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

Own Your Own Home
Chapter One: It's the Only Life

[Part Two of Twelve]

But may be by the 1 of march the house will be
so as we can stick the furnitur in it but I dont know
& they got me worred & the archateck aint worrying
at all tho thats what he gets payed for.
I give him $100 to worry for me & then I take his job
a way from him.

Back Next


Sport & Play
Symptoms of Being 35
Own Your Own Home
In the Wake of the News
Short Stories


Chicago, Nov. 16--

     Brother Charley.   Well Charley I dont see how it is that these banks ever gos broke & blows up & they take a bout as many chances as the phone Co. that makes you put in your nickle before you get a hold of central. & here the papers keeps after us for not halling in all the stick up men they is on the sts. & dont never say nothing a bout halling in these here banks that is the worst stick ups they is.  I went down to the bank yest.   p m & seen the man in the lone dept. & showed him the lot was all payed for & I had the plans all fixed up for the house & he says how much is the house going to cost & I told him $2000 & then he stalled a round for a hour & come back & asked me how much did I want to borry & I says $2000 & he says well we will lone you $2000 but not no more then that & I says who asked you to lone more then that & then he says let me see your contrack with the contrackter & I showed it to him & he says the only way we do busness is to have enough money to pay for evry thing includeing the extras & the archateck & all that & we do the paying down here to the bank & you dont have nothing to do with it but we keep the money and pay it out on the orders of the archateck.  I says all right that's all right with me & I wont half to worry a bout it.  He says you will half to indors the archatecks orders & I says all right.
     Then he got a pensil & a peace of paper & says how much do you owe the archateck & I told him & then he says they aint nothing in the contrack a bout electrick light fixtures or finnished hard ware or wall paper so I called up the archateck & he says no they dident never includ them things because they was picked out to sute our tast after the house was build.  So I come back from the phone & told the man we would pick them things out after words & pay for them our self & he says o no you wont because we got to have all the money here to cover all the expences.  I says well then add it up what you think it will be & I will borry that much more but he says no $2000 is all we can lone you.  I says well them things wont come for a long wile & meen time they can be building the house & long before they get it build I will give you the rest of the money but he says no your own moneys got to be payed out 1st. & ourn after words.  So I called up Grace & told her a bout it & she says how much extra will it be & I got the man to figure it up & he says the total would be $305 besides the $2000 & the extra $305 is $75 for the archateck & $70 for hard ware & $50 for wall paper & $50 for electrick lt. fixtures & $30 for insurence & $30 more for the banks comishan which I got to pay the bank for there trouble when Im the 1 thats haveing the trouble.  The insurence is for 5 yrs. & if the house burns the bank gets the insurence & I dont get nothing but I pay for the insurence & then besides all that they will be $25 more that the bank sokes me for geting an other garantee polisy for them self so they will be sure the title is o k & I all ready payed $25 to find out the same thing & Im satisfide but I got to pay for an other 1 for the bank.
     Well Charley I got to dig up $330 some wheres & I dont know where it will be at but its got to be some wheres or they wont be no house & winters geting closter all the wile.  Dont never get mixed up in nothing like this Charley.   If it wasent to late Id tell the bank to go to.

Fred A. Gross.

Chicago, Nov. 20--

     Brother Charley.   Wear started at last & Grace borryed the extra $330 off of her old man & Ive gave it to the bank & now they got it all tho there suposed to be loneing it to me & I pay the int. & the comishon & all that & dont never even see the money or dont know weather they is any or not.  But what do you think Charley the bank wont even let me pay it back when I get it but I got to wait 2 yrs. & & pay int. all that time before I can pay it all up even if I should pick up a million dollars on the st. tomorrow & I cant pay so much per wk. but I got to pay it this way.  6% int. twict a yr. besides paying back on the prinsipal evry yr. for 5 yrs. unless I want to pay it all up in 2 & yrs. & if I dont it will be $400 evry yr. for 5 yrs. besides the int. & yet the papers keeps after us and pans the life out of us because theys 1 or 2 stick up men a round town.
     I had to bring the contrackter to the bank with me & him & the man in the bank went over the contrack to gether & fixed up how he was going to get payed & he gets a little at a time & the sub contrackter hes hired for the diffrent parts of the house gets there money when ever the contrackter tells the archateck they got some comeing & then the archateck signs a order on the bank & I in dors the order but before the archateck signs the order he over looks the work & sees that its o k so I dont half to do no worring a bout that.
     Well theys 1 good thing Charley I wont half to lay a side no $80 per wk. but will only half to lay a side a bout $45 per mo. provideing I dont want to get all cleaned up till I half to which is 5 yrs. from now but if I want to get all cleaned up as soon as I can which is 2 yrs. I will half to lay a side a bout $80 per mo. & I guess thats what I will do.  We dont half to worry a bout the $330 Grace borryed off her old man because he sends her $100 evry berth day & he wont half to send her nothing for 3 yrs. & we will be all square.

Fred A. Gross.

Chicago, Nov. 29--

     Dear Charley.   Well Charley they started work on the house & what do you think they done right off the real. They dug the foundashun the rong way of the lot & now they got to do it all over again but it wont cost me nothing because its there own fault & they dug the foundashun like as if the long way of the house was going to run the way the st. & it dont run that way in the plans & they got to fill in part of what they dug out & do some more diging & it dont matter but it takes time & if they dont hurry up & get the foundashun layed the ground will be froze stiff & they cant get started before winter.  I told Grace to let them go a head & build the house the way they started but her and the archateck give me the laugh & so there going to have it did over.
     It snowed a little this a m but the archateck says that dont make no diffrence as long is it dont freez hard & the ground gets froze.  You see the foundashun is concreet & if it should get froze it might maybe crack some time & brake & give a way & the house might may be fall down on our head.
     Well Charley I guess things will go a long o k now & Im glad wear started & if I was you I would get in to the game because liveing in a house is the only way to live when you got childern & I guess its all right for the bank to have all my money & all the papers a bout the house & lot because this is a old bank & no chance of blowing up but it seems kind a funny that I cant keep the papers or nothing to show that I own a lot or own any thing but liveing in a house is the only thing when you got childern & speaking of childern how is little May & both Ed & the baby is geting a long o k.

Kindest rgds. from I & Grace.

F. A. Gross.

Chicago, Dec. 23--

     Brother Charley.   This is to wish you a mary xmas & Charley I know you will exxcus I & Grace from not sending nothing to you & Mary this yr. but this house building has got me on the jump & I cant spend a nickle on nothing this yr. Grace is sending little May a box of candy that she made her self & next xmas may be we will be better fixed & can send you some thing as usul but you can see where wear up against it this yr. & cant send nothing because things cost a hole lot more then I thot or I wouldent never of started to build.
     The latest is the archateck told me we should ought to do some gradeing on the lot a round the house because the weather was so good & then we wouldent have to do no gradeing in the spring but could get busy right a way & fix up the lawn & plant the grass seeds. Well I told Grace a bout it & she says it was in the contrack that the contrackter had to do the gradeing with the dirt that was dug out of the ground where the foundashun is at & I told the archateck a bout that & he says on acct of there diging the foundashun the rong way at the start they wasent no dirt left over because they had to fill in where they dug out and shouldent of dug so I had to go & get a hold of a man to come & do some gradeing a round the house & he stuck me up for $60 but thats all over now & out of the way.
     Then Grace found out that they was only 2 of the rms. up stares that theys a place for closets in them & I says 2 closets was enough but she says no they got to be closets in all 4 of the rms. up stares & I asked the archateck a bout it & he says it was foolish, but Grace kicked like a mule & the archeteck says he could put in the closets but it would make them 2 rms. smaller.  I

asked him if it would cost more money & he says no he dident think so so we had him go a head & make plans for 2 more closets & yest. he come & told me it would cost $50 more & I says I thot you told me it wouldent cost nothing more & he says I thot so my self but I was miss taken.   So what could a man do but pay the extra $50 only I aint payed it yet but will half to.
     But the house is geting a long fine & the out side is most all up & they are in a hurry to get the roof finnished before the real bad snow comes & as soon is they get the roof on they wont care if the weather is rotten or o k.
     Best wishes for a mary xmas to you & Mary & little May & kind rgds. & I know youll see how it is.

Fred A. Gross.

Chicago, Jan. 21--

     Dear Charley.   They got me all most drove crazy & if any body ever says to you build a house bust them in the jaw.  The archateck keeps ringing me up on the phone all the wile a bout 5 times a day & asking do I want this or that & what do I know a bout it & he is getting payed for doing the worring but in sted of him doing it he lays it all off on to me, some times he wants to know do we want a tin or ivory bath tub & its in the contrack for us to have a ivory bath tub but when I tell him that he says I thot you might of wanted tin because ivorys going to cost more money & when I say what do I care what it costs because all I half to pay is what the contrack calls for then he says the price of ivorys went up & we cant put it in for the money I thot we could so I & Grace argu it out & then tell him to go a head & its $25 or $30 more or what ever it is.
     Then he keeps wanting me to tell him if we want this or that & how do I know what is it we want when its all in the contrack & he should ought to know with out bothering me.  & besides that the real estate man told me that taxes was pretty near nothing in Allison but I got notise to day that I owe $90 taxes & if thats pretty near nothing Im glad it aint no big amt.
     Then an other thing when the archateck drawed the plans he made a misstake a bout putting in the radiators for the hot water heat & he aint got enough of them in & hes going to put in 2 extra 1s and he aint told me yet what that will amt. to but it will be a plenty.
     Where I was going to lay a side $80 per mo. I aint laying nothing a side & they dont seem to be no chance of ever saveing a nickle un lest we dont eat nothing & you know Charley I wasent never the man to starv my self to death.  I told the man down to the bank a bout the radiators & the bath tub & he says I should ought to of had some sort of writen contrack with the archeteck so he couldent keep hanging them things on me all the wile but its to late now & any way I guess they wont be no more trouble tho I wisht they would go a head & not worry me to death asking them questions.

Rgds. to Mary.

F. A. Gross.

Chicago, Feb. 2--

     Brother Charley.   Well Charley Im up against it now right.  We was so busy down to the station & a round town that I dident get out to Allison for 2 wks. & I went out there yest. & went to the house & they wasent no body working & I seen 1 of the naybers & they says they hasent been no body working for a wk. tho the weathers been grand & they should ought to be husling on the job to get it finnished before the 1 of march.
     I called the archateck up & asked him what was comeing off & he says the contrackter couldent do no more till he got some more lumber & the lumber Co. wouldent let the contrackter have no more because it wouldent trust him for no more money & if I would garantee the money all right. What do you know a bout that Charley?
     I says why should I garantee the money when its all down to the bank & the archateck says that dident make no diffrence to the lumber Co. because the contrackter all ready got all the lumber that was called for in the contrack & now he wanted some more & I says what for & he says the contrackter used more lumber then the archateck thot they was going to need.  Well I says I wouldent garantee nothing & the archeteck says he wouldent neither if he was me but if we couldent get no more lumber the work would be held up till we did get some so there you are.
     I talked to the man down to the bank & he says the contrackter wasent no good & dident have no credit & if he used more lumber then the contrack called for he should ought to pay for it him self.  I called up the contrackter & told him a bout it & he says he was sick of the job any way & I could go jump in the lake because he wasent going to do no job where he was loosing money.
     I told them that down to the bank & the man says I could make the contrackter finnish the job but if he couldent get no credit & dident want to finnish the job I wouldent have no house for a yr. or just as long as the contrackter felt like. I says no because it says right in

the contrack that the house must be all done by the 1 of march & the man at the bank says yes but suppose it aint done then what will you do a bout it.  I says I will sue the contrackter and they says you couldent get a nickle because theys no penalty in the contrack for him not geting threw by the 1 of march & even if they was you couldent get nothing out of him if hes broke & hes probly broke or else they wouldent be no trouble a bout him geting credit.
     So I went to the archateck & talked it over with him & he says the contracter under bid on the contrack & seen he couldn't build no house like mine for no $2000 & thats why he wanted to quit & I says that may be so but what do I care if he looses money its his own falt & we will make him go a head & finnish the job.
     Then the archateck says yes you could do that but you couldent make him finnish it in no spesifide time & he might be 10 yrs. doing it so the best thing you can do now is let me get a boss carpenter to finnish the job & let all the sub contrackters go a head with there part & the carpenter can do the work the contrackter was going to do & you can pay him by the wk.
     I says how much more will that cost.  He says hardly any more & you will get the job finnished quick that way so I says all right go a head & hire a carpenter so hes going to hire a carpenter but he says they aint no chance in the world of getting the house build by the 1 of march & may be not till the middle of march & I & Grace all ready had the flat sub letted to a famly from the 1 of march to the 1of May & they was going to keep it after words for them self so now I & Grace will half to stay at some hotel or some wheres from the 1 of march till the house is finnished & it will cost us some more money besides storeing our furnitur for a couple wks.
     But may be by the 1 of march the house will be so as we can stick the furnitur in it but I dont know & they got me worred & the archateck aint worrying at all tho thats what he gets payed for.  I give him $100 to worry for me & then I take his job a way from him.  If it would do me any good to go out to that contrackters house & brake his jaw I would do it but what would that get me. Nothing.
     I hope the archateck can get a hold of a good carpenter right a way & rush the job threw but theys no teling how long it will be & I lerned all ready not to look for no good luck.

Kindest to Mary.

Fred A. Gross.


Back Next



Home • Up • Reader Guides • Study Guide • Works • Life • Features • Family • Store