Wednesday, August 9, 2017

1960's Houses: Before & After

When I was 3'ish, living at Cape Canaveral, dad was transferred to Houston, the newest site for a NASA installation.  We rented a home in Pasadena.  NASA construction was not complete.  Many engineers worked across Houston in a hodge-podge of rented buildings.  Not enough homes had been built yet to house NASA workers.  Finally, dad zeroed in on a home.  Living on a government salary, wife/2 kids/poodle, in his late 20's, dad had zero family financial help or inherited funds.  He wanted the brand new home, directly across the street from NASA, but could not afford it.  What to do?  He phoned the builder, asked to meet him at the house.  The builder, an older gentleman, had retired from his building career, moving to the little neighborhood on salt water.  His retirement income, building a few homes.  They walked/talked, dad sharing his story.  Finally, dad lobbed his hail Mary low ball offer.  Accepted.

Image result for ellington air force base
Pic, above, here.

Loved my time living in Pasadena, TX.  Ellington Air Force Base was not far, and ADORED the pool, above, and rows & rows of old white wood buildings, below, with streets in perfect grids.  We had access to the pool, BX & commissary, with dad in the Air Force Reserves after being a test pilot.
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Occasionally, when mom would take sister/me to swim, the pool was not open.  Yes, I was as miffed as could be.  The pool would close for the astronauts to practice, above, their boring stuff.  Odd men, not working in offices.
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Once we moved into our new home, no more pool worries with those odious astronauts closing it down, the neighborhood had its own pool/marina.  Perspective/priorities are everything.


Image result for ellington air force base
Pic, above, here.

Interesting planes flew from Ellington Air Force Base.  Adored seeing the Flying Guppy, below, over our house.


 Related image
Pic, above, here.

Visiting mom, she's still in the house I grew up in, it's obvious her neighborhood is ripe for a new era.  More than updating with light fixtures, paint color on the trim, a new front door, the homes are worth architectural renovation.  A pair of before/after, below, renovations.  Incredible vision.  Mom certainly won't be renovating, girl-don't-like-change.  We all have our quirks.


 Country Style Home - 2nd Floor Addition - Before & After - Rynerson OBrien Architecture, rynersonobrien.com
Pic, above, here.


 This is a gorgeous transformation of a brick home that has been painted and lightened up.  It's so fresh and welcoming!  Read the post to see other painted brick homes and how they add charm and curb appeal.
Pic, above, here.
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Go team, above.  Earned every penny of raised property value.
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To be fair, several homes in mom's neighborhood  have already done the total architectural renovation, mostly the homes on salt water.  They are in a class separate from the rest of the neighborhood, for obvious reasons.  In the 60's the price variance from salt water to interior of the neighborhood was minor.  The world doesn't operate that way anymore.
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Aside from astronauts in our neighborhood, and most of the team designing their rockets, a high profile murder case moved onto a prime salt water lot.  Gossip was thick about him, Melvin Lane Powers.  His home had a helipad and the ocean going yacht from the estate of Coco Chanel parked in back.  
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Obituaries throughout adulthood have given a clearer picture of many childhood neighbors.
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From the New York Times, October 18, 2010.

Melvin Lane Powers Is Dead at 68; Cleared of Murder With Lover-Aunt

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"Mr. Powers also drew attention in the early 1980s by adding 23 feet to his 142-foot yacht, said to be one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere. He cut it in half and put in a new midsection with a Jacuzzi, underwater viewing ports and a mirrored ceiling.
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Atop the building was his 20,000-square-foot penthouse with a 360-degree view of Houston, a rooftop swimming pool and a helipad."
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Fabulous obituary.  When Powers first bought the yacht, cars/trucks of the workmen renovating it lined the streets of our neighborhood.  For months.  Had no idea they chopped the yacht in two.  His helicopter became such a nuisance it instigated its own discussion at our local city council meeting.  Restrictions were applied.  
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I worked at a local high-end clothing/jewelry store during those days.  Made top sales several months in the jewelry department.  (Most of the jewelry came from Europe.  Still happy to have had exposure to it.)  One afternoon a tall thin tanned barbi doll, of obvious profession, came in to shop for clothes.  More perfect than her namesake doll, excepting a single feature.  Her face was football leather.  Said to my co-worker, "I don't get it.", she said, "Imagine her in a bikini on that yacht."  I got it.  (No judgement on her profession.  Loved what it did for the shoe department at Sakowitz, my favorite shoe department.  A shoe saleswoman mentioned that it was the hookers allowing them to carry such exotic expensive sexy shoes.  Not that I ever afforded any of those.)
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Never saw Melvin Lane Powers, until the obit pictures.  
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"Mr. Powers with Candace Mossler, his mother’s sister, after they were acquitted in the 1964 killing of her husband, Jacques Mossler. CreditUnited Press International"
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Oh the irony of childhood, bored by it all.  Little knowing it made me immune to much.  Most amazing thing I took for granted during those go-go years?  Pristine beauty of growing-up on Galveston Bay.  Few inhabitants during that era.  Skies, water, beaches, birds, marsh, tides, pastures stuffed with Longhorn cattle, scents.  Views for miles without man-made interference.   That is a hunger, that landscape.  
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

4 comments:

sandy lu said...

What a flying guppy tale!

Cathryn said...

Enjoyed this post-I live in Houston and thoroughly enjoyed your memories! And, the real estate scene is so different from when you were living here for sure! Your memories of that unobstructed view reminded me of my childhood on the lakes in Minnesota- they've changed forever but our memories won't!

David Cristiani said...

Enjoyable look at your parents life, the unconventional mens' jobs, houses, and teenage jobs. Quite different than my AF dad and family, yet some similar threads. Seeing that you have gone back or kept many photos of those places is even better...I only did that once. With a touch of design and plants.

Someday I've visiting Houston and take in the museums and vibe. Too bad the client who's based there is turning out...

Dewena said...

Your stories fascinate me. And I have a feeling that you have many many more. I'm so thankful for that! Where else can I learn so much about gardens and get the spicy stuff too? We really ought to pay you for all this!