Home Steward not Owner
On Tuesday the 23rd, I closed on a house in the Marine Villa neighborhood, in the 9th Ward of the city of St. Louis. The brick house’s entrenched structure was described to me by the building inspector who evaluated the property as, “this place is a bomb shelter that will outlast any home in the county.” It was built in 1899 and its last tenant was in 2015 when a fire rendered the property unusable. There are char marks on the brick inside from the fire and there is a petrified board of wood in the wall that is likely original.
Despite being brought back from the brink and after being unoccupied for 18 months, as I’ve settled in, I’ve been left wondering, “what is (or was) the story of those who have come before me inside these walls? Who first occupied it back in 1899 when it was 767 sq feet rather than 1067 sq feet today?"
As I reflected on the house’s 118 year history and my being the current owner - technically I guess at this point the bank owns the property and I owe the bank - I’m left reflecting on an advertisement I saw years ago from the watch maker, Patek Philippe.
The likelihood of my living in this house until my final days is possible but I’d guess unlikely. I might find a job in another part of the city, country or globe, I might decide I need one that is slightly larger if a significant other would come into my life, I’d start a family or just decide I’m ready for another part of town. Regardless of the road I choose, this structure will endure, battling the elements and hosting individuals, families and generations after me. This building was is 83 years older than me and barring dramatic circumstances will outlast me.
A reminder of my own mortality and to cherish the life I have.
Go Forth Boldly