|©Crystal S. Kauffman|
About six years ago, my husband and I began working on an endeavor that would challenge us financially, emotionally, and spiritually in many ways that we had never dreamed were possible. We felt we did the right thing, but every now again we question if it was truly worth it to save the home I grew up in. Personally, I am thankful that we didn’t give upon our mission to save what my grandfather had spent his life creating and building for our entire family. However, I must admit it was not an easy task to complete, yet we accomplished it with the help of many of our true friends. They gave up their days to come help us clean up the property because my grandpa was a junk man. We still have a long way to go before the house looks better, but we both have faith that we will accomplish what we have set out to do. As a 12 year survivor of cervical cancer, I had aggressive treatment which caused damage to my belly and back, so my husband doing most of the clean up.
Growing up Here
My mom, my uncle, my brothers, and I grew up in this house along with my grandparents from the time we were born. Each of my siblings grew up in this house, but only till we left with our stepfather who adopted us. We bounced around for seven years with the military, and then we came home to grandma and grandpa. As we adjusted to our new life in Jacksonville, however we were so excited to be back with our loving grandparents. My mother announced she was getting a divorce and we lost touch with our adopted father, so our grandparents became our surrogate parents. My mom worked different hours, so she let my grandparents take care of us and handle school issues, doctor visits, and so much more. As I became an adult, my ex-husband brought our new baby girl to this house, because we lived here at time and were caretakers of the house. I truly love this house and everyone who knows me, actually knows my heart is here.
The Clean Up
First, we had to clean up all the junk, trash, and debris that we found in the yard in order to comply with one citation. Then, once we got that finished, we learned that we had to tear down three separate buildings that were unsafe or condemned. We tore down the garage, washroom, and mobile home with the help of some friends who helped us clear out the second citation. Next, we began repairing the house, which had an old shed attached that was considered unsafe. We rebuilt the shed and made it into a large master bedroom for us and soon the residential citation was closed as well. However, we still have a lot of work ahead of us like painting and adding flooring, but we accomplished our goal to close all three cases. The city closed all three cases and my husband and I felt proud, because we spent every waking moment working on the house and cleaning out papa’s junk yard.
Honestly, it wasn’t easy to accomplish the goals we set, but we did it and now the house has become a home. Our neighbors are always complementing us on the way the yard and house looks now, plus they tell us we did an outstanding job cleaning up the property. We initially set out to save my childhood home, yet along the way I am making new memories with my husband and my children. Now, I have to come with $23, 217.00 to purchase house, but I can’t find a loan so far because of my income. I am also trying to fix the roof and few other things as well. No matter what happens in the future, I will always know I did do the right thing by choosing to take a stand and helping rebuild this house into our home. Therefore, my wish would be that I can purchase the house out right and begin doing repairs as needed. However, I really need help, thank you for any gift you can give.
My mother is disabled and in wheelchair...She gets less than $800 a month income.
I am also disabled and I make less than $800 a month.
My husband is both of our caretaker at this time.