Setting up Housekeeping
When my wife and I decided to get married, we were trying to determine where we would live. We had a chance to buy an acre of land at a fair price and we took it. The property was almost halfway between her home and mine. After surveyors made the deed we had to pay to have it registered at the county courthouse.
Once the property was ours, the next thing we had to do was to have a man come in with a bulldozer and to level an area for the pad and to grade the driveway. The property was on a hillside. We knew we were going to buy a used mobile home. It was what we could afford.
We had the concrete pillars poured with tie –down hooks set in the concrete. Cement blocks were delivered and we had thick metal cables to fasten the mobile home once it was delivered. The perk holes were drilled and the gravel for the driveway was trucked in and spread.
We were able to find a used mobile home in Casparis, high above Connellsville, Pennsylvania and had it moved to our land. We were there as the moving company removed it from Casparis and hauled it to the lot. It was an ordeal for the men to maneuver it from where it was and down the narrow roads. There were some tight areas in Connellsville as well. We were preceding the trailer in my yellow Nova with our hazard lights flashing. It was nerve wracking hearing Cindy, my bride-to –be “oohing” and “aahing” as she watched the trailer behind us tip and rock at each turn.
The turn into our drive was sharp and that made the task of pulling the trailer became another trial and error of maneuvering, but finally it was pulled into place. Finally there, we now had the task of putting the blocks under the beams for support and attaching the metal cable tie-downs to the beams and the hooks in the concrete, pulling them tight.
We needed the telephone, electric, water, sewage, and bottled natural gas for our stove. The gas came first and we could cook if nothing else.
Our wedding took place about this time. Because I had just started a new job, I could wrangle only four days in a row. Our honeymoon was a short one and we actually moved into our love nest without electric, telephone, and sewage or water. Youngsters must be aghast at the thought, but our forefathers did it, we could too. With the help of water jugs, kerosene lanterns and flashlights, and a chamber pot we managed until over the next week or so the rest of the items were installed. We thought we had a castle.
Later, I built a front porch and the view was great. We looked down a wooded valley and could see the mountains beyond. Before we had the skirting in place, a storm moved in. There was a lot of thunder and lightning. It was coming from the West and up the valley. I heard the thunder rolling through the valley toward our mobile home. It hit the trailer broadside shaking the floor and then it dove underneath and made the steel beams ring. It was crazy. I had never had anything like that happen before.
I began to change a farmer’s field into a yard moving, removing rocks, and old fence posts. While I was mowing, I noticed several small apple seedlings growing. Several days later I mentioned the trees and the thunder to Roy Bowser, the old farmer who sold us the land. Nonchalantly he says, “Oh yes, I had a nice apple orchard there until a storm came up the valley and wiped it out.”
That did little to comfort me in our choice for a home. His remarks made me feel unsure of our safety, but in the nearly ten years we lived there, we had many storms but no real problems. Often I would sit on the covered front porch and watch the storms roll in. I liked to watch the rain and lightening approach. It fascinated me. Its power and beauty always attracted me. Cindy didn’t like storms and would hover around the door always worried.Her concern doubled when she found my daughter was joining me and loved the storms as well