Then along came Sara.
Sara moved in with me while I was still living in my longtime bachelor house on Christopher Street. My roommate at the time, Bob, took Sara’s arrival in my life and our house in stride, amused as he got to witness parts of our whirlwind romance close-up. We jokingly referred to him as “Junior.”
But after we made a run back out to California to fetch her stuff and bring her cats back to Austin to live with us, Sara lived there in our semi-squalid bachelor paradise just a week or two before announcing we would have to move after the wedding.
“I love you — but I’m afraid to go into your kitchen after dark.”
South 5th Street
We moved a whole block and a half away into a rental house on South 5th with a backyard deck overlooking the Bouldin Creek valley. This was our settling down house for our first year growing together as a couple.
I took her around Texas to experience Big Bend and Bolivar and bluebonnets and barbecue. We learned about each other’s quirks and habits, started new traditions (Sunday morning migas & mimosas), and shared old memories.
We were here that summer night the music coming up the hill from Auditorium Shores overpowered any walls, so we just opened up the windows to let Stevie Ray Vaughan’s music flow in more fully. Little did we know it would be his last Austin show.
It was a good home for our first year — but it wasn’t our house.
Joanie always claimed we copy-catted her & my brother in buying our house later that year, and she wasn’t half-wrong. I’d often watched my brother’s lead through my life, so when he & Joanie bought a house in Houston, we started checking out whether that might be possible for us in Austin. It took a bit of patience and searching and losing out on our first bid on a house (thank goodness — wrong house) before we found Casa Dexter.
The house was a basic bungalow with an enclosed, carpeted, cracked carport slab as a “second bedroom.” That cracked us up when they showed us, but we loved the back yard — big enough for later expansion — as well as the Zilker neighborhood, where we had seen people walking to the local grocery store to buy milk. We made the jump at the end of 1990, just short of our first anniversary.
Along the way, we would add on to the house twice: once in 2000 and again in 2008. There are far too many stories about our life in Casa Dexter to all be told here. Our son, Lucas lived there from the time he came home from the hospital in 1993 to when he graduated from high school here in 2011 and beyond — something neither Sara nor I had experienced growing up.
We watched our neighborhood and Austin grow up around us as well. That neighborhood grocery store changed names several times, then closed down before becoming a movie theater, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Then they tore down the old surrounding Lamar Plaza shopping center and built the modernistic Lamar Union around an expanded Drafthouse.
Selling Casa Dexter and leaving Austin last year was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done — and yet the most liberating at the same time.
1008 Macon Avenue
I’ve told you the tale of the trajectory of transformation that landed us here in Colorado. Well, here we are nearly a year later, living and loving life in Cañon City, with new tales from our 100-year-old house still to be written.