The next summer I got married. We had our first child, 18 months later our second child, then a year after that our third boy was born. Trying to start a family that fast. Having jobs that paid almost nothing and the third child’s birth not covered by insurance because of changing jobs, we were in a financial bind. My father-in-law had an old house on his land. He offered to let us stay there until we could get financially stable again. We accepted and moved in. The house was of the style that some people call a “dog trot house”. To enter a person had to walk up the wooden front steps to a large front porch that was about three feet off the ground. Then they would walk into the open hallway. On either side of the hallway was a door into a room that was sealed (an inner wall). To the back of each of these rooms was another room that was not sealed and had shutters instead of glass paned windows. If, instead, they walked on down the open hall they would come to a place where the hall had been extended without walls and a back porch added that had a well for “drawing” water. The hall extension connected the kitchen with the rest of the house. The hall and back porch had been added when the cook started using a gas instead of a wood stove. While using wood to cook it was not uncommon for the kitchen to catch on fire so it had been built separate from the rest of the house. Summing up, we had electricity, but no running water and only two rooms were sealed.
In the summertime the house was reasonably comfortable. The rooms had either 12 or 14 foot ceilings. The unsealed rooms and open hall way allowed air to circulate. It was cooler than most houses I had lived in. Then came winter; the house was cold and with the air circulating there was no warming it. The next spring we were financially okay, so I sealed the house, closed up the hall way and put a pump in the well so we could have running water. That meant that we could have an indoor toilet!
As long as we had a bucket in the well, several people in the area came to our home get their drinking water. We had the best water anywhere close. After the pump and the water running through pipes, it had an ugly taste. Also, when that summer arrived, the house was hot with the rooms sealed and the hallway closed. Then came winter and we couldn’t get the house warm still couldn't get the house warm. I built a new house as soon as possible.
Having three young boys the new house was built to withstand them. The boys had trouble withstanding the house. All the walls inside and out were made of block, so when the boys in their play abused the house, it did not give; the boys gave instead. Gashed scalps, bruised arms and legs were common.
In building the house I decided to have central heat, but no air conditioning. My rationale was that we had never had air conditioning before and by not using the energy we would not be polluting this earth as much or contributing as to our capitalist imperialism. Right or wrong that was my thinking about at it at the time. Today, I understand that hidden deep down inside of me I knew.
This house is considerably older than the one we lived in but it is an example the dog trot house:
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