Friday, February 22, 2013
Jeffrey Street-House of Confusion
I am doing the A-Z challenge. Today’s letter is J, for Jeffrey Street.
Jeffrey Street-House of Confusion
I moved to Jeffrey Street, in San Jose, in September of 1975. I had been living on War Admiral Avenue, with four other family members, but the whole thing dissolved, along with the summer, and so it was time to move on. I had been working with a fellow named Jimmy, since September 11, 1974, and we got along pretty well, so since he was also looking for a place, we decided to rent this four bedroom place, and see how things worked out.
Jimmy was working at United Auto when I started there, and he was always so patient with my questions, that I relied on him, as a go-to guy. He was married to Sue and I was then married to Nancy. The four of us were all going to San Jose State, so we figured we had enough things in common, that this living arrangement should turn out to work just fine.
But the best laid plans do not always work the way we expect them to work, and so we encountered a few technical difficulties along the way. I admit, mistakes were made. I had been out of the service since October, of 1973, but I had brought back a few mementos from my days in The Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea. There was my Sansui 2000X amplifier, my Akai reel-to-reel tape-deck, my JVC turntable (what’s a turntable, again?) and my two 80 watt speakers.
You see, the amplifier was a 140 watt amp, so the way I figured it, there was not enough power to blow up the speakers, no matter how loud the volume. So I never worried about that particular element of my stereo system. In hindsight, maybe I should have. Jimmy seemed to worry about it quite a bit, and if I had to do it all over again, I think I would have paid more attention to his requests to keep the music down.
I just don’t know. We were in our early twenties, there was so much music recorded on those reel-to-reel tapes, and so much inclination to party, that I never did completely understand Jimmy’s unreasonable demands. After all, one of the reasons I figured we would all get along, is because I had been to the same parties as Jimmy and Sue, and everyone seemed to enjoy the same music as I did, at the same loud volume. But maybe that was at parties. I just don’t know.
Besides, there was that darn teakettle, the one that Sue used to fill with water every morning, on her way into the bathroom to take a shower. I’m sure she always planned on getting finished before the water boiled, but somehow, it never worked out right-at least not for me. That whistle would go off for the umpteenth consecutive morning, and I would fume. Maybe there was some payback there; it didn’t occur to me then, but it sure does now. Anyway, the whistle in the morning, penetrated my little pea-brain, in the most insistent way, and even the sound of Sue, racing down the hallway to shut it off, did nothing to shut off the steam that was exiting my own head.
Well, by April, Jimmy and Sue had decided enough was enough, and left for another living arrangement, leaving me with a four-bedroom house, and a lease that was not up for a full year. Luckily, my sister Laura was looking for a place, so that worked out well. Next brother Matt moved in, and then our friend Paul showed up for a weekend visit, and ended up staying for a year and a half.
None of them seemed to have a problem with the stereo, so we all lived together in harmony-four-part harmony, if I remember correctly. Eventually, the landlord informed us that he was planning to sell the Jeffrey Street house. What? Sell our house? How much, we asked? He said, $63,000. The next thing I knew, Nancy and I had thrown our hats into the ring, and made an offer.
Here comes the strange part. At the same time we were trying to buy this house, things between Nancy and I were falling apart. By the time we actually ended up with the house in our names, we were separated. As it turned out, we did end up splitting up. Nancy got the house and I took the parcel of land we had purchased the year before, and continued making the $67.00 monthly payment. As luck would have it, the housing industry blasted off, and when Nancy and her partner, Brian, decided to sell the house, a scant year after we had bought it, the house sold for $93,000, a nice profit of $30,000 for them.
It all seems so surreal now, but the fact is, I always felt it was kind of a push. Thirty thousand seemed like a lot of loot back then, but when I think about my twenty acres of land up here on the mountain, I know it would cost about ten times thirty thousand to acquire a comparable piece of property now.
Jeffrey Street, the house of confusion. We all do crazy things when we are young, but sometimes it still works out just fine.