Introduction

Chapter One
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Chapter Two
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Chapter Three
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Chapter Four
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Ring W. Lardner's

Own Your Own Home

Chapter One: It's the Only Life

 

Sampler
Sport & Play
Symptoms of Being 35
Own Your Own Home
In the Wake of the News
Short Stories
Music
Zanzibar
Plays
Film

   

Then Grace says lets buy a lot some wheres &
build our own house & I says what do you think I am
rockefellow & she says no but you dont half to be
rockefellow to build a house now days
because you can borry the money & pay it back
a little to a time & just like paying rent only
your getting more for your money.


Next

 

   
 
   

Chicago, May 3--

     Brother Charley.  I bet when you here what I & Grace has made up our minds you & Mary will wisht you was doing the same thing or may be you will follow our exampel & do the same thing & I hope you will because its the only way to live when you got childern.
     Charley we made up our minds to buy a place some wheres out in the subburbs & build a house not a grate big house of corse but a house where a man can move a round in with out bumping in to the walls all the wile and have enough ground so the childern wont half to be cooped up all the day like in a flat but can run around & get some exxersise.
     The other day the Walters come to see us & stayed all p m & little Ed & the baby both of them hollered all the wile they was there & when the Walters had went I says to Grace its a bout time you lerned them babys to shut there mouth when we got Co. & says I can't do nothing with them because there cooped up in the flat all day & dont never get out & how can you expect them to be nothing but cross & mean all the wile.  She says you are makeing good money now & I dont see why is it we cant find a place out in the country some wheres & live there & it wouldent take you no longer to get to work then it does now with this rotten L servus.
     So I says well when our lease runs out in Oct. I will look a round in some of them subburbs & see can we rent a house reasonible or may be we can buy a little 1 on payments.  Then Grace says lets buy a lot some wheres & build our own house & I says what do you think I am rockefellow & she says no but you dont half to be rockefellow to build a house now days because you can borry the money & pay it back a little to a time & just like paying rent only your getting more for your money.  Then she says and besides I got $500 in the bank that you can take & how much you got in the bank your self.  I had got out my bank book & seen where I had a bout $300 & with her $500 that makes a bout $800 & we can get a nice lot some wheres for that amt. & then pay for the house by the mo. & build a bungello say costing $1200 and have it all payed for in 1 yr. by paying $25 per wk. & meen time we can live on $25 per wk. & cut down on cloths & nickle shows & groserys.
     I am going to get off tomorrow p m and Annies comeing over to look out for the babys while I & Grace gos to 1 of the subburbs & we are going to look them all over 1 to a time before we chose the 1 we want so it may be will be 2 or 3 mos. before I can write & tell you where are we going to locat at.  But now I cant hardly wait till we got our lot & started to build our bungello because a man aint realy liveing when he is liveing in a flat & espeshaly when youve got childern. You better get busy Charley & get in to the game.

Kindest to Mary.

Fred A. Gross.


Chicago, May 5--

     Brother Charley.   I dident think I would be writeing you this news so quick but we got our lot all ready & its out to Allison 16 mi. west of the Loop on the c d & x & it dont only take 4O min. for the trains to come in to town & it takes me 35 min. now to go in on the L.  We was going to look over all the subburbs but Allison was the 1st. 1 on the list & Grace got stuck on it right a way & so did I & we went a round with the real estate man & he showed us some swell lots & 1 that you couldent get a way from because it was big & roomy & 3 big trees on it that the real estate man says is maple & a real bargun because its 100 ft. frontidge & 150 ft. deep & only $1500 & we can pay for it when ever we get ready provideing its in side of 2 yrs. & thats easy.
     I had $100 a long with me when we went out & when I seen what a bargun we was gettin & the real estate man says we better hurry if we wanted it because some body else was libel to see it & cop it out so I give the real estate man the $100 to bind the bargun & he is going to get the papers fixed up today & then I will give him the other $700 we got saved in the bank & then we can borry the money to build the bungello & pay

that back a mo. at a time & finnish up paying for the lot after words.  We figure that in 2 yrs. we will be all cleaned up & have our own home & not be worring a bout no rent onct a mo. & they'll be room for the kids to play a round all day with out no danger of them being ran over by a st. car or some thing.
     I got a date with the real estate man to get the papers fixed up & must hurry down town. You better get busy Charley & get in to the game.

Kindest to Mary.

Fred A. Gross.


Chicago, May 7--

     Dear Charley.   Well Charley I guess I was in to much of a hurry & it dont look now like we would start building this summer but will half to wait till later on.  I dident know how they done them things but found out that theys a lot of red tape & you cant do them things in no hurry like I thot.  The real estate man dident have no papers fixed up the day before yest. like he promused but had them fixed up yest. & he give me the warranty deed or what ever it is they call it & I give him my note for $700. for the rest of what we owe on the lot & the notes for 2yrs with 6% int. per annum & all so cost me $25. to get what they call a garantee polisy from the title & trust Co. which garantees that the title is o k & they cant no body take the lot a way from me un less I dont pay up the bal. which of corse I will pay up as soon is posable.
     Well after this was fixed up I went a round to the bank where I had my saveings at & went to the real estate dept. & seen the man there and asked him did they make building lones & the man says yes.  Well I says I want to borry $1200 to build a bungello out to Allison & he says do you own a lot & I says yes & he says let me take a look at your papers so I show him my papers & he says yes you own a lot all but paying $700 more on it.  I says yes but I own it because there is the deed & the garantee polisy & when I get threw paying you back what you lone me to build the house I will pay off the bal. on the lot & he says o no you wont because we dont do no busness that way & 1st. you got to pay off what you owe on the lot & then may be we can fix it up a bout a building lone but I wont promus nothing. Well I argude with him but nothing doing & when I come home & told Grace I thot shed cry her eyes

out but finely we seen they wasent no use in that so all we can do now is save up & pay off the $700 we still owe on the lot & then we can start building & meen time we can be planing the bungello & we figure that we can save $30 per wk. in sted of $25 if we live pretty clost & can have the lot payed for in less than 6 mos. & that will be in Nov. & we can be all ready to start building & get the foundashun layed before real cold weather & then the carpenters can finnish up dureing the winter & we can be in the house next spring & we will half to renew our lease for 6 mos. but we dont care nothing a bout that because it aint so bad liveing in a flat dureing winter when the kids couldent be out much any way.

Kindest rgds. to Mary.

F. A. Gross.


Chicago, Nov. 2--

     Brother Charley.   Well Charley we got our lot payed for sooner then we figured & its all payed for now because Graces old man come acrost on her berth day & give her $100 & says it was for her to buy cloths with but she says we would stick it right in to the lot & the old man wouldent never know the dffrence & I says all right thats fine.  But the man that owned the lot before we got it stuck us up for $20 int. & I dident see how they could be int. when we dident yet have the lot no where near a yr. but the real estate man says it was right & what could I do.
     But we aint going to build no bungello after all because Grace lerned from her brothers wife Gus Walters that bungellos was all out of date & no good & they wasent no room in them & if you was going to build a house why not build a good 1.  So we been talking to & young archateck & he says we can put up a swell 2 story house for $2000 & he will draw up the plans & see that the house is built o k & all we half to give him is 5% of what the house cost or $100 & he will over look the hole busness & hes a good archateck all right because he graduated out of the univ. & got his office way up on pretty near the top flr. of the Jackson bldg.   Him and Grace has been figureing out plans for the house all yest. & today & I am going down to the bank as soon as they get there plans all fixed up & the contrack let & fix up a bout the lone & they wont be no trouble a bout it now because I got the rec. in full for the lot & dont owe nothing.  The archateck says he will have the plans drawed up in a day or 2 & the contrack let before the end of the wk. & he says it should ought to be easy to get a contrackter cheap now because its the dull season & if the work is huryed a long they can get the foundashun in before real cold weather & the house finnished by the middle of march & our lease is till the 1 of May but may be I can get rid of it the 1 of march by sub leaseing it to some body else.
     Well Charley we wont be able to do no high flying for the next couple yrs. because we got to keep on puting a way $30. per wk. & if we can do that we should ought to have the hole thing payed for archateck & all in less then lyr. & 1/2 int. incluseive & I figure the hole thing includeing the lot will amt. to a bout $3700 & thats a lot of money but look what wear geting a nice home of our own where decent people lives & a big yd. where we can let the kids run a raund & may be raise chickens & have a garden.  I guess thats better than paying $25 per mo. rent & being cooped up in a 4 room flat eh Charley.

Kindest to Mary.

Fred A. Gross.


Chicago, Nov. 15--

     Dear Charley.   Charley wear going to have some house.  The plans is drawed & the contrack let & there going to begin building tommorrow that is brakeing ground for the foundashun if I can get things fixed up down to the bank this p m.  Ive gave thie archateck $25 as 1st payment for his work & I dont half to give him the other $75 till 30 days after the house is done next march.
     I will tell you a bout the house Charley & you can see how swell wear going to be fixed up.  The house is going to have 7 rms. 3 down stares & 4 up stares.  Down stares they will be the parler & the dining rm. & kichen & up stares a rm. for I & Grace & a rm. for the kids & a rm. where you & Mary can sleep when you come to vissit us & a rm. for the hired girl if we ever have 1. Then of corse they will be a bath rm.  The house is 2 storys besides the cellar & the house is going to be wood painted green & a frt. & back porch.   It will be het with hot water from the boiler down cellar & besides we will have a fire place in the parlor. They will be gas & electrick lts. & all moderate conveenyenses.  Its going to be set bk. 50 ft. off the st. & that will give us a big lawn beside a big bk. yd. where we can have chickens & a garden.
     Its all in the contrack & the contracker cant get a way from it because if he does he wont get no money & the $2000 includs evry thing & hes got to be all done with the house by the 1 of march & the archateck over looks evry thing & sees that all the work is o k so I dont half to do no worring but all I half to do is to pay so much per wk. down to the bank.  If Id knew how easy it was Id of build a house long a go but I thot a man should ought to know some thing a bout building him self before he tackeld it but a man dont half to know nothing because the archateck takes it all off of his hands & does all the worring for $100.  Well Charley I got to shave & go down to the bank.  You better get busy & get in to the game Charley & dont stay cooped up in a flat all your life.

Best rgds. to Mary.

F. A. Gross.

 

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