By David Giffels
With the lyrics of a Replacements track operating via his head ("Look me within the eye, then inform me that i am satisfied"), David Giffels—with his spouse and youngster son in tow—combs the environs of Akron, Ohio, looking for the proper condominium for his burgeoning relatives. the search ends on the entrance door of an attractive yet decaying Gilded Age mansion, the once-grand former place of abode of a rubber-industry government. It lacks practical plumbing and electrical energy, leaks rain like a comic strip shack, and is infested with all demeanour of natural world. yet for a tender father at a coming-of-age crossroads, the problem is exactly the attract. the entire manner house is Giffels's humorous, poignant, and confounding trip during the nice event of restoring a crumbling condominium with the intention to getting to know what the phrases "grown up" and "home" particularly suggest.
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Additional info for All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House
Sunlight streamed in through gaping holes in the roof. On the floor were fifty-five cheap foil turkey roasting pans (I counted them later), lined up in rows, one touching the next, each containing an inch of A ll t h e Wa y H o m e [ 41 rainwater. In a back corner where there were no floorboards, one of the water-filled metal pans was set between joists, resting on the knob-and-tube wiring. And that alone would be enough, except that it was the second thing I noticed, the first being a wisteria—the same wisteria that crisscrossed over the driveway and covered the corner of the south wall—which had found its way in and grew in thick tangles across the floor, thriving in its invasion, with plenty of water and sun to keep it going.
The last room we saw was the worst. It was a solarium on the first floor, leading from the living room, with huge arching windows covering the south and west walls and an orange-red English tile floor below them. The walls were mottled with decomposed wallpaper and stained plaster, in some areas decayed down to the coarse base coat. Above us was the green corrugated fiberglass hole I’d seen that first A ll t h e Wa y H o m e [ 45 day. Part of the high ceiling was gone, revealing an ugly sight. Everything in that roof was totally rotten, leaves and debris spilling in, an announcement of unknowable damage.
It felt cold inside, even though it was summer. As if the warmth had never found its way in, or the chill couldn’t find its way back out. All about us were piles like sleeping bears: clothing and magazines piled on chairs; boxes pushed against one another; newspapers; old photos; sheet music. To our right, near the doorway into what looked like the dining room, a black rotary phone rested on a stack of books and papers. There was furniture, some broken and buckled, some fine as can be. There were out-of-style floor lamps and racks of clothing under stiff, clear vinyl.