I had a deck built the length of the back of the house, with a door from the kitchen that had been a window. The deck is fifteen feet wide and about forty five feet long. It’s on the north side of the house, facing a little back lawn and the woods. Very shady.
Mom and I had an exchange or two about the deck; she thought I was making it far too long. She even countermanded my contractor; I came back one day to find he was building a twenty foot deck, on Mom’s instructions, as forty five was too expensive and far more than “she needs”. I’m sure moms are moms the universe through and through. I reminded the contractor who would be writing the all checks; end of problem.
Not ready for prime time, spring 1989 on the deck. Aunt Flo (married to Uncle Hank) concerned, Mom coughing, Beth smiling, me not, Jan hiding, Shelly blinking
Over its length the deck is five to eight feet above ground level, depending on the slope of the hill. That fall mom told me the ground under the deck needed attention or it would become a mud pit, as the north side received little sunshine, not to mention all those trees. “What do you think I should do?”
“Well, I’ve started saving to have it paved with bricks,” she said, with slightly tight lips, as she set about rescuing me. “That will be nice,” I replied.
In the spring a load of brick was dumped in the front drive. “You can start laying brick now.”
Neither Tom, Jan nor I knew a lick about brick. “I’ll show you how to do it.”
We all trouped around back, Mom with her cane as she was only a few months from being sprung from a wheel chair for an injury involving telling Dutch, a young Doberman she had on a leash, “Let’s go home.” Dutch took her down three stairs and over a motorcycle on the way.
We started in the small section under the stairs, putting bricks wherever mom pointed her cane. She was not pleased and dismissed us: “I’ll teach Mark how to do this.”
So, an old lady taught her sixteen year old grandson to lay a basic basket weave pattern in brick. They did a fine job and we had the best brick pavement under an overhead deck in all of Summit County. Sadly, my brother and brother-in-law contrived to store every piece of manly junk they could hoard there, out of sight of the neighbors, until the bricks were inaccessible to any ray of sunshine. Some ultimatums produced a dumpster this summer and it is now fairly cleared out. It won’t look like it did twenty years ago, but maybe I can get some grandkids working on it next year.
Mom’s brick fund didn’t end there. Over the nine years she was here we’d hear “We need new gravel in the drive. There’s enough money in the brick fund.” “Let me pay for (something we needed to buy). There’s enough money in the brick fund.” A year or two after she was gone Mark got into some wrong place, wrong time scrape and spent the night in jail. In the morning I bailed him out with the last of Grandma’s brick fund. She probably would have known a bail bondsman at midnight and had him out at 12:01, but I did the best I could.