roofline, the siding, even the windows. It all looks choppy, as if parts of the house sank while others elevated over the years. I had always thought to myself, “if that house could talk, I bet it would have some stories to tell.”
During the holidays, Robury Town Hallsold a book about the architectural history of the older homes in Roxbury. As I have mentioned before, our flip home was built circa the early 1700’s so I bought the book to learn more about its history, and of course I ended up reading about almost every other old home in Roxbury too. I find history and houses way too fascinating to limit myself to reading just one page of a book like that.
As I was flipping through the pages, I stumbled upon that quirky little old house that I drive by so frequently; and I was both excited and disappointed. Disappointed only because over the years I have actually looked forward to my drives past it. When I saw it, I would try to think of a reason as to why it was so interesting looking. It became almost like a little game that I played; and my ideas ranged from the practical possibility of the land shifting throughout the years, to the sillier possibility that the original homeowner had been inspired by Pablo Picasso. The truth, as I learned, was so much better than anything that I had thought up, though.
As it turns out, the original homeowner bought the land for himself and his growing family; and he only had enough money to build a very small home for them to live in. As he worked through the years, he added small additions to the house as he could afford it. He worked hard in order to give his family a bigger home, little by little; and because of the time period, and the fact that they were added years apart, none of the additions quite lined up with each other. Eventually, though, his hard work paid off; and he became so successful that he was able to purchase the beautiful piece of land across the street from his home and he was also able to build his family a large, spacious farmhouse on the property.
To this day, the property across the street is pretty breath-taking. It looks like a picturesque New England farm from a magazine; and now I look forward to driving by that quirky little house for a new reason. It’s not a fun little game anymore. Now, every time I see it, I feel an incredible amount admiration. Now, I can see each individual addition instead of the overall uneven house; and I have to imagine that when each little addition was finished, it had to have felt like a little piece of success for, what could only have been, an incredibly driven man.
This story really got to me, almost like it had a hidden message: just keep chipping away and take the small victories as they come; and hopefully someday it will pay off in the form of what may feel like only a pipedream.
What a great little story, right?