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 Three of Twelve]


I bet you wont never believe it but wear in our house
& we been here 2 hole days.  The furniturs here
& the movers busted it all to peaces
but we dont mind a little thing like that.

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


Chicago, Feb. 24--

     Dear Charley.   What do you supose has come off now. the archateck is sick & cant be on the job no more & left the work to his cousin & how do I know weather the cousin knows a house from a box car but what can I do.  I asked the cousin what was the matter with the archateck & he says it was a nervous brake down & he thot he got sick worring a bout my house because evry thing had went rong.  I says he aint did no more worring then me & I dont even get payed for worring.
     Well the cousin is worse then the archateck a bout asking questions that I dont know nothing a bout what to anser & if asking questions made the archeteck sick his cousin wont live a wk.
     A cording to the contrack the house should ought to be finished a wk. from now but it aint no further a long then it was in januery as far is I can see & this here boss carpenter they got working wouldent never be pinched for speed.   I was out there today & asked him how much longer he would be working & he says I cant go very fast now because Im waiting for them to bring the mill work.  So I got to call up the mill work people to-morrow.  The longer they dont deliver the mill work the longer it will take them to be threw with the house & Im paying this here carpenter by the day and besides that we got to go & bord some wheres after the 1 of march because the real estate people took the flat off of our hands when we told them we wanted to get a way the 1 of march & they all ready sined up with them people that we had the flat sub letted to & we will half to move out on or before next tues.   Where wear going to I dont know & I guess we might as well burn up the furnitur & go & throw our self in the lake.
     Your lucky Charley that you aint in no jam like this & if any body ever pulls this home stuff on you bust them in the jaw.

F. A. Gross.

Chicago, Feb. 27--

     Brother Charley.   Well Charley we finely got the mill people a couple of swedes to bring there stuff a round but before they brung it I & they was down to the bank 4 times argueing & they was scared they wasent going to get there money because they had a contrack with the

contrackter that blowed up on me & thot because they dident have no contrack with me I was going to beat them out of there stuff.
     The man at the bank kept telling them that the money was right there for them when they got there work delivered but that dident do no good & the swede was down there with me called the bank a lire & me a lire & a crook & I called him some things to only I couldent call him as bad as he is.
     Well if it wasent for haveing the job held up I would of told him & his mill work to go to h-ell but what could I do because it would take 3 wks. to get the work did some wheres else & all that time we would be paying bord & paying the carpenter to & not getting no where.  So finely I had to sine a paper garanteeing that the swede would get the money that the bank all ready had for him & that was all he wanted was my garantee tho I couldent of got the money myself with a stick of dinamite.   He promused to deliver the mill work today but I wouldent give a nickle a thousand for his promuses.
     Well we got a place to bord & a place to store the furnitur & its going to cost us $18 a wk. for our board & $6 to store the furnitur besides geting it moved which will cost $30 from the flat to the store house & $10 more from there to the house if the house is ever ready for it.
     Thats a bout all the news I got for you this time &I wisht I had some good news but I guess Im lucky to be a live.

     Rgds. to Mary.

Fred A. Gross.

Chicago, March 29--

     Brother Charley.   Well Charley we been held up again & this time it was the electrick lt. fixtures & Grace picked them out & they cost $100 in sted of the $50 we stuck in the bank to pay for them so the extra $50 comes out of my pocket & besides that the archetecks cousin says the contrack only calls for 2 cotes of paint on the out side of the house where they should ought to be 3 & he can get an other cote put on for $90 which is pretty nice of him.  & besides all that Im paying the carpenter now evry wk. for 5 wks. & all he gets per day is $5 so thats a bout $150 extra but if theys something left in the bank when they get all threw I will get it back or can leave it to apply on int.
     The archateck is still sick yet & I havnt saw his cousin the last couple wks. but I guess the carpenters doing things o k & as far as I can see a archateck might as well stay sick all the wile for all the good he is accept drawing pitchers of the new house before its build.

F. A. Gross.

Chicago, April 13--

     Dear Charley.  The house is pretty near finnished Charley & it looks fine & worth all the trouble & Grace come out with me to see it yest. & is plum nuts over it so evry things o k but my troubles isent over yet & heres the lattest.  The village of Allison has ordered us to put in a new cement sidewalk & we got to have a side walk up in to the yard up to the house as well as a long the st. & its going to cost a even $100.
     Well thats pretty bad but that aint nothing.  I asked a man a bout soing grass seeds & fixing up the yard & he says it must got to be graded 1st.  I says what do you mean graded & he says its all ups & downs & the ground a round the house is lower all ready then the ground out by the st.  I says it was in my contrack for the contrackter to grade the lot but he dident do it so I got an other man to grade it for $60.  He says well then you got stung for $60 because they hasent been no gradeing did that I can see.  I argude with him a bout it but he says he wouldent so no grass seeds or have anything to do with it un lest it was graded & he said he would grade it & put black dirt on it so as the grass would grow & all so put in a drive way of cement & gravvle all for $150.
     Well Charley they wasent nothing for me to do but hire him & did you ever here any thing like it.
     The gas has been ran in to the house from the st. & the stove should ought to be there any day now & the house is all wirde for electrick lts. & all that part of it is o k & the only thing there doing now is fixing up the flors with pollish & when thats did theyll be all threw but it takes time to do that & I wisht it was all over because wear sick of bording to say nothing of paying for the bord & paying the carpenter all the time.  & I still got the finnished hard ware to pay for & thats $70 & when the 1 of july comes theyll be $60 int. to pay so you see I got some thing to worry me Charley & I bet John E. rockefellow would be worring to if he was me.

F.A. Gross

     P. S. I put $70 in the bank to pay for the finnished hard ware all ready but some way the archatecks cousin got balled up & give some body some thing they dident have coming & the man at the bank reffused to pay the order for the finnished hard ware & I went down to see why not & he says all the money was drawed out all ready & they wasent nothing left.   I dont under stand it but I quit trying to under stand bout this here house.

Allison, Ill., May 6--

     Brother Charley.   I bet you wont never believe it but wear in our house & we been here 2 hole days.  The furniturs here & the movers busted it all to peaces but we dont mind a little thing like that.  Grace is tickled to death & as long as shes plesed its all o k but I got so much to do I aint got much time to write.
     I called up the archateck today to see would he come out & see if things looked o k to him but he was still sick yet but the cousin come out & we was haveing supper & he set down with us tho we dident have nothing to eat because the gas stove aint come yet & even if it come it wouldent do no good because the gas aint conected.  Well the archatecks cousin says the house looks o k to him accept that theys a few things the matter & should ought to be fixed up.  He says you got a mitey nice place here for $2000 besides what you payed for the lot.  I says where do you get that stuff $2000 besides what we payed for the lot.  We payed $1500 for the lot besides int. & I dont know how much more then $2000 the house is going to cost us but I bet its closter to $3000 & then I & him set down & figured it up.   They aint no chance now for getting the bank payed up before the 5 yrs. is up so 1st theys $2000 & then theys $320 int. on the $2000. Then theys $25 for the garantee polisy that I payed when I got the lot & $25 for an other 1 when I got the money at the bank.  And I payed for the finnished hard ware twict & thats $70 each time or $140.  Then I give the bank $30 for insurence & $30 for comishon & I give them $75 for my bal. on what I owed the archateck & the $25 I give him to start with & $50 for the wall paper.  That money I give them for the archateck & the wall paper was payed out some wheres else so I pay that twict & $60 for gradeing but that gradeing dident take so I payed $150 more for the same job the 2d. time & $50 for 2 extra closets in the house & $300 for the carpenter that done the work when the contrackter quit on me & $100 for cement walk & its all cracked all ready & $46 for moveing & storeing the furnitur & its all busted to peaces & $50 extra for electrick lt. fixtures because Grace seen some she liked & of corse they was the most expensiv & $30 for a extra cote of paint that I dont know weather we needed it or not & I dont know weather it was ever put on & $96 for our bord bill where we stayed at.
     Well we figured that all up & it amts. to $1600 & that dont include the $2000 or the $1500 for the lot so what was suposed to cost me a bout $3600 or $3700 is going

to cost me $5300 & I aint got a cent in the world & theys int. do the 1 of July & besides that we got to buy cole to heat the water for the bath tub & wash basens because they was suposed to put in a gas heater but they made a miss take & put in a cole heater & the archatecks cousin is sorry they made the miss take but says we can get it changed to a gas heater fore bout $125.
     After hed went I looked a round & I just got threw looking & I found out that all as is the matter with the house is that the doors thats shut dont open & the doors thats open dont shut & you cant lock none of them & you cant open none of the windows which is all o k now because it aint hot yet & we aint got no screens tho we ordered them 1 mo. a go & theyll cost $50 more & theys no room in the kichen for a stove or a table & the roof of the house leeks & we aint got no electrick lamps that we ordered when the fixtures was put in & we will half to go to bed when it gets dark nights un lest we want to run a round with candles like I been doing & the ceilers full of water & besides that the sewer backs up in to the cellar from the st.
     But the kids seems to be havein' a h-ell of a time espeshaly little Ed. & Grace is running a round like a chicken with there head off & tickled to death so what kick have I got comeing even if I owe more money then I'll ever see & my hares turned gray & the papers is paning the life out of the dept. because theys 1 or 2 stick up men a round town.
     Tommorrow I got to buy some cole to run the heater & coles only $8 a ton out here & I got to buy a refidjerater because we was suposed to have 1 build in but they left it out while the archateck was sick & I got to get a plumer to take the water out of the celler & see weather he cant coax the sewer to stay out doors.  I dont know where theyll put the gas stove if they bring it & if we was to put both the gas stove & the kitchen table in the kitchen Grace would half to cut her self in 2 to get in & cook the meals or wash the dishs. Well Charley Im going to bed & its 10 to 1 the bed will brake down but if it does Ill lay right there on the floor & not never know diffrence.

     Rgds. to Mary.

Fred A. Gross.

Allison, Ill., June 25--

     Brother Charley.   Well Charley we been liveing in the house a bout 6 wks. now & the gas stoves been here 4 days & I dont know how they remembered to bring it & we finely managed to get 2 of the windows open & its been frightful hot but we dont dare keep them open

very long to a time because the screens isent here yet. We got the stove & the table both in the kitchen & they aint no danger of me going in the kitchen & bothering Grace because if I went in there it would take this here Houdini to get me out.
     Well Charley the archateck finely got all o k again and come out to see us & what do you think he pulled on me.  He says my cousin was telling me that your place cost $1600 more than you figured & I says yes it did.  So just as he was going he left me a bill for $80 & he says he was suposed to get 5% of the cost of the house & if they was $1600 extras he should ought to have $80 more. Do you know what I says to him.  I says wait a minut you got it figured rong.  I bought a lawn more today to cut the grass when it comes up & it cost me $8 so I think you should ought to add on 40 cents. Then I shut the door as clost as it will shut & he beat it & stopped out side to take some pitchers of the house & I supose he will try to soke me 5% of what it cost to get them pitchers developped.
     Well Charley next wk. I got to pay the 1st. int. on the lone down to the bank & I dont know where the moneys comeing from & I says some thing a bout it to Grace & she says she would write & ask her old man. Hes a good old scout Charley & I bet he will come acrost but I hate to be touching him all the wile.   But theys 1 thing sure he wont never half to give Grace no more berth day pressents not even if he lives 20 yrs. more.
     The Walters was out to see us today & there tickled to death with the house & they got the building bug now.  Well Charley after alls said & did its the only life when you got children & if I was you Id get busy & get in to the game.

     Kindest to Mary.

Fred A. Gross.


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