Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Shotgun Houses

Look at that lovely tree all in flower!
Now, this tree is not in the Buffer Zone proper.  It's around the corner.  Notice the house in the background.  That's a big ol' house of the sort that made us call our street The Buffer Zone.
Here's our type of house:

 Actually, these are two houses. Though now they are owned by the same person and go together.  The one on the right is a shotgun house.
Here it is closer up:

It's gotten all nice and fixed up.

There used to be two more of these shotgun houses on a little side street.  They were not nearly so neat and went to waste and were torn down.  The idea of a shotgun house, of course, is that you can stand at the front door and fire a shotgun through the middle of it and out the back. Amazing to think that families used to live in these!

Before the other two went to ruin, a man man in used to live in one of them.  He was the perfect type of person to occupy a house like this.  The front room was crammed with stacks of books, a writing desk, and an old black typewriter among other things that gave the place a sort of "traveling journalist" feel. In fact, I think he was a sort of traveling journalist. At the time I thought of him as Hemingway-esque or maybe akin to John Dos Passos.  He wore a worn tweedy hat, some sort of army green type jacket, hiking boots, and sometimes walked with a cane--more for looks I think.  He once had a yard sale full of eccentric things I didn't need or couldn't afford, but enjoyed looking at. One thing I remember in particular was a heavy black desk fan with a thick, cloth wrapped electrical cord.  It's like he was a man out of another time.

When he heard I was going off to live in Italy, he gave me this book:

Which I still have.

It went to Rome and back, and I keep it like the old treasure it is.

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