The decision on our old house
When my dear sweet wife Raena and I were contemplating our move back to the ranch from Pepperdine College in L.A., we were discussing where we would live. We had graduated in 1969, but continued to live in our campus married housing unit for another year since she was teaching cello lessons to young students and I was working for American Airlines with very generous flying privileges that, among other destinations, allowed us to go to Denmark and visit Raena’s cousins.
We thought about fixing up my maternal grandparents little abandoned 10-by-26-foot cabin by Daddy’s old sawmill as one possibility, but finally opted to make what had always been known during my lifetime as “the old house” our home. It had been built by Henry Dillon, the son of Nathan Dillon, in 1893. My dad lived with his parents in this place from his early teens until he left home in 1923 to go to Long Beach. This was where my grandfather died in 1929.
A major consideration in our minds was its historic nature, and the fact that it would soon be lost through deterioration without some serious maintenance. It was in an acceptable setting, not far from the river, and a long way from any of the other houses on the ranch.
However, it was in a terrible condition, partly due to the crude and amateur craftsmanship that had gone into it when it was built and then added on to. A major problem was that it had no foundation! It’s amazing that it was still standing with nothing underneath but wood timbers and wood posts.
A year passed before it was a livable dwelling, as I worked on it six days a week, from 4:30 a.m. until dark, while we lived with my parents in their house. I plan to describe this process in the near future.
Clinton Osborn lives above Springville. His column appears regularly on the Heritage page of The Porterville Recorder.