Wednesday, February 25, 2009

justin's NEW address...

Pvt. Bruce, Justin
A-Co 2/39 Inf Regt
10402 Hampton Pkwy
1st PLT Warlords
Ft Jackson SC 29207

And (to avoid push-ups), write a #1 on the back of the envelope.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

could it be official?...

Yesterday I received an “Official Business” form letter from Lieutenant Colonel Fortier.

It states that Justin is assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment for Basic Combat Training.

It reiterates not to send food items, tobacco products, reading material or cell phones to your soldier. He is too busy and needs to focus on the task at hand. Also only use standard U.S. Postage; no certified or express mail.

It says that the drill sergeant is one person he will never forget :)

The graduation ceremony is scheduled for 9am on Friday, April 24th. He is granted visitation the day before; Family Day.

I’ve already submitted my vacation request to my boss! Leaving after work on Wednesday, April 22 and staying until all the ceremonies are complete.

His battalion maintains a website:
http://www.jackson.army.mil/Units/239/index.html

At times you will be able to see photos and movies of what Justin is enduring everyday. And you will be able to see his graduation later that day (4/24); it will be available from 6pm Friday to 11pm Saturday.

Monday, February 23, 2009

as the $h!t hits the fan...er, ah furnace...

Thursday we received a call from our renter; Mary. Seems like the furnace went out – of course, when it’s going to be extremely cold. Murphys Law. We drove out there that evening to try and diagnose the problem and to at least get the wall heater in the breezeway working so that she would have some heat.

We asked if she knew anyone in the heating and cooling business and she said her father’s old neighbor does heating and cooling; Tony’s Heating and Cooling. We told her to give them a call and have them come out the next day.

Overnight the wall furnace in the breezeway stopped working. Weird. This led us to start thinking that the gas pressure was off – not getting enough gas to keep things running.

Friday morning Tony’s H&C came to diagnose the furnace. Seems like three major items were broken; the blower, the inducer and the condenser cover. To have these three items replaced, it was going to cost $950. But to have the furnace replaced, it was going to cost $2400 – so we opted for the lesser amount.

The furnace is only 8 years old. It was installed using the Clinton Township Residential Rehabilitation Program. We looked in the accordion folder at the house for the warranty information, but could not find it. So Jerome suggested that I call Clinton Township to see if anything would still be under warranty.

Come to find out, this was a big mistake.

I called the township offices; no one that I worked with during the program was still employed there. I left a message on the new guys (Ed's) voicemail. He later called and left a message on my voicemail stating that he couldn’t find my file under the name “Bosch” and could I call back.

When I called back, he said that he had indeed found my file and after telling me that the warranty was most likely only for 5 years, he went into some “issues” that have now come to his attention.

He kept saying that he hates to be the bearer of bad news but…according to the contract for the Residential Rehabilitation Program, if the house is no longer my primary residence and if the use of property has changed; the $25,000 loan (lien) is due and payable. GULP!

He kept me on the phone for over a half hour going over the contract that they currently have. I told him that I refinanced in 2003 and had the township sign off that it would be OK that I did that. I got married in 2003 and if I had added my husband to the mortgage that would be considered a transfer of ownership and the loan would be due and payable, so he was not put on the mortgage. I changed the paperwork in 2005 for Primary Residence at the township offices. We had the house up for sale for nearly 2 years to no avail. I have had the inspection per ordinance 357 in order to obtain a license from Clinton Township to rent the house. I have mentioned in two letters to the township regarding the rental license that the house was a part of the 2001-2002 Residential Rehabilitation Program and no red flags went up. I have followed all the rules that have been set before me to the tee. You can’t tell me that all of that information being told to the same township would not find its way into my file and if I was disobeying the rules, it wouldn’t have been brought to my attention by now? I told him that I’m sure that I’m grandfathered in to the old contract that doesn’t say anything about “property use change” or “primary residence change”.

He told me that he’s been in that office since August 2003, and it’s possible that I am “grandfathered” in, but he would be doing some investigations.

When we got home from work that evening, we also did some investigations. Thank God I keep all of my paperwork. There is NOTHING in MY contract that says anything about the loan being due and payable because of “property use change” or “primary residence change”. The ONLY thing is says is if there is a “transfer of ownership”, then the loan is due and payable. They must have updated the contract over the years. But it’s not in MY contract.

Also found the warranty information for the furnace in the Residential Rehabilitation folder...darn the luck; would have saved me a call...and a bunch of hassle.

Waiting to see if he's going to call me back.

If I had a dollar for every time the township has made my emotions go through the roof, I think I'd be a "hundred-aire". It upsets me to no end that this guy can just blurt out that $25,000 is now "due and payable" in such a matter-of-fact way, without regard to how it will effect the person he is telling, without doing his due diligence prior to speaking to the homeowner. And minutes before the weekend is about to happen. I wonder if there is an ordinance about that that I can hold him to.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

mantle update...

No, still not done, but we're getting there :)

Today we cut and painted the molding - it's drying right now, but by tonight, Jerome will nail them up with the nail gun and then it's up to me to fill in the cracks and touch up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

super nintendo...

Bought an SNES off of craigslist last week.

We had played Super Mario World at a party a couple of weeks ago and it brought back good memories. I.LOVE.That.Game. It was really the only game from Justin’s many gaming systems that I truly enjoyed.

When Justin moved with his dad in 2002, he took all his gaming systems with him…including SNES and Super Mario World.

So, I scouted Craigslist and found one (probably a bit on the expensive side, but eh…); an SNES with a Super Mario World game.

We had some issues after we brought it home and had to get things righted with the seller, who was happily, very interested in making things right. But on Monday, a sick day for me, Jerome came home with it – and we’ve been playing every night for an hour or two.

Hours of fun and frustration.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

jerome won!...again

FEV - Brown Road 2
1st Place: Jerome, 2nd Place: Tim Jackson, 3rd Place: Tony Querio

Susan G. Hatfield...

I also heard from Susan Hatfield and another short email from Pat Portwine.

Here is what Susan left in a voicemail. I plan on giving her a call back, but since I was not feeling all that well for the past few days, it may have to wait until later this week.

Hi, my name is Susan Hatfield and I received a letter from Yvonne Bosch. I was just surprised to receive your letter. I did own the house at 249 Xxxx Xxxxx. I bought the house from the Portwines; I sold the house on land contract to the Stones. What I can tell you is that house was built brand new; I don’t know where those items in the chimney came from – that is just totally bizarre. If you look at the beams in the basement you’ll realized how that house was built. The only story I know about that house that might be helpful to you is Mr. Portwine was the mayor of Romeo and they were school teachers. I don’t know if I can help you with anything else. Give me a call. We had to do quite a bit of work to the house; it had been well lived in by the previous owners including the Portwines who raised all their children there and the people that built the house before them. But there was nothing historic about the house at all. Thank you, bye.

In an email, Pat Portwine was correcting the information regarding her husband’s career; he was a Jr. High math teacher most of the 29 years having taught High School only the first few years they lived in Romeo.

They had the kitchen remodeled in the late 1970's. There was a doorway from the kitchen to the dining room that they closed off to get more use of wall space. I don’t think that the current condition of the kitchen is the remodel that they did – since the countertop is Corian, which I think was something that came into existence in the late 80’s early 90’s.

She told me that the old coal-bin in the basement was fixed up and used as a dark room. Mr. Portwine was a photographer in his spare time.

She is looking forward to hearing what Ilene has to say. She has lived in Romeo most of her life and knows/remembers many people in the area.

As far as Ilene, I can’t say that much more was reveled when she came by; she confirmed a lot of things that I had been told in the past from Terry and Marina such as the magnolia tree in the backyard was planted for Betty Scott, so that she would have something pretty to look at while she lay in bed.

I am very grateful she lent me her pictures of the area from the late 1940’s and we plan on acquiring a slide projector and in the near future, go to her place for a visit and view her slides.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ilene Lock...

A cold took me over this weekend. Thought I was getting over it, but whammo!

Friday we went to Rory & Heathers to see the new addition; Hudson Holly. Very cute. Then on Saturday we were expecting Ilene Lock to come by and give us more “stories” and show us some pictures of Gates Street. This is a sample of what we got. In the first picture you can see the top of our house in the background, In the second you see the properties on Prospect and where our garage would end up standing and finally picture number three, the well being dug.
As you can see, as they were building their home, ours was already standing – nearly done. According to Ilene, no one could have been living there because they were not tapped into any water. It wasn’t until Ilene’s husband Marshall had a well dug that our house and another tapped into that well and had some water.

She told us that she lived in that house for 52 years; but the math doesn’t add up, so I’m thinking it was a bit longer.

Right after she left, I got back into my jammies and lay down – and am just now getting myself out of bed to do my chores that I was unable to do over the weekend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

justin update...

All this house stuff has really distracted me on keeping up with updates about Justin.

Got another letter from him late last week. He seems to be frustrated with the lack of interest from the other troops that made it into “fat camp”. He hates that he’s classified under the same category as them. However, he has made at least one friend while he was there.

He says he’s been made squad leader because he knows drilling and ceremonies. There’s a little silver lining, they get their M-16’s this week.

Then on Monday, I got a text message.

8:24AM, Monday, February 9: I’m reporting to my new unit sometime this week. I just ran a 7 minute mile. I’m out of the fat camp.

application submitted...

Jerome and I dropped off the application for the historical plaque last night. The application along with the check for $99 was accepted and is now in process.

I asked if there would be a ceremony; got a mixed response.

Just as we were leaving, we were summoned into the meeting they were having for the Victorian Festival (in May). They gave us an assignment to work on this years postcards and poster for the festival.

Roped in again :) Actually, Jerome said "getting involved in the community...that was something I told you that you should do..."

L. Louise Renaud…

If you build it, they will come…

It’s funny how apprehensive I get about getting in touch with these people, when it seems that people are more than willing to give out the information required, and are friendly about it.

I have written several of the previous owners and so far have heard back from (if you count Marina, whom I’m regularly in touch with) four.

The latest and the one I was looking forward to the most was Louise Renaud. She sent me a lovely letter and returned the copies I sent her of the items found behind the fireplace mantle with notations!

So, this is what I have learned from her letter. She was married to Kenneth Nicholas Kramer. She didn’t change her name when they got married. (I have found documentation on the internet that has her changing her name to Kramer in 2005). They were together up until his death in April 2000.

Ken practiced law in Mt. Clemens before J. Gerald McLean and Ken merged. Ken thought he’d practice more in Romeo, but his roots were in Mt. Clemens where he practiced for over 50 years.

When Ken purchased the house, they put it in the names of Louise and Ken’s daughter; Patricia J. Kramer.

The previous owner (Byron Scott) had gone into foreclosure, the wife had died and the three sons went to live with grandparents. Byron had a lot of problems. The utilities had been shut off and the house was in ruins.

When they purchased the house, it was full of furniture which they gave to the sons. It took many months to clean, paint, wallpaper (probably the wallpaper we removed when we purchased the house), etc. It ended up being a beautiful house. They loved living there but they were spending most of their time on the road. Ken was still practicing in Mt. Clemens and Louise was a teacher in Detroit. That was their reason for moving.

Now, on to the mantle items:
Supersongs letter: David Kramer is Ken’s son. He lives in California and spent part of the summers and Christmas vacation with them. He was still in High School. She says “poor David – probably still waiting, I’ll have to tell him”.

The Detroit Edison Company dividend check: Mrs. Anna Frances Kramer was Ken’s mother and Mrs. Anna Marie Riecher is Ken’s sister.

Note to KNK & prayer cards: Betty McIntyre was Ken’s bookkeeper. Betty was a very spiritual person.

Photo of Louise and Janie: Jane is Ken’s daughter.

Photo of old woman in rocking chair: Anna Kramer; Ken’s mother. She lived with them in Romeo and moved with them to Mt. Clemens.

So, that identifies most, if not all of the items that we found behind the mantle.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

J. Gerald McLean...

I’m so excited that I’m hearing back from people that touched the house in some way.

This morning, I received a call from J. Gerald McLean. He was calling from his place in Florida.

He updated me on his close social friend Byron Scott. He told me that after Betty passed, Byron continued living in the house.

Eventually he had financial problems and the bank initiated foreclosure. Byron contacted his friend, J. Gerald McLean and they approached the bank. The bank was parrying and thrusting and giving all kinds of problems; usually if you offer to pay off the bank and pay off the mortgage, it’s all yours, but because the Vice President of the bank was interested in purchasing the house, they were giving all sorts of problems, but eventually they took the money and the Law firm then sold the house to Kenneth Kramer.

Yes, Louise Kramer was married to Ken. But Gerald was not sure who Patricia Kramer is; possibly the daughter. Gerald and Ken worked together for 4 or 5 years, but didn’t really know each other socially. Although, he did mention that Ken had been married several times.

He told me a little story about Byron Scott; he was a suave guy and usually got the lead in the plays because of his looks. He was terrible at learning his lines and would be studying a book or his lines the night of the play. But somehow would get it all together on opening night which would piss everyone else off.

He is passed, but had owned the property at the corner of 28 and Mound that is now being / or is developed.

Gerald then asked me who the owner was prior to the Scotts and I stated The Nordman’s. Oh, yeah he said, I forgot they lived there. Ed Nordman was the premiere real estate man in Romeo. J. Gerald’s first contact in Romeo. He rented some offices from him. Ed developed the piece of property across the street from the house into orchards. In fact, if you drive back there, there is a street named Patty Ann Lane, which is named after Nordmans grand-daughter.

J. Gerald still lives in Romeo on North Main Street. He goes between Romeo and Florida throughout the winter months. He told me that around mid-April, he’ll call someone from Michigan and ask if the coast is clear and then head back.

He told me that Gene Portwine was another close social friend.

I invited him to come see us when he gets back – I hope he takes me up on the offer.

Monday, February 9, 2009

phone calls and emails...

I heard from Ilene Lock over the weekend. She’ll be coming by next Saturday to discuss what I’ve uncovered and to share pictures.

She told me a few things over the phone, one was the Elizabeth F. Scott went by Betty, which may explain a note that was found behind the fireplace, written to KNK, signed by Betty (read earlier post).

The other thing she told me was the Betty had cancer and passed away in my dining room. I have mixed feelings about ghosts and spirits – usually I’m more apt to believe when I’m home alone at night. I have felt fear at times when I start walking toward the front extra bedroom. We don’t usually use that room, but I keep things in the closet, etc., so when I start walking toward the room and into the room, I have a slight feeling of dread. Well, that’s not where Betty died…she died in the room directly under that bedroom. Maybe her spirit rose into that room.

Ilene also mentioned that the Scott’s were the ones that built the cinder block retaining wall in the back yard. They did this so they could fix a problem of a huge mud puddle at the back door. The retaining wall was torn down by Terry Risko and Marina Kruse and replaced with landscape boulders and beautiful perennials. A portion of the wall is still in tact at the wall of the garage that is against the hill.

There were other more personal things that Ilene mentioned about the Scotts and other owners, but I will not post that on the web; I will leave that for the booklet that I’m going to make for myself.

Yesterday, I received my first response to the letters that I’ve written to the previous owners. Mrs. Patricia L. Portwine emailed me. That was really cool. Jerome and I were both at the computer when we received the email.

We learned a few things from her email. We learned that the abstract is not completely correct. She said that they lived in the house from 1975 until their retirement to Florida in 1986. I had the 1986 part right, but didn’t realize that they had lived in the house for that long. I’m not sure why the abstract is incorrect; maybe it has something to do with a refinance…? Don’t know. But that changes things a bit on my spreadsheet – it means that they were possibly the family who lived in the house nearly the longest; second to the Scott’s who lived in the home for just about 16 years. We’ll have to see, because the Kruse/Risko’s lived in the house just over 10 years too. I’m waiting to see if Pat answers my reply email with the date that they purchased the house.

The Portwine’s lived in two other homes in Romeo during their lifetime. Mr. Eugene Fred Portwine was a math teacher at the Romeo High School from 1955 to 1984. He was a council member and President of the Village from 1980 to 1986. Sad to say, Mr. Portwine has passed. Mrs. Patricia L. Portwine was also a teacher; she taught in Armada.

A significant item she mentioned was the inscription on the brick on the outside fireplace chimney; with this account, I will be able to complete my application for a historic plaque. YAY!

Finally, she affirmed that the photo of the house on the snowy hill was their cottage in West Branch Michigan.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

fireplace...

Today I painted the top portion - we're still waiting to find some nice molding. Jerome went to The Home Depot and to Consumer's Lumber and neither had the kind of molding we were looking for.

Might have to find someone out there who has the machinery to make molding...

Friday, February 6, 2009

the power of the internet...

Yesterday I was able to use the power of the internet to find nearly all the rest of the owners of the house.

It started with Chauncey C. Adams. This was an exciting find because I found that he is living in Ann Arbor and very possibly alive. I am waiting on his address and then I will send him a letter. According to the internet, he is 89 years old, meaning he was 25 or 26 when he was on the deed for the property.

The next was Earl C. & Bertha H. Heap. The search revealed that they were living in Albion, MI. I found their death records. Earl passed in August of 1972 at the age of 73 and typical of women, Bertha passed 10 years later in November of 1982 at the age of 80. They are both buried in the Riverside Cemetery. So, from what I have found it means that when they purchased the land, they were 47 & 44 respectively. One interesting thing that I discovered regarding Bertha was that her maiden name was “Adams”. This is a good find because that means that she and Chauncey are related in some way. Still yet to be determined.

I have not yet been able to find much about Jose Giles nor Ed & Mae Nordman.

Byron Winfield Scott seems to still be living in Washington Township and is currently 89 years old. If that is correct it would mean he was 52 when he purchased the house. Still need to find his address or any other pertinent information about him.

We already were aware that Roger Eugene & Susan Gayle (Hatfield) Hoke divorced while living in the house. That the house was then quit claimed to Susan and then she only lived in the house for a year or so before she sold it to the Stones. I found that Roger lives in Columbus Michigan and Susan lives in Dayton Ohio. They are both 60 years old now which would mean that they were both 37 years old when they bought the house. I have both of their addresses, so I’m hoping that when they receive the letter that I’ll be sending, that they will be interested in contacting me. Not too sure about that.

But the very best find, in my opinion was Leona Louise Renaud. She currently lives in Clinton Township and is 74 years old. That would put her at 38 years old when she purchased the house. I say she’s the best find because most of the items that we found behind the fireplace belong to her. According to the abstract, she lived in the house for 10 years, so she probably has a few stories. Also, she owned the house with Patricia Kramer and I’d like to know how they are related, and how the whole exchange of the property happened between the Law Firm to Kenneth N. Kramer on to them. One remarkable thing that I found on the Clinton Township website was that in January 2005 she legally had her name changed from L. Louise Renaud to L. Louise Kramer. I sent her a letter yesterday with copies of everything we found behind the fireplace. I hope she contacts me.

I am waiting for Mindy from the Village of Romeo to call me back telling me that she was able to find the tax records from the 40’s so that I can complete my application for the historical plaque. I will compile a lovely booklet on everything that I’ve found and submit it to the Romeo Historical Society for safe keeping. This will give the future owners at the least an interesting story.

By now, the first three letters that I have sent have made it to their destinations. I hope they are received well and that I will hear back from them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

“The Earl C. Heap House”

I went to the Romeo Historical Society (RHS) last night after I went to get my hair cut at Main Street Salon.

I spoke to the president, Sue Kane and also to Richard Beringer. I showed them what I have uncovered so far. They were pretty confident that the scrapping on the brick on the outside chimney would be the date that the house was built. That would be proof enough to request a plaque. Nonetheless, by their request, I am still going to check with the Village of Romeo and possibly Bruce Township offices to check the tax records. According to Sue and Richard, there will be a jump in taxes owed from when there was only vacant land to when there was a house built on the land. Makes sense.

Actually, it was a bit embarrassing to go to the “HISTORICAL” society in a village that was founded in 1838 (the year after Michigan joined the union) with a house that was built in the late 1940’s. Richard even mentioned that it shouldn’t be all that hard to find out everything about the house since it’s so “young”.

While there I was asked for help on a number of things, of which I can only help with a couple. They need some legal software to keep an accurate inventory, they need a newer computer or an upgrade in memory and they need someone to enter data into a database. I can help with the software and the data entry. I mentioned that when Del DeRees used to be involved in the Historical Society, I was his secretary and I would do a lot of the typing for the meetings, etc. That and the Home & Heart Craft Show and the Concours d’Elegance at Meadowbrook. Del was involved in all those things, and so, through him, so was I.

Wanna know my hypothesis? Here it is:

Earl C. & Bertha Heap, along with Chauncey C. Adams, purchased the property from Jose Giles on Friday, October 4, 1946, with the sole purpose of building a house to sell, maybe specifically building it for Ed & Mae Nordman...?

On February 11, 1947, the Heap’s took out a loan with The Detroit Bank in order to build the house.

I believe they started building the house in the spring and summer of 1947 and finished up building the house in August 1948.

They sold the house to Ed and Mae Nordman officially on Saturday, November 6, 1948 for the money they still owed the bank; $9218.54 with an interest rate of 4.5% + $1. The Nordman's assumed the loan and began paying on it June 1, 1948, five months prior to the official purchase of the house.

I believe the brick on east facing side of the chimney would be the date the house was completed; 8/16/1948, so, I will most likely request a plaque with the date of 1948 and the house will be named “The Earl C. Heap - Chauncey C. Adams House”...or The Heap-Adams House.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

today I received an email from marina…

One of the very nice things that happened with us regarding this house was that we met Marina Kruse and Terry Risko. They were the previous owners of the house. We not only bought their lovely home, but also became friends – not something that happens with every financial & sometimes emotional transaction of this caliber.

We still see each other about once a year, either they come to Michigan or we travel down to Florida.

I mentioned to her in an email last month that we were going to have the Christmas Home Tour come through the house and I asked her a few questions. I also gave her the address to my blog.

Apparently, she was reading the blog today and gave me more clues to run with. She told me if I want any information on previous owners, I should contact Ilene Lock. She was close friends with everyone who lived there. The only owners she didn't know were the Stones.

She also told me that indeed the past village president lived in the house. Fred Portwine. And his wife was on the Library Board for a couple of years. Pat and Fred Portwine have retired to Florida. Somewhere she has an address…but that’s all the information I needed. I Googled Eugene Fred Portwine and found him in Florida. I then Googled him for Romeo and found that he was the Village President in 1984 & 1985 according to the Macomb County Directory. He was living in the house at the time of his presidency.

I wrote him a letter and included some of the “fireplace stuff” and also a copy of the Macomb County Directory that listed him as President.

I have sent out a total of 3 letters today to previous owners of our home. I hope to hear back from any and all of them. And I plan to invite Ilene over for lunch or dinner in the near future and find out what she knows.

2nd obit…

To my surprise while inputting all the previous owners’ names into the archival obits on the Detroit News website, I came upon one that I was really not expecting. The man who sold the house to Marina and Terry seems to have passed suddenly on July 26, 2005 at the young age of 54; Mr. Benjamin Leon Stone. He was survived by his wife Charlotte Ann Stone and three children: Brittany, Benjamin & Courtney. The obit said they were from Milford, MI. A Google search allowed me to find Charlotte A. Stone of Milford – her address and her political affiliation. Sometimes the internet has too much information that is very easily obtained. I also wrote her a letter asking for stories and photos. I included some more “behind the fireplace” stuff, which included a copy of the boarding pass from USAir from her husband Benjamin.

Thanks to the power of the internet, I found the name of the company that they (now she still) owns; GEOdynamicInd.com. This company specializes in transportation and management of hazardous & non-hazardous waste, in-plant cleaning & maintenance services, containers for solid / sludge waste transportation, materials recycling and reclamation, emergency response.

This is exactly the type of business they had when they owned the house, however I’m not sure it’s the same business.

Here are some stories that we have heard about this owner – until proven otherwise, at this point they are just stories…

When living in our house, Benjamin owned a fancy, expensive car such as a Lamborghini. He installed an alarm system in the house and garage. This included a camera and monitor. The camera is pointed toward the garage. We have never hooked up the monitor since we’ve moved in and don’t know whether it is in working condition.

We were told that there was a drive-by shooting while he was living in the house; of which a bullet came through the front door. We can confirm that there is indeed a hole on the lower portion of the front door, about the size of a bullet hole – there is another hole in the side door as well. The front door hole was pointed out to us by Terry Risko, the owner previous to us. We refinished the door last summer; sanding, staining and polying. There is definitely a hole there.

We were told that the Stone’s owned a hazardous waste facility – and now I have the proof.

Hopefully, Charlotte will still be willing to share some stories.

what my investigations have turned up…

Now armed with names, I started looking again at the items we found behind the fireplace mantle, and things are starting to come together. There were a couple of pictures that had names on the back.

One picture was of Louise & Jonie from January 1, 1974. Another picture was of Louise shoveling the snow after the big storm of 12/1/1974. So, we know that “Louise” is L. Louise Renaud who lived in the house from July 6, 1973 to November 24, 1983.

A note that was written to KNK stating that he forgot to sign a check. $100 is attached. Betty. This note was to Kenneth N. Kramer. By the way, we didn’t find the $100.

A signed check to Mrs. Anna Frances Kramer & Mrs. Anna Marie Riecher (signor) from The Detroit Edison Company. The check is a dividend check for the amount of $38.57.

A letter to Supersongs that was never sent. I opened the letter, which had a 10 cent stamp affixed. There was a check made out to Super Songs, signed by L. Louise Renaud for the amount of $8.48. Also a note that says “Dear Sirs: I live in California and will be returning there shortly. Please send to David K. Kramer, 4606 Boxwood Drive, San Diego, CA 92117. If it is not possible to send it there, then to Louise Renaud, 249 X. Xxxxx, Xxxxx, XX XXXXX. Thank you, David K. Kramer.

A newspaper clipping that baffled us until we received the property abstract. We weren’t sure which side of the paper was clipped for keepsakes, but now we know. There was an article titled “Players” and it was talking about a local play. The first paragraphs are what caught my eye. “The title role of Laura, a difficult one to characterize, was well taken by Mrs. J. Gerald McLean, who was very ably assisted by her husband as the detective who solves the case and gets the girl.” Then the next paragraph made me think even more…these people, previous owners to our house, knew each other. “Also well played was the part of Laura’s “southern gentleman” fiancĂ© by Byron Scott.” So, it seems that the McLean’s were in a play with Byron Scott, whom they purchased the house from.

A USAir Boarding Pass for Stone/Benjamin, from Pittsburgh, PA to Detroit, MI. May 22, 8:15PM.

Other items still yet to be identified were a photo of an old woman on a rocking chair in our living room. A photo of a cottage on a snowy hill. A coupon for a speedboat from the Kellogg’s company, a bug eaten “Made in Western Germany” Christmas gift tag, two Christian prayer cards, both from Baltimore, MD and finally a stamped certificate of authenticity of a House of Lords barometer.

I started doing some internet searches, right away. I really didn’t find much at first; only the telephone number to Kenneth N. Kramer, who briefly owned the home in 1973. It seems he is an attorney and at the time was a partner in McLean, Sawyer & Kramer, P.C. The internet says he has a practice in Marysville, MI.; Kramer & Murray, P.C. It took me over the weekend to get up the nerve to call…with the prompting of Jerome.

Monday at lunchtime, I called the number to Kramer & Murray. The woman who answered said that he is no longer with us. He passed in 2000. He retired 10 years before that. I said that the internet still has him as partner in this firm. She told me that is a typical practice to keep the name, even if they are deceased. I hung up with her and searched the net for his old partner J. Gerald McLean. J. Gerald still has a practice in Romeo; McLean, Mijak & Clark, P.C. I sent a note to McLean using their on-line contact link. However, in checking the link that has the attorney profiles, J. Gerald McLean does not show up on the list of attorneys. This made me think of what the woman said at the office when I called for Kenneth Kramer. I decided I’d check the obituaries.

The Detroit News has an archive of obituaries back to 2001. This doesn’t help if I’m looking for Kenneth N. Kramer who supposedly passed in 2000, but it could help for others.

The first obit I stumbled upon was for Gladys (Domeyer) McLean, who was survived by her husband J. Gerald McLean. This was a great find; it had information such as they’ve wintered in Boca Raton since 1986. She was a member of the Romeo Monday Club and that they traveled extensively with the Nomads travel club. I have asked one woman over the summer if I could attend a Monday Club meeting, still waiting on that invitation. But we have a member of our MINI Cooper Club, Joann Rouston who not only is a member of the Nomads, but was the stewardess and now is an administrative assistant for the Nomads. I sent her a PM from the club website to see if she has any information about them. Still waiting to hear. In the meantime, I started drafting a letter to Mr. J. Gerald McLean. Just to see if he could fill in some blanks. I also sent him copies of the news article, the pictures of Louise and a copy of the check from Detroit Edison. I hope to hear from him.

jack gamble…

Last week Thursday during lunch, Jerome and I met Jack Gamble at Bo’s Brewery in Pontiac. He gave us our packet of information. Basically he was able to trace the names of all the owners of the house/property back to 1946. He had me pay for a 40 year search, when in fact it was a 60 year search. He made copies of some of the deeds and a new subdivision plat from 1955. That was when the sub behind our house was platted – the Wonder Lane sub; which we are apart of now.

I’m thinking that I would like him to go even further back…all the way back to when the property was platted the first time – or further. I would also like to have copies of the other deeds that he didn’t get a copy of. That would give me selling price, and that would be pretty cool.

Here’s the rundown:
October 4, 1946 – Jose Giles, a single man sold the property to Earl C. & Bertha Heap, husband and wife and Chauncey C. Adams, a single man. The deed says the property was sold for $1.

November 6 1948 – Earl, Bertha and Chauncey sold the property to Edward & Mae Nordman, husband and wife. Again, the deed says the property was sold for $1 and that the new owners would assume an existing mortgage of $9218.54 held at The Detroit Bank, Detroit, MI. at a rate of 4½%. At some point during the time these people owned the property, the house was built.

June 1, 1957 – Ed & Mae sold the house to Byron W. & Elizabeth F. Scott, husband and wife. Again, the deed says the property was sold for $1.

March 1, 1973 – 4 years after Elizabeth’s death, Byron sold the house to McLean, Sawyer & Kramer, P.C. The quit claim deed states at the cost of $12,500.

June 4, 1973 – The partner Kenneth N. Kramer purchased the house from his firm for $15,000, and promptly flipped it selling it to a relative for the same amount.

July 6, 1973L. Louise Renaud & Patricia J. Kramer, joint tenants and not as tenants in common with full rights to the survivor. Hummm…this is a strange one.

November 24, 1983 – Patricia & Louise sold the house to Eugene F. & Patricia L. Portwine, husband and wife. Don’t have the deed.

May 15, 1986 – Eugene & Patricia sold the house to Roger E. Hoke & Susan Hatfield-Hoke, husband and wife. Who divorced in 1987, giving over the home to Susan. Don’t have the deed.

March 27, 1987 – Susan Hatfield-Hoke. Don’t have the deed.

June 21, 1988 – Susan Hatfield (fka Susan Hatfield-Hoke) sold the home to Benjamin Leon & Charlotte Ann Stone – through a land contract. Don’t have the deed.

January 24, 1989 – Benjamin & Charlotte re-mortgaged with a mortgage company. Don’t have the deed.

March 31, 1994 – Benjamin & Charlotte sold the house to Marina Kruse (with husband Terry Risko). Don’t have the deed.

And finally…
December 14, 2004 – we purchased the house from Marina and Terry. Looks like we are the 11th owners of the house – there were other owners of the property, including Jose Giles.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

this weekends project...

Jerome was working hard on the fireplace today. He still needs to put the center panel on the wall and then we need to pick up the molding from Consumer's Lumber - then the rest of the project is mine to complete.
If you want to write Justin, this is his address:

Front of envelope:
Pvt. Bruce, Justin
STP Plt., A Co. 1-61st INFREGT
Stryker
Ft. Jackson, SC 29207

Back of envelope:
STP Plt.

video