The old home place

Through a random confluence of mouse clicks, I stumbled across this picture of a house in Augusta, Georgia:

This house was just a couple of doors down from our apartment when we lived there. We had the whole first floor of this beautiful, slightly decayed Victorian house full of tile fireplaces, sweeping staircases (that led nowhere - the second floor was separated into another apartment occupied by several medical students) and all sorts of neat little period details. The house was situated right on the cusp of old gentility and urban blight. Directly across the street from us was a Greyhound bus station, and next door was some sort of EMT staging center, with occasional ambulance sirens. And for a year or so, across the empty lot behind our house was a blues club & pool hall. We'd spend summer evenings sitting on the back step, listening to the live blues bands, and later, the all-night announcements from the bus station ('now boarding, direct line to Biloxi, Mississippi') became a kind of comforting white noise to our time there. (this was many years before we had the kids).

The house pictured above was a halfway house, just a few dozen steps down the street. Mostly the inhabitants kept to themselves, with just an occasional passing nod or somewhat guilty wave, but every once in a while, one of them would get confused/drunk/high/all of the above and end up on our porch at 2 in the morning, pounding on the door, screaming to be let in. The med students upstairs didn't have to deal with this. It was our special little "extra" for living on the first floor. Or we'd get one from the bus station, who only needed an extra three dollars to get home to see his family, don't you have three dollars to give him? Come on. What would Jesus do, man. Spare a brother three dollars. Ok, how about two. Two dollars will get me a hamburger from McDonald's, and man, it's been a long time. You know how you like those burgers from McDonald's. They're my favorite. You suck, man. It's only two dollars. Greedy bastard.

Still, I loved living there. Our rent was a few hundred bucks a month, the best I can remember, for more space than we knew what to do with. We had more kick-ass Christmas parties in this place, with its beautiful hardwood floors and fireplaces, and it was worth putting up with the occasional bum on your porch.

Even if it did smell like pee the next morning.