After writing last Friday's Writing Journey Post, I decided to share another tidbit connected to House on the Hill involving one of the significant houses in the book.
As I mentioned in the notes at the back, the house Lizzy's family moves into is based roughly on my grandparents' home on Main Street. It was one of the very last homes standing on what became a commercial center.
When I was a kid, it was rather fun to drive past Fred Meyer, gas stations, and restaurants and then pull into the driveway of this small white house in the middle of a city with traffic whizzing by.
The business next door kept changing, and each time we went up, we'd guess if it was still Pizza Hut or a tire place or something else.
My grandparents both passed away before I was out of grade school. For years, the house was rented out to university students. Eventually the family siblings decided to sell the house. I knew this on some level, but it didn't really register.
The summer before my senior year, I went up to Utah State University in Logan for drill camp. As we drove along Main on the bus, I watched carefully for the house and pointed it out to my teammates.
I had a great week at drill camp. On our last day, I ran into my uncle, a professor at USU. He was on his way to mail a letter to my father (his brother) but instead gave it to me to deliver. On the way home, I watched for the house but didn't see it. I figured I just started looking too late and didn't remember the area well enough to catch it.
But that's not what happened.
The letter informed my father that the property had been sold and the house razed. It had been demolished a couple of days before . . . while I was at drill camp. I felt punched in the gut.
Then I realized that getting a last glimpse of the house was a tender mercy from above. I've always been grateful for that last chance to see the house that held so many happy memories from my childhood.
House on the Hill is dedicated to my grandparents, August and Frieda Luthy, who lived in that house, as well as to Keith Jensen, my grandfather-in-law, who became like another grandpa to me. I was saddened that he didn't live to see the book or the dedication.
. . . at least in body.
I like to think that all three of them saw it from where they are now and smiled.