Hey, Bungalow Bill
I read somewhere that bungalows have fast become the “it” house for baby boomers who want to downsize and live on one level. You lose the stairs but still get a backyard and some green space. Makes sense. Who wants to climb stairs as you get older, or trip and break your hip…since we all know what that means…the end.
So the word comes from the Hindi word “bangla” which means belonging to Bengal. Maybe it was a one-story house for tigers? My dictionary defines it as a “low house, with a broad front porch, having either no upper floor or upper rooms set in the roof, typically with dormer windows.” There’s even a California bungalow that owes its name to its popularity in the Golden State, particularly after World War II. The Craftsman movement in this country often featured bungalow style homes, and they have been much sought after by renovators and house flippers.
So it seems everything has come full circle --- again. Baby boomers may have grown up in bungalow homes, only to move out into the world of cape cods, colonials, ranchers, tudors, mid-century moderns, split-levels, log cabins, A-frames, mediterraneans, McMansions, townhouses, and condos.
I would say that we’re taking a step up, but there will be no steps. The ideal home for us will be one level with nothing to trip us up. The bathroom will have all those handle thingies (okay, grab bars if you prefer) to keep us from falling on the radiant-heated floor. There will be no high cabinets in the kitchen. There will be automatic lights that come on when we enter a room and go off when we leave it. Lever-type handles will replace knobs on all our doors, and faucets as well. Slip-resistant flooring material will be used throughout the house – no more area rugs. Very low-pile carpeting will be the most likely choice.
For a generation that likes to have things their way, the bungalow sounds like an ideal fit. Spock’s Vulcan salute of “Live long and prosper” is going to be replaced by “Live longer by not tripping.”
As Chief Thunderthud used to say on Howdy Doody, “Kowabunga!” Bungalow houses here we come.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.
Not So Conspicuous Consumption
After we settled into our first house in the suburbs my dad decided a cool, dark finished basement was the place he wanted to spend Saturday afternoons watching ball games. The Cubs. You know: “Wait’ll next year?” A glutton for punishment.
He decided the way to fix up the space on the cheap was to commandeer lumber and other assorted materials from the neighboring construction sites. No barriers then, no chain-link, razor-wired fences, no streetlights. He believed it was all very innocent and the builders would hardly miss a few pieces of wood. After all, they were making a fortune on these houses, right? And so he set upon a midnight raiding plan.
He’d sneak out late at night, usually after I was in bed, and run across the street and pilfer some 2 x 4’s or whatever from the house that was going up. My mother would stand in the front door and open it for him as he juggled four or five pieces of lumber, giggling like a schoolgirl when he ran in the door; every night, starting on Monday night. He did this until he had a nice pile in the basement, then he’d build some walls up real fast and partially cover them with Walnut wood paneling (he bought that), then he’d go out and do it again. Finally my brother got involved. The two of them could handle two or three times the material in the same time; much more expedient, over and over ‘til they had all the lumber he needed from about four different houses. The giggling doorman remained on duty. To this day it never ceases to amaze me they never got caught and for the longest time none of the builders ever seemed to notice stuff was missing. Or so we thought.
Finally one night, my mother, who was reconnoitering in the dark, in her aluminum folding chair on the front porch, noticed the cops were coming by a little more often. Then we saw them a couple days later, sitting down at the end of the block in the middle of the night; my dad held off. He needed just one more small piece of plywood, he said. He’d have to buy that my mother said.
It was over for now, but we had 99% of a great new beautiful basement with fancy lights (he bought those) and a tile floor, (where he got that we do not know; we didn’t ask). And we’d, all of us, sit down there in the coolness and dimness of the new rec room on a hot August Saturday afternoon eating Ritz crackers with peanut butter and watch the Cubbies lose again.
Wayne Mikosz is an ex-restauranteur, writer, residential designer, collaborative painter with the love of his life and a Certified Appraiser of collectible automobiles, trucks and motorcycles. Visit Convergence Studios. Check out his new book, 10 Stories of Life, Love and Death at www.blurb.com.
Logic would dictate…. Here in Mexico using logic to make something clear or alter a situation’s outcome is likely to be less successful than in the U.S. or Canada.
The Mexicans seem to have a way of ending a questioning situation by ending the communication – it goes no further – What you get at that point is a stare off into space – logical conclusion NOT HAPPENING. In other words end-of-conversation.
Take this recent experience with the local powers-that-be running the Hood’s water company. First you should know one’s water bill receipt is oh so much more than the tab for receiving an unpalatable liquid best known around these parts as aqua.
In any number of situations involving authorities of some sort (visa issuance, driver’s license and car registration efforts etc.), the water bill is used as an identifying document – one that says you live here in Mexico at the address shown on your water bill – it of course must be in your name. The water bill is the defacto I.D. document even over and above your passport, visa or driver’s license.
We pay our water bill here in Puerto annually in January. We are billed a flat rate that is due and payable each month – however, to avoid having to go in 12 times a year we simply pay ahead for the entire year. This year there was a special assessment added to build a new office – 100$ Mexican pesos or about $7.50 usd – no problemo!
This time as once or twice before we were asked to return with documents proving we own the house. We returned the next day with requested documents. At that time we were advised that we would be required to pay 500 pesos ($35.50 usd.) to change the water bill into our names – huh?
“The water bill is in our names.’’ We showed them receipts from previous years, and the current water-official is a store owner we have also know for about five years. And yet he insisted our names did not appear in ‘the book’. “But where are your copies of the receipts we showed?”
“They are in a different book” he said.
We should add here that at least once in the last 5 years during a regime change all the money in the coffers and the records disappeared with the previous administration. This a very common Mexican occurrence.
We assured him we had already paid, we think more than once, the 500 pesos to change names. Anita suggested that perhaps we as foreigners were being taken advantage. Blank stares on that comment.
Seems logical. But that was the end of anything logical. We moved into the final act of any of these encounters – the blank stare conversation came to an end. Others waiting were starting to be attended to. Maddening!
We decided to abandon the good fight and of course logic, and just pay the 500 pesos – gladly accepted; and we have another receipt and a brand new ‘contract’ in our names. Will this be the end of confusion? Time will tell. But, if I were a betting man, I would not lay down one on this not reoccurring next year. Stay Tuned!
John Calypso lives outside Veracruz, Mexico, as well as Puerto Escondido. Back in the 60s, he was a very hip guy living in Hollywood and rubbing shoulders with Beatles and Monkees. Read lots more in his blog, Viva Veracruz and Viva Puerto Escondido.
“The show addressed social issues of the 1970s such as sexism, sexual attitudes, generational conflict, the economic hardships of the 1970s recession, mistrust of the American government by blue-collar workers, and teenage drug use, developments in the entertainment industry, the television remote, and Star Wars.” ~Wikipedia description of That 70′s Show.
— Best-Selling Full Sized Car: Chevy Impala ($4900)
— Winner of Academy Award Best Picture: Rocky
— #1 Television Show: All in the Family
— #1 Song: Love Will Keep Us Together
— Best Selling novel: Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow
— Best-Selling non-fiction: Angels: God’s Secret Agents by Billy Graham
— Time Magazine Man of the Year: American Women
— Gallup Poll – Most Admired Man: Henry Kissinger
— Gallup Poll – Most Admired Woman: Betty Ford
— World Series winner: Cincinnati Reds
— Most important business start-up: Microsoft
Memorable Movie Quotes from the 1970s
“Give me Librium or give me meth.” ~ The Boys in the Band
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” ~ Love Story
“Follow the money….Just follow the money.” ~ All the President’s Men
“I have a very pessimistic view of life. You should know this about me if we’re gonna go out. You know, I – I feel that life is – is divided up into the horrible and the miserable. ~ Annie Hall
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning…smells like…victory.” ~ Apocalypse Now
“You make it with some of these chicks, they think you gotta dance with them.” ~ Saturday Night Fever
“I’m not sure she’s capable of any real feelings. She’s television generation. She learned life from Bugs Bunny. The only reality she knows comes to her from over the TV set.” ~ Network
“They uh, was givin’ me ten thousand watts a day, you know, and I’m hot to trot. The next woman takes me out is gonna light up like a pinball machine, and pay off in silver dollars.” ~ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Terry Hamburg writes the Baby Boomer Daily about the exciting and revolutionary baby boomer years.
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Armand Maréchal lives near Frankfurt, Germany and he thinks he's not much of a photographer, but we disagree. See more of his photos on flickr.