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Old 01-07-2022, 01:03 PM
viscousmemories's Avatar
viscousmemories viscousmemories is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ypsilanti, Mi
Gender: Male
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Default On the Lake

Inspired by (but not wanting to hijack) This Old House of Ours, here is a thread about the house my sister and I just bought.

It was built by the previous owner in 1980, after his kids were grown and just before he retired. His wife developed dementia in this house and he cared for her for about 10 yrs before she passed away about 8 years ago. As he is now 95 years old, his kids moved him into an assisted living facility. When we met him at the closing, the first thing he did was whip out his phone and start showing us pictures of the sunset over the lake. I hate the feeling that we took that away from him, even though it was nothing to do with us.

When we initially came by to look at the house they were in the process of filling a construction dumpster with everything inside. Furniture and all. Not a terrible decision overall since most of the stuff was dated at best, dirty or deteriorating at worst. But when I saw a huge collection of photos and memorabilia in the basement I implored them to leave it behind so I could rummage through it if we ended up buying the house. Short story long, they left it and we bought the house.

As I mentioned elsewhere here the previous owner was a professional photographer for Ford (and Kaiser-Fraser before that) for decades, and a whole bunch of photographic slides were among the things left behind. I have been working on digitizing them. I've completed about 12,500 so far which I estimate to be about half, and so far most of them are personal. There are just as many (if not more) negatives that I will probably scan too. And prints. Many thousands of prints, from small to poster size.

There are also a ton of newspapers, clippings, magazines, postcards, diaries, scrapbooks, and other paraphernalia that make every trip to the basement like an archaeological dig. It's pretty awesome and I'm enjoying the hell out of it, but I haven't decided how best to share it with the world without violating anyone's privacy and/or not doing it justice. I also want to supply any relevant historical organizations with anything they might find interesting.

I'd love to hear any ideas about things I could do with this stuff! Of course I'll share stuff here but there is so much content I'm thinking it might warrant a separate website or blog or something.

The house itself has been another challenge. I probably would have just moved into it as it was because I adapt to squalor pretty easily, but my sister insisted that we needed to get new carpet, paint it, replace all the outlets and light switches, etc. so it has been a huge project for the past couple months. I pulled out all the carpet myself (with a little help from another one of my sisters), replaced all the toilets and bathroom exhaust fans, did all the electrical stuff, and spent a huge amount of time chopping down bushes in the backyard. My sister (with some help from other siblings) did all the painting of the celings, walls, and even the kitchen cabinets. I will post some before and after pictures later.
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