We lived in this house an eternity and still it was called the Hockenbiemer house till the day we left. It was not built by the Hockenbiemers I found out one day when I peeled off all the sheet-rock in the kitchen. The original owner's name was written on the beams that became exposed. I forget the name now. The H.s bought the house and used it for a summer house since 1920 something. At that time there was a railroad running out from Oakland. The families would spend the weeks in the country and the fathers would arrive on Fridays. There was a lake at one time where the families would swim and picnic. There was a race course. And there was a swimming pool and a golf course near the club house. The post office was located near the clubhouse. We had no mail delivery, but had to go to pick up at the PO.
The Hs. needed more and more room to entertain. They added more and more rooms to the house. When we bought it, there were three bedrooms. A master bedroom, a small bedroom for our son and one for the three girls we would eventually have. But there were rooms that we could not understand why they were there. All of them became bedrooms for the girls as time passed.
We had a two car tandem garage and two guest houses behind that. The space between the guesthouses became a horse-port for our eldest daughter, when she became a horse owner. It had a roof above and an old bathtub for water. The hay was stored in one of the guest houses. The largest of the guesthouses became my studio when I developed into a serious painter.
It was the most beautiful place to live and we all loved it there. And even if the house was aging faster than we did, and even though we were poor as church mice, we loved it. A creek ran through our property. Mr. Hockenbiemer had poured lots of cement where the creek had a slight bend, and with a baffle he had arranged a fishing spot for himself and his guests. For us it was just a nice surface where the children could play in the summer time when the creek was dry.
The kitchen was a disaster. The walls were peeling, the floor was not safe to work in. S. told me there was no way we could afford to remodel. I was patient for a while and then one day S. left to drive to Denver I decided to test the ban on remodel. When the car was out of sight, I began peeling the broken, ugly sheet rock off the walls. There was a breakfast nook with a door to the outdoors in the corner. There was an extra room where we had to keep the refrigerator, beyond that was the laundry room where we had to keep our freezer. It was not a well planned kitchen. Poor S. when he returned tired and hoping to relax from having had a strenuous drive and a hard ten days, he was met by a mountain of broken up sheet rock. And also lumber, for I had knocked down a couple of walls. I left one 4 by 4 standing for I did not know if it was a bearing beam.
S. had not lied to me. It was over a year before we could afford to have the work done. Wind blew in all winter. I had no oven to bake our usual Christmas delicacies. I had an electrical oven that I bought at a garage sale and a hot plate. To me it was all worth it for when we were finally done we had the most beautiful kitchen. We had a fireplace, a white tiled floor, and lots of good feelings. That kitchen, when I look back, seems like the best room I ever lived in.