John Cougar Mellencamp is a fellow Hoosier, from Seymour, Indiana, where my 90-year-old birth mother just passed. I never met her but talked with him at an I.U. basketball game. He wrote these lyrics that always reminds me of our pink Coverdale Lake home (See Post # 2399):
“Aw, but ain’t that America for you and me
Ain’t that America somethin’ to see, baby
Ain’t that America home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses for you and me
Oh yeah, for you and me.”
My parents bought it for themselves, but it ended up in my hands, then my sister’s, before we sold it. One of the first goals was to repaint it and eliminate the pink tiles in the master bathroom. For that matter, it could have been Barbie’s house! I bought gallons of gray paint and rented both a pressure washer and sprayer. The rest of our family taped-off windows, doors, around fixtures, and grabbed paint brushes. We were ready to start the de-pinking process.
I set up the sprayer just outside the garage and filled it with paint before starting it up. A gasket apparently failed and the machine began to spew paint all over the garage, cars, pavement, and me. It was a total disaster before I finally was able to shut it down. I then quickly grabbed the power washer to rinse-off all the areas covered in the gray paint that was supposed to do away with the pink. Ultimately, it took hours of time and gallons of pressurized water to clean up the mess, while the rest of the family began to paint by hand. Fortunately, nothing was ruined except for my ego, that had devised this quick-fix plan. By the time I had cleaned-up the mess, returned the faulty sprayer, and took the time to buy more paint, it was no longer an economical or efficient idea. They were nearly done by the time I got back. Painting has never been one of my strengths.
Other improvements that we made to the house, included a wood-burning stove in the basement. A friend built the concrete block flute, and a window opening was adapted to serve as a pass-through for wood. I spent most of my time working on the limestone retaining walls that framed the stairways down to the lake. I would no sooner get one re-built before it once again crumbled from erosion. Friends would come over on weekends, but I was always busy fixing these troublesome walls, enviously watching them play in the water. They would also drink all my beer until I stopped buying brand names and switched to generic BEER. They eventually got the hint and began to bring their own. Lake life was never as I dreamed!
We had several big parties at the house. One was a Halloween party where I built a cardboard chute down the basement stairs as an entrance to the haunted house below. The other was a softball series between the two Federated Media radio stations where I worked. The Ft. Wayne stations, WMEE & WQHK, against my original employer WTRC in Elkhart. Players arrived in motorhomes filled with kegs of beer and camped at the end of our dead-end drive after an afternoon of competitive softball. We roasted a pig and borrowed a pontoon boat that nearly sunk; then got stuck in the narrow, muddy, channel between the lakes. It was a wild scene out of the Jungle Queen!
I worked at a Styrofoam factory, FORMEX, for many years, so I had a fleet of sailboat and catamaran seconds, along with paddleboards, floating lounge chairs, and kick boards. I also had a pinball machine in the basement, plus ping pong and pool tables, so it was the ideal party palace, certainly not what my parents envisioned when they originally bought it. Multiple balconies looked out over the lake and the pier was ideal for sunbathing. No wonder it was a popular weekend retreat for my friends once it was no longer pink.