Thursday, February 10, 2011
Pete Jackson Built this House
Every House has a history including ours, and if you ask Stuey who built our house he will tell you, 'Pete Jackson built this house'. He knows this because we showed him where Pete Jackson signed his name in the cement of our mantle piece. And Pete and Louise Jackson did indeed build and live in this house from the early 1970 or so up into the 1980s. Pete was a crab biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game while Louise Jackson was a teacher and president of the local gardening club. And I should add, while Pete might have built the house, everybody knew it as Louise Jackson's house. That's what people told me when I bought the house in 1996 - 'Oh, that's Louise Jackson's old house' and inevitably, 'She had beautiful gardens'.
To this day, remnants of her gardens still exist all around the house. Old stone walls, crocuses and primroses everywhere, and 2 very lush spots in the yard that need mowing twice as often as the rest of the lawn because they were where she kept her geese and had a vegetable garden. But we really did not know much about the early history of the house until Zoya contacted Louise and sent her pictures to show her how much we loved and appreciated her house. We learned that Louise was very sick (she has since passed away), and we received a letter in return with some old pictures (second photo from top).
Today I was showing Nora and Stuey all the old pictures and Stuey kept on getting Pete and Louise confused with me and Zoya. But he sure got excited each time when I told him the man was Pete Jackson. Each time he'd say, 'Pete Jackson built this house'. Nora was also captivated and even asked if she was in mommy's belly when the pictures were taken. The pictures intrigued them. Indeed, they intrigue me - it is amazing how different the house looked 40 years ago. No additions, or neighbors and spruce trees all around.
I love knowing the history of our house. It will always be Louise Jackson's house, and someday I hope people will also know it as Patrick and Zoya's house. With the history and pictures in mind, I can admire Pete's mantle, realize that Louise set up her Christmas tree right there (and that like us - she preferred to cut down her own tree), and even imagine Louise in the corner reading a book. We even have a bookshelf in the exact same spot that she did. The history brings extra richness and depth to the house.
Photos: Top is of the house from the front yard soon after it was built (Nora thought the car looked 'funny'). Second is of the letter we received with photos and Louise reading a book in the corner. Third is of Louise's cold frame greenhouse. Fourth is of Pete's Mantlepiece and chimney soon after he built it. It looks exactly the same to this day - only as Nora and Stuey commented 'the fan worked back then'. Bottom photo is Louise setting up the Christmas tree remarkably close to where we set up ours each year (she seemed to have liked taller trees than we currently set up).
This is not the first time we have posted old photos of our house - if you want to see more old pictures of our house or a picture of Pete holding up a monster king crab down by the harbor then check out our old blog posts from November 2006 and January 2007. The links are pasted down below, but you could also get there using the archive on the side (open 2006 or 2007 and then hit to open either January or November. Patrick