The house I live in was once a parsonage for the Protestant church next door. The church was built by local Italian stonemasons, who weren't Roman Catholic, for fellow immigrants who came to live, love, work, and worship here. Crafted to last forever with one-foot thick stone walls, eventually the congregation wanted a modern structure, or maybe the space was too small.

It was sold and desanctified, purchased by the Knights of Columbus, then rented out to an amateur theater group, martial arts classes, and bachelor parties that got so raucous the police were called. It was then sold to a young architect who redesigned the interior into a home.

He sold the building to a pilot and his private jet stewardess wife, who had been married for ten years when they were young, then divorced, and remarried years later, moving here to start a new life together. She once told me she had gotten so lost in the relationship that she couldn't remember her favorite color. Now they are trying to sell.

But the properties were once one, and are now separated by a fence and fire bushes that I planted. There are four cast iron fence posts, with crosses facing the road, at the front, three on our property, painted black. The fourth is at the far side of the neighbors' property and they paint it white.

Once, while on vacation, we came home to find one of our posts, located next to their driveway, painted white. I said nothing, but painted it black again. The original four rooms of our house date to 1901; the windows have the sagging old glass that distorts the view slightly, but in a way that is pleasing; the wind finds its way through cracks; ivy grows in winter through the foundation and underneath old radiators that work however and whenever they want.

The second addition, put on in the 1930's, produced a screened-in front porch, a bathroom instead of an outhouse, and an unheated back room with a large window, that we call the mud room. A local barber who was born in the house across the street told me the father was a carpenter who built the front porch for his young son, confined to a wheelchair.

Sometime in the early 1990's, we put on an addition for my mother-in-law, which gave us a second bathroom, a second basement, zoned heating and too many other rooms to keep up with. If I had to choose just three rooms, it would be the front porch, the kitchen, and the parlor where I write, read, and strange things happen.

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