When my husband and I met he lived on a farm house on a rather large acreage. Turned out he was the caretaker for a man living in Arizona, lets call him John.
Lately ive come to find out a few things about this man that I had never known and I find him quite interesting I thought I would share.
He was adopted, as was his non biological "sister", by a wealthy farmer in the midwest. They grew up in the house my husband was taking care of, his father (that adopted him) grew up in that house, it has been in the family since the mid 1800's.
When he was 18 he split to Arizona. His dad fell ill with cancer and John's sister was taking care of him bc their mother had passed. From what I understand the only family the father had was John and this girl, both that he had adopted. There was some kind of fall out between John and "home" and he didn't involve himself much with his dad other than through the phone, he was also a struggling student and the drive was halfway across the country.
Much time had passed and John was well into his middle age when he was notified by authorities that his sister was being arrested and someone needed to care for the dad. Come to find his sister was passively trying to kill her own father. She was keeping him malnourished and forgetting medication and the care she was suppose to provide was around the clock but she would only check on him when she got around to it. Im unclear if it was a neighbor or concerned citizen or maybe John himself, but she was busted and some kind of hard evidence was found and she was arrested for attempted murder.
John went back home to care for his father. His father had permanently removed her from his will. It was just John and his dad now. This is when my husband came in. It was now clear to John the damage his sister had done all these years. She destroyed their childhood home, leaving windows open/broken in utter disrepair facilitating the house as her own personal garbage dump and storage. When John went and looked at it it was like it had been abandoned for decades, but worse because she actively added more damage than what time alone would have.
My husband was in his early 20's, just finished his associates degree and was looking to basically be a bum, having always lived off the grid he liked it that way, he liked things very simple. My husband new there was an "abandoned" house out there in the middle of no where and he wanted to know whos it was.
In the past he has lifted the burden of a cruddy house from others and fixed it in exchange for living quarters. He would move into a shack and turn it into a home. He had his eye on this shack. It was one of those moments where the stars aligned. They were both in a bar in a bit of despair. John trying to figure out what to do with this property and my husband looking to live like wild man and make something ugly, beautiful.
They got to talking by chance and when my husband realized he was the owner of this house he made an offer that John was gleeful to accept. "Ill live there, ill fix it up and make it nice take care of it in exchange for you letting me live there.". An instant bond was created, my husband who can appreciate a rusted bottle cap was impressed that John had such sentimental value with the home.
It was officially condemned, deemed unliveable for a human. A sane person would bulldoze it but John wanted to save it. My husband loved and respected that. John was a man that had transformed into a metrosexual in Arizona, was behind a desk, valued material things and status and my husband drug John back down into the dirt where his roots are. John was fascinated by my husband and his oddities.
This was the simplist deal known to man, "So long as you are steadily making improvements, live there as long as you like. As far as im concered this house is yours. The only rule is, you can't tear anything down. If some of your improvements become a little too pricey, as in more than what you might think rent would be, call me and ill see what I can do."
My husband was in hog heaven. Took him several months to just empty the place and he had the help of family and friends. Once he felt like the mice wouldn't carry him away he inserted his humble little belongings and began working away. He worked on that house all day and at night he worked on cars for cash. Not another human on the planet lived as simple as my husband. He grew his own garden out there, and hunted his own meat. He heated the house with wood and his only expense was a bit of electricity for his window ac and some light.
Years passed and one would think it was still a cruddy old farm house, but if you'd seen pictures of what it was like I have you would think it had been resurected from the dead.
About the time I came into the picture John was having trouble making ends meet, its expensive to provide your father with 24/7 home health care. John had power of attorney and sadly decided to put the land up for public auction. My husband was told by John that he would never sell the acre that the house sits on so dont be concerned about having to move, he would only lose some hunting ground.
300 acres went up for auction and the best offer John got was $1,000.00/acre. John would take no less than $1,100.00 and that was rock bottom prices for land at that time, nearly unheard of. Land unfit for a cow to graze was going for $1,500.00 an acre.
It was a good thing John didn't accept the poor offer because shortly after his father died and John was relieved that he didn't sell the property because he really didn't want to.
After tidying up things after his father passed he went to visit my husband and explained to him that if he ever wanted to buy it he would sell it to him and only him. My husband wanted to know details and he was like, "lets just keep things like this for now, im in no need of money and we have a good thing going on here. You have first dibs and always will, the land and the house.". Then he moved back to Arizona.
I had only recently heard this conversation retold to me by my now husband. We both lived in that farm house while we were dating. When I got pregnant though I wanted to move. I loved the country but the house still needed a lot of work and while I thought it was great for a couple single folks I didn't think it was fit for a baby. There were bat issues in the attic that would take a hazmat crew to rectify and we couldn't afford it at the time, then there was the heating and air issue. While I could survive hot summers in the blazing hot house and cold winters huddled by the pot belly stove I didn't think a baby should.
He agreed, we allowed someone else to live there under the same circumstance we did. We are talking about moving back once our house is paid off. It would be nice. Then we were day dreaming about the owner just giving us the place with a promise that we never tear anything down. We dont have 300K dollars. Someday.