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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Brick By Brick

There's me on my wedding day posing outside the house where I grew up with Mom and Dad, my sisters and sister-in-law. My father built most of the house. It was a mere shell when my parents purchased it. It had plywood on the outside, which was painted pink. Inside there were 2x4s, but no walls. It was intended as a summer bungelow, but with the addition of a heater, it was converted to a year-round residence.

My father, a journalist, with no experience in carpentry became a do-it-yourself expert. He stapled insulation against the exterior walls. He put up sheetrock. He framed in the porch and made it into two bedrooms.

Eventually, he dug out a cellar, poured a concrete floor and put up cinder block walls. He did this all little by little, a section at a time, and it took many years.

Since the original porch became bedrooms, my father made an entrance facing the street with a small, wooden porch. However, there was a brick factory in Cliffwood, N.J., and Dad decided to make a nice brick porch. He bought one hundred bricks and loaded them into our Ramber station wagon. One hundred bricks weigh a lot. The back end of the wagon came awfully close to the ground, but Dad happily unloaded all those bricks and started his project.

He soon had to return and buy more bricks. Again he purchased one hundred bricks and loaded them into the back of the old Ramber. That still wasn't enough bricks. He returned again and again to the brick factory until finally the porch was complete. It had flower boxes and was large enough for a few chairs and a small table. In the summertime, when the flowers were blooming it was quaint and charming.

For a journalist with no previous experience in masonry, it was an amazing feat. Dad proved to me that you can do just about anything if you set your mind to it, which is probably one of the reasons I'm still writing. :-)

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