Life With Herman – The Carpenter
We Build a House
By Nettie Hallam Steinbeigle
“Boys, we are going to build a house, don’t make any plans. I have drawn the floor plan’ I am going to order the lumber.”
“O.K. kids, today we start. Ray, hand me that hammer; Donnie, hand me the saw; Iris, bring the nails; Ma, bring the shovel. We are going to make the forms for the foundation.”
So we build a house. “Hand me this, bring me that, fetch that over here, don’t touch that, don’t put that nail in there.”
The house is finished. We stand back and look at our super boss man. He says, “That is a dam good looking house, but if I ever start to build another, I hope someone shoots me.” We all agree (that it is the best looking house, that is).
So come now time to put in the furnace. So, George, another super German, decides to help. After living in the house two months and wondering why we would only get heat in the kitchen and bedroom, the two supers discover they have put the heating ducts to the other two rooms upside down. “Hell with it, we will live in the kitchen and bedroom during the cold months.” So we did. The kids wore their coats over their pajamas to go to bed.
(side note: Herman’s son Ray became a successful architect)
WE BUILD A HOUSE Part 2
By Raymond Lloyd Steinbeigle
The second floor was fine in the summer. We always had a cool breeze blowing through our window carrying the concerts of the crickets and frogs from the willow pond. ON some nights the lonesome wail of a train whistle would stir my hidden desire to travel. However, this same window that provided us with a cool breeze in the summer, let the snow sift through and pile up on the floor in the winter. Our rooms were extremely cold in the winter. We would dress for bed downstairs then charge upstairs and leap into bed. You have not lived until you have slipped between icy cold sheets on a sub zero night.
My brother was somewhat of a practical joker. On one particularly bitter cold winter night, he snuck upstairs and short-sheeted my bed. I prepared for bed as usual….knees knocking and teeth chattering. I made an olympic dash up the stairs, jumped into bed and shrieked with horror when I realized I would have to make the bed. Meanwhile, Don, snug in his bed, was convulsing with muffled laughter. This was no time for retaliation. I was turning blue. I broke all records for making a bed. I gingerly slipped between the frigid sheets. Between gasps for air, I eventually began to thaw. My brow knurled, my eyes narrowed and my lips tightened as I plotted my strategy for revenge.