Historical Naivete

Riding along through the Texas countryside, I saw lots and lots of political flags, signs, and such. It reminded me of how divided this country is today. I began to reflect on the books I’ve been reading lately, most of which touch on the history of this country, and how there’s always been a lot of cruelty to those who are not in power and a lot of fighting to keep those people “in their places.” I’m referring to pretty much anyone who isn’t a white dude, and preferably a white dude with mostly English background.

All is not lost. I have a nice photo of flowers now, which is revealed when the bathroom door is shut!

Reading about lynchings, realizing that people came to watch them for amusement and sent out postcards of themselves posing with the victims, learning how each new wave of immigrant to the US was treated, and learning how hard men fought to keep women from having the right to own land, sign their own contracts, or vote all have been turning my stomach lately.

At the top are the Germania Hall tokens.

Yesterday it came to life on our own property. The friend who likes to do metal detecting around town came over to investigate the fields behind the Ross property. He found two old pennies, some buckles, some keys and two tokens. These were tokens used as currency at a local dance hall, Germania Hall. It was a big deal at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. How cool, right?

The hall was remodeled in 1914, says the Cameron Herald.

But, it abruptly shut down. Why? Because of the huge wave of intolerance towards German immigrants around World War 1. This is also why Lee’s dad didn’t speak German, though his parents did. My friend Steve, who’s from Indiana, had the same thing happen in his family. Everyone just stopped speaking German.

By the way, parts of Germania Hall were used to construct Weid Hardware in the Dutchtown area of Cameron (Dutch secretly being Deutsch). I would love to know where the hall was, but these newspaper articles never gave addresses. Everyone knew where everything was in the early 1900s!

Cameron Herald article from June 7, 1917, when the hall was still in use.

The US has always been this way. There is always someone who is the enemy or the class viewed as less than human. I just didn’t know this when I was younger! I honestly thought there were very few ignorant and intolerant people, and that society was moving at a brisk pace toward modernism and equality for all. Women could vote! Blacks could drink out of any damn water fountain they wanted to, and went to the same schools as me.

I was way too insulated, and remained so through grad school, when I was in this happy haven of love and equality that I thought applied almost everywhere. I sure was naïve. Plus, I thought that racists, misogynists, etc., were just ignorant, and that if they realized how they were treating other human beings much like themselves, they’d have some big epiphany and stop. Really, Suna? Really?

At least I have a nice, smelly candle to soothe my worried mind.

And get this, I actually thought that surely everyone would want others to have access to health care, a living wage, and a stable, safe place to live. Nope. I totally missed the fact that there is another completely legitimate point of view where everyone is in it for themselves, and only you, your family, and people just like you deserve good things. Everyone else isn’t quite human. Oops. I was a doofus. I may think folks of this midset are worthy of respect and kindness by virtue of being fellow humans, but they don’t think that of me and all us hippies.

And we will always have the love of our dogs, who don’t care one bit about who we like or dislike. These guys were sure glad to see Lee come home yesterday.

Well, I will just wait and see what happens. I’m ready, because I know who I am and like myself. I just wish I had paid a little more attention to actual history, not what I read in watered-down books that universally praised the winners and villified the losers in any conflict. The good news is that with the world being just as it always has been and apparently always will be, people have managed to forge loving relationships, live peaceful lives, and grow spiritually. There are just more ways to do it than I thought in my youth.

Ross Is Ours! Kathleen Is Overjoyed

Today is the first day of the next phase of our Hearts Homes and Hands project. We closed on a pretty big piece of property in Cameron, the Ross house we’ve showed you a couple of times.

It’s ours! Let’s get that tree out of the entry.

Now Hermits’ Rest Enterprises owns the cute house, the land around it, and a lot across the street.

Look! It’s a lot!

After the closing, which was nice and smooth, we met the heirs of the previous owner. Then Lee, Kathleen, and I ran to the house and gleefully pulled up ALL the many For Sale signs around the property.

It felt good. If Kathleen wasn’t recovering from some medical stuff, she’d have turned cartwheels. Her dream house is ready for her to have a wonderful future in it…well, as soon as it has a functioning kitchen and bathroom. Details, details.

Kathleen is trying not to run in the house and start moving stuff around.

We’re all enjoying dreaming of Victorian decor, that is when we aren’t working on the current project! the end is near!

We Have a Date

No, we aren’t going anywhere fun or doing anything exciting together. Darn. But, it’s almost that good, at least to our ranch community: we have a closing date for the Ross house in Cameron! Next week can’t come too soon!

Our favorite tree at the Ross house.

When I got the message from the title company that it was a go, I wanted to reach out through the internet and hug Kim, but that’s not appropriate right now. We are being asked to do an in-person closing, which makes me a bit uncomfortable, but we can wear masks and hope they have a big table!

Now that we have the date, we can make our nebulous plans for the house more concrete. While Felix was here yesterday, he figured out a way to have multiple systems, so parts of the house that aren’t in use can be closed off and only heated or cooled enough to prevent mold or frost. That will help a lot.

Hmm. The address sure changes.

Now I am going to get moving and learn as much about the house and it’s previous owners as possible (the Lesters, the Mondricks, others). I’ll be talking to a lot of people I know in Cameron and looking up information on the history of the place. All those documents in the attic will be very helpful, and perhaps the historical museum will want some of them, too. I’d hesitated to mess around with them until I was sure we’d be getting the house. And I hope we are able to save and restore some of the beautiful photographs to use in the main parlor area.

Pretty sure this is Lillian.

So far, I’ve figured out that Ross Avenue is named after former governor, Sul Ross, who was born in the first house in Cameron, where the pavilion is now. I better get started talking to people.

Checking in on the Ross House

Do you remember the old house we looked at a while back and put an offer on? Well, after some issues and delays (as always, it seems) with pandemics and disappearing heirs, we’re a go to close on it soon. We’d just about given up!

To refresh your memory, here’s our first post and another one with more photos. I am amused that we were trying to close ASAP back in March. Time passes slowly here.

Future living room for Kathleen and Chris, since it adjoins the master bedroom.

Today we went back by the house so that Chris could measure all the rooms and we could finalize our plans for it. We’re not sure all of what we’ll do, but Chris and Kathleen are looking forward to making it their Cameron home once it’s livable (that will require a kitchen and working bathroom).

Future master bedroom. The color is more accurate in the above picture. Whatever, it will change.

While we were thinking about laundry rooms, kitchen islands, and upstairs offices, I wandered around looking at stuff, as usual. I found a few treasures I had to bring back with me.

Most exciting to me are these precious little cards, in the series “Useful Birds of America.” I may have to get a better picture and see how many people know by sight.

I also simply could not resist bringing these guys home and cleaning them up. The horse and rooster tiles just beg to go in my office, and the little pug with squinty eyes reminds me of my dear departed Scrunchy.

These are just a few of the things we hope to clean, repair, and give new love and life to in this house. We’d just about given up hope on getting it, but now we’re full of plans again.

LOTS of potential in this lot!

We’re also full of plans for the vacant lot right across from the house that we should also be getting. So many possibilities!

Please fix me up, begs the Ross house.

What color should we paint this Victorian beauty?

This Old Ross House, Part 2

I got a few requests for more pictures of the Ross house in Cameron, which we are hoping to close on ASAP. It will be perfect for Chris, Kathleen and their family while they are here building a business, building a family, and whatnot. Then it will be available for our next project. Win!

Here’s the big oak tree on the side of the house. There are grape hyacinths and other lovely plants just waiting for a bit of TLC.

Today I’ll share some pictures of rooms we didn’t look at yesterday, as well as a bit of the property around the house. I believe that if you click on an image, you’ll be able to see it bigger.

The attic really was the best part of the house, for me. Here are some more of the photos and documents we found. If any of these are images or items about your ancestors, we’ll give them to you once we take possession!

And finally, I wanted to show you how large the lot is. It goes all the way to the road past the large tree in the distance here.

A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves

You know how hard it is for me to not share when something exciting happens. I’ve had to wait a couple of weeks for this one, and it’s been killing me. Good news is needed these days, and we have some! Let me tell you a story (which I will share on another blog, too, but that’s okay).

Back Story

Once upon a time, last month, Kathleen was taking a back way from the grocery store to the office. She passed by a house with a For Sale by Owner sign on it. Kathleen thought it was really beautiful and reminded her of her grandmother’s house. She kept driving by it, but didn’t mention it to me or Lee, since we are so busy with the Pope Residence project. She did call the seller and got information on it, but never went farther than that.

Look! It’s a cool old house!

It kept tempting her, though. So, finally she broke down and told us about it, the week before we were scheduled to leave on our vacation. She scheduled a viewing, but could only get it for the day we were supposed to leave, because the current owner lives out of town. We debated whether to put off the trip or not, but I really did want to see my family…

Look! It’s the other side’s equally grand entrance.

We were pretty excited by her description of this large 1885 house on over 1.5 acres that had been partially renovated, so we decided to drive over there and at least look at the outside.

Continue reading “A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves”