1989-1994 :: Coolcrest Drive in Lake Elizabeth, California.
Magic. That may be the best word for our house on Coolcrest. We had at the time already lived in Lake Elizabeth for four years. We loved it. We rode a tide of rising house prices. I was about to become a Journeyman Lineman. We were in a good position to move up. We knew exactly what we wanted. We had been planning it for over a year. We met the most wonderful contractor, Dan Gruenefeldt. We sold Beaverbrook and moved into a travel trailer in a local campground while our new home was being built.
Now I know you’re expecting some horror story to start now, but that just didn’t happen. The word again was Magic. The greatest experience you could imagine. We had a blast living in the trailer, and the time went by so fast. In fact, the house construction occurred in record time. Eight weeks! Dan had a well oiled machine building our house. It was truly amazing to watch. And it was built to our exact specifications. The most amazing part may have been the contract itself. A hand shake. No kidding. Dan built our house on his lot, and then sold us the whole package when it was done. Nothing but a hand shake from beginning to end. We are immensely grateful to this day.
Taking possession of that house was surreal. We were actually living in the house that had previously only been in our dreams. Looking around the empty house was so amazing, but also so normal. It was a combination of being completely unbelievable and yet already feeling like an old friend. We just stared at it for the longest time. It was ours.
Another blank slate. Oh boy. Well… been there, done that, so we can do it again. But again, it was glorious work. Again we were proud of each new addition, each little job. The decks were the first big job. I wanted to build them myself. They were my hands-on contribution to the final construction phase of the house. When finished we all spent as much time as possible on the decks. We bought a big hammock for the deck. Some of my best memories of all time are swinging with the kids on the hammock, looking up at the clouds for fun shapes, and asking them if mommy had paid the gravity bill that month.
Coolcrest was also the home where Kathy got to be more social. There were more families in that area of Lake Elizabeth. She met friends that she still talks with today. Our home was a frequent gathering location for play dates, parties and other fun. Our children were at that wonderful age when everything is exciting. Everything is a game. They were happy all the time. One of my favorite design features we put in the house was that the children’s room’s doors faced each other. They could see each other as they were falling asleep every night, and the little hall space between their doorways became an extra play area for the two of them. Toys everywhere. What fun.
For all the magic that house was, we truly did not live there long enough. We knew we wanted to leave the area before the children would need to go to middle school all the way in town, but we still had time. It turned out that a job opportunity accelerated our plans though. We would need to move, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to sell just yet. So we rented it to a very nice family initially, and then to another nice family after that, but a rental 1100 miles away is not practical. It was time to sell. Unfortunately prices fell soon after we moved into Coolcrest. The economic downturn in the late 80s and early 90s hit Lake Elizabeth pretty hard. Recovery was slow coming even by the late 90s. While we were able to sell, we needed to bring $5000 to the table in order to pay off the mortgage. Painful.
We still have photos of Coolcrest hanging on the walls of our house. We named our boat Coolcrest. The memories from there will always be cherished. Someday I would like to build that house again somewhere. …Universe? Are you listening?
And finally to Big Rock.