House Hunting

Jim's House - spring of 1971

Jim’s House – Spring of 1971

I had gone off to college and left Jim living in a great apartment. The apartment had a working fireplace and a wonderful view of the city from atop a hill. I have many wonderful memories of that apartment.

One day when I was home from college for a weekend Jim announced that he was seriously looking at a house. He had tried to buy the apartment house he was living in, a duplex on the hillside, but that deal fell through for whatever reason. With the unbridled knowledge of a nineteen year old “man” I suggested to Jim that moving to that little house by the railroad tracks would be tantamount to disaster.

Fortunately, Jim did not listen to my wisdom. The house was plain and quite unadorned when he moved in. The accompanying photo doesn’t do it justice. By the time Jim moved out in 2007 there were far more trees, bushes, landscaping, flowers, and a large garage. He made the place his own far more than any apartment would have ever been. In his letter below, Jim relates how quickly he made the decision to buy the house.

Sometimes you decide something before knowing there’s a choice. These kind of events have happened to me enough times to doubt the existence of “free will.” When Judy and I bought the house we’re in now we did not make a conscious decision. We looked at each other and agreed, wordlessly, that this was the place. That was over thirty-five years ago and we’re still in the same house. Jim saw this little house on the cul-de-sac and apparently found the decision already settled. It was the right choice for him, too, as he was in that house for almost thirty-five years.

Jim  writes:

In 1970 (I was 46) the thought occured to me that all these years I had been paying rent. First on furnished rooms then on apartments. There wasn’t a solitary thing to account for all that money spent other than the fact that I had a roof over my head and a place to sleep.

The yearning for something more permanent kept nagging at me. In Dec. of 1961 I had moved from Devils Lake to Jamestown to become manager of the Sears Catalog Sales Store. Since that time my thoughts often turned toward owning some type of property. “Hank” Dardis owned a real estate firm and I sought him to discuss my wishes. It would be an easy deal for him. I still had entitlement left from the WWII GI Bill.

Jim continues below …


Jim Letter039