Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dad's Fish Pond

I'm crazy, I just know it. I know I've talked about how I get attached to material things, but not just any material thing. It's usually a vintage item, something with an emotional connection, or it's part of a collection. I can't help it! I just get attached to stuff to the point of obsession. Honestly, I don't think it's a bad thing, but I need to be careful that I don't get carried away.

Case in point. Dad's fish pond. When Dad was a kid, he created a concrete fish pond in the backyard of this childhood house in D.C. His family moved into the Willow Street house when he was in second grade, and he lived there until he went to college at VT.

The last time I saw the house and pond, I think I was in high school and I went to D.C. with my Dad on a business trip. He drove me all around Takoma park and showed my his elementary school, high school, his church, and his house.

We walked around the property together, and he told me stories of growing up there, building the pond, and life in D.C. We found a kitchen sink in the back alley behind the house because the current owners were obviously doing a kitchen remodel. Well it turned out to be the kitchen sink that my Dad grew up with, so what did I convince him to do? We threw it in the back of the rental car trunk and took it to Aunt Judy's house. I think it sat in Aunt Judy's backyard for a while, and then eventually got tossed out.

So the kids I drove to the Willow Street house on Wednesday as we were leaving D.C. The kids were excited to see where Papa grew up as a boy, and when we pulled up, I could tell the landscaping had been re-done and updated, so I figured the little concrete fishing pond was gone.

But we found it!!! 50 years later, it's still there! I guess the City moved the property line further in away from the street, so the fish pond was on the outside of the fence and the current owner had a pot of flowers sitting in it.

So here is where my craziness comes in. There was a place in the pond where Dad carved his initials and date into the cement when he poured it, so the kids and I found sticks and started digging. Parts of the pond were covered in dirt and grass and it was half buried. I wanted to find his carving to show the kids, and possibly to dig it up.

No success. In the meantime, I had a really nice chat with the neighbors and the mailman. I left he current owner a nice note in her mailbox and she called me the next day! I explained to her who I was and that I was digging around outside her fence. She was interested to know what that little concrete pad was, and had previously requested the City to remove it. Luckily they haven't done it yet, and she said she would now request the City to not remove it, and that I was welcome to come back and dig it up anytime.

So here is where my obsession comes in. Next time we're in D.C., I want to have a shovel and do some digging! Wouldn't it be neat for my kids to have part of the fish pond their Papa built as a kid?? Am I crazy?

Please don't answer that.

In the meantime Dad, here are some pictures of your house, and your overgrown fishpond.

Dad's room was on the top floor in the back corner. Train tracks run directly behind their house...both the D.C. metro and the big freight trains!

A big new back deck.

The fish pond!!

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