Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Houses, Homes, Habitats, Huts or Hovels

What Makes a House a Home?

Please click to enlarge photos

Over at ABC Wednesday our Host is featuring the letter "H."  As an auctioneers daughter I grew up Honing my skills in my fathers auction House and around farm, Home and estate sales. I considered posting about all those wonderful things that start with "H" that came across the auction block and ended up in my own House over the years.  Like my Hoosier cabinet, Harvest table, Hepplewhite chairs and Homer Laughlin china I use each time we have Houseguest's. But, decided I would rather share some of the Hundred photos I have collected of unique Houses some of which are weathered and worn (that I am also linking to Carmi's theme at Thematic Photographic) and the tales of what I Have seen of the Happenings in some of the Homes I have visited.     

I Have worked for Home Party Plans and catered in Homes, plus, had a Huge number of other jobs, both paid and volunteer, that took me into the Houses of the people I dealt with.  House, Home, Habitat, Hut or Hovel, are just a few of the "H" words that can describe a building where someone or a family might Habitate. No matter what name you give to the places where people choose to Hibernate, I have been in most of them over the course of my Hugely varied career; everything from elegant mansions to one room shanties and even a tent or two.  

Elegant Mansion
Eufaula, Alabama
I Have been in a House that had dozens of snakeskin's circling the living room walls and cages of snakes that extended above and over the owner's bed.   There were also cages of live rats and rabbits in their dining room.  

A boarded up wreck
St. Clair, Missouri 
 I have been in a large stately antebellium House that from the street appeared to be the nicest House on the block, but, the sides and back had not seen a coat of pain in forty years and the interior was Horribly neglected with peeling wallpaper and patched linoleum. 

A big house past its prime
Eufaula, Alabama
I have been in a House that was almost a mansion with furniture in the public rooms only and mattresses on the floor and clothes stored in cardboard boxes in the bedrooms. It must have been a necessity to keep up the appearance of wealth.

150 year old log cabin with a giant tree
Union, Missouri 

I have been in Houses so cluttered that they only Had narrow aisles in which to walk and there were no empty chairs to sit on.  I Have also been in Houses where the pets used more space than the Humans.

Old Hotel built in 1863
Now a bed and breakfast Inn 
I Have been in Houses that had no utilities by choice and Houses with working utilities that the people chose not to use. One family cooked on a wood stove and used oil lamps.  The electric power was only used to operate the pump that brought the water to the kitchen sink and nowhere else.  I have been in a House with modern plumbing but the family only used the bathtub and still made the walk down the path to the privy.
Log House
Dutzow, Missouri 
I have been in Houses that were in a constant state of rehab for decades. Lots of unfinished projects that kept rooms from being used and no sense of urgency about getting them finished.  

 Historic Bed and Breakfast
New Haven, Missouri 
 I have been in Houses with Holes in the roofs and buckets catching the drips.  Closed windows that blew the curtains when the wind howled and while the folks could afford the repairs just did not see the need, just yet.  

Changing Colors
New Haven, Missouri 
As a small child, I learned to count  in a spacious southern house by roaming the rooms counting the doors and windows.  The in-Habitants only lived in one room by choice.

Seen better days
Union, Missouri 
I have been in Houses that were filthy and Houses that were almost sterile. While some were Homey others never would be, including one that kept chickens in the spare bedroom. The bedroom door was replaced with chicken wire, Hutches lined the wall and the floor was covered in sawdust.

100 year old Brick
Washington, Missouri
I Have also been in Houses were the people could not afford to keep the utilities on, but the absence of power was the only symptom of financial Hardship.  
Dark and gloomy
Washington, Missouri 
I once worked with a woman who replaced all the things in her House a bug could Hide in every few years. She felt killing them was murder but she couldn't stand bugs. I think most of the "bugs" were in her Head.
A doll size House
Washington, Missouri 
I Have been in Homes that Had never seen anything but small change and one dollar bills, yet they always seemed to be filled with friends, neighbors and family and, most of all, Hope .  There were Homes with every convenience but Had a formal coldness about them. As Will Rogers once said: "There are a lot of folks who 'Have eaten' who ain't 'ate."

I call this the Fourth of July house
Union, Missouri 
I Have also been in Homes where the residents Hated each other and the police Had to visit frequently due to neighbor's complaints, but the Homeowners made no effort to stop the battles or leave.  

Why do people live like this?  What is it about their Houses that keeps them there?  Simple really. Each of these Houses was someone's Home.  What made it their Home was not four walls and a roof, or the turmoil that went on inside those walls, but, the fact that it was a place where they were free to be themselves and live in the style that suited them regardless of whether their friends, family, neighbors or this Helpful stranger off the street agreed with their choices.  

Linking to:
this weeks theme is the letter "H."

Also linking to:
  this weeks theme is Weathered and Worn. 


  1. Oh I totally enjoyed your H story. So many examples of how we live in houses. The pics are all great, some prettier than othes. Theres no place like home I guess.

  2. I was going to say, this would fit with Carmi's at TP too. I am such a fan of these kinds of places, the charm and beauty and the stories they hold. So cool how you supplied all the info and even where so one could check it out too! It's funny about that what makes a house a home.... the people! I can still hear my mother scream if I called a house a home!

  3. Superb. The tree growing out of the log cabin is older that 150 years going by the diameter of its trunk. That's the shot of the lot for me.

  4. Lindas casas e cumpriste bem tua tarefa com a letra "H" ,


  5. What an entertaining and awakening post about houses. I enjoyed reading until the end. You really had been to many places:)

  6. What a fabulous journey through those houses, Rita! Very interesting thoughts along the way...great post!

  7. I like this post! And I like the pictures. My house as a kid looked nothing like these, but I think it was the one with the leaky roof!

    Thanks for commenting on WBW.

    Stewart M

  8. This is a great post. Back in the brief period when we tried to HIGHLIGHT some superior items, this would definitely made the cut!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  9. Wow! Great post and excellent photography ~ (A Creative Harbor)

    Thanks for 'coming by' ~ ^_^

  10. In the place where I grew up in the Philippines, you will see a lot of huts..

    Hello in Korean language
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  11. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post, Rita! First of all, your comment on humanity in general was so profound! The way we live is often so "telling." But, when you look at the houses each at its own face value, I have to say the mansion in Eufala was wonderful, but my favorites were the big house in Eufala that had seen better days (Halloween-ish!) and the 100 year old log cabin (I always wanted to find two or three of these and tear them down and create my own log house out of the old logs!) and the 100 year old brick house. I am just so "into" history even something falling down is a favorite for me, because of its historic quality! I always thought I would end up with a certain kind of house when we retired, and unfortunately our lives didn't go in that direction. We simply rent, but I am thankful every day for the house that we live in! We were homeless for two and a half years before my husband started receiving disability, because he was unemployed, and the money I made wasn't enough to cover rent anywhere. We lived with family members, friends, and even occupied a space above an office for a while. It was a horrible time!!!!! Your focus changes when you go through something like that, believe me!

    And while we are on the subject, I wanted to comment on your comment on my post about not wanting to live in this kind of climate. We didn't either. :-) Again, life takes you where IT wants to take you, and I am just grateful we are close to our kids....and I think you can see that I make the most of where I am, which is what we all should do, right? No, this isn't exactly where we thought we'd be now, but I'm not complaining! :-)

  12. Rita, This was a very interesting post and it covered all kinds of living in houses, hovels etc. Just made you stop and think about your own circumstances and how people in general make use of what they have or don't have. Thanks...

  13. Hello, Rita
    This is such a clever and well written post featuring the letter "H". I'm still caught up with the ideas of chickens in a room of one house!

  14. What a great connection! I always find it sad when I come across a house that was once lovely, but is no longer so. It often doesn't take much to keep a place from deteriorating. But still...

    If only we knew the stories of these places. If only we could snap our fingers and bring some of them back to their glory.

  15. Great post Rita! I love these old places and hope they aren't allowed to deteriorate into nothing!

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed this post - your commentary and your photos. The log cabin with the tree is interesting and I bet that Eufaula house was a beauty in her prime.
    I used to wonder how people could live in apartment buildings for years on end - and yet, here I am, going on 15 years and I don't mind a bit. Well, maybe a little.


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