From the EastWing, Happy, Happy Days, EastWing Boy Toys, Red Oak Floors & Cornerstones, Naysayers & Speakers of Doom, Me & The She & the Gable Theater.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Before our next visit in the EastWing, me and the She will again observe yet another wedding anniversary. Don’t know how many years, but it’s more than a few.  When me and the She got married, TV’s had black and white pictures.  Telephones where attached to walls. Computers were the size of houses and the music, the music was pressed into vinyl. The music said things like “Getty Up Getty Up 409”  “Come Softly To Me” “Blueberry Hill” and “Love Me Tender”.  it was a while back. Rock & Roll was young, and so were me and the She. It was such a time.

In the last several weeks I’ve had quite a lot of new friends asking questions ‘bout the EastWing, things like what, when, where, why, and how come, as EastWing questions. So for my long time friends of the EastWing, just bare with me here for a little while as I address some of these matters. ‘Cause you’ve all seen down this memory lane before.

It’s really quite simple, the EastWing, well the EastWing is my playground. It holds my stuff, most all my stuff, my computers, my toys, my chickens, my dogs and my cats. Antique Pop Bottles, Flying Nuns, a Pooping Moose, R2D2 as a PEZ Dispenser, and a rooster lamp. A trash can from The Ohio State University, Coal Oil Lamps, Dolls that represent members of the Family of Howards, Flamingos, Angels, and a Rooster with a broken wing. A Sign on the wall that says GOD BLESS AMERICA, and another sign that says PEACE. A picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, A thing I brought home from the Sea. An emergency Flood Light that is said to be 10 million candle power, that can produce light enough to read at ¼ mile, we tested that one out, ya can read a ¼ mile down the road. Two Manatees and one of ‘em is canned. Even a chicken with biddies.

It’s called the EastWing ‘cause it’s a room I built onto the east end of the original house. Don’t know if I told ya that I built the original house. Sure did, that was the first house I’d ever built, it was the last house I’ve ever built. I’ve remodeled that last house I built 8 times, the EastWing is the last remodeling job.

The EastWing is 26’ x 16’  Three walls are glass with just enough wall space to support the roof. The fourth wall is the east exterior of the original house. On this fourth wall I left the original exterior which is cedar siding. Painted white. Three walls have a 4’ sliding glass door in the center of each wall, while the house wall has a opening where  a regular glass sliding door used to be. The EastWing is hated and cooled by the same system as the rest of the house.

A vaulted 12’ ceiling supports two 48” ceiling fans with 3 bulb  light fixtures. The EastWing floor is somewhat similar in nature to the biblical  reference of “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” The wood purchased for the flooring had been rejected by the builders. It then turned out that for the EastWing, that floor, the wood that’d been rejected, well it did become the cornerstone. Or maybe I should say the cornerwood. But that don’t sound right, cornerstone is better.


It’s oak flooring, Red Oak Flooring, 1” thick, and 1½” wide. I’ve always had a passion for wood floors, just have forever loved wood floors. we’ve got wood floors in every room in my house except the potty and the kitchen. I don’t even like it when the She puts those little rug circles on ‘em, but she’s the She, and so I live with those little rug circles here and there on my pretty hardwood floors.  


When the EastWing was being built there was never any question as to the type flooring, only which kinda wood.  Well, somebody told me ‘bout a place in Michigan, Pawpaw Michigan, where a store was selling red oak flooring for $1.00 per sq. ft. I called ‘em up. The feller gives me the dope, tells me he works at a factory that makes oak flooring and they have strict quality control that rejects a fair amount of product due to blemishers such as knotholes, worm holes, bark still on the wood, etc.  Told me to figure my need in sq ft and add 25% and that would allow for the cutting out of all the bad parts, and I’d end up with a clear oak floor.


I calculated the need, added 25%, went to Michigan and picked up my floor. The original pattern had already been designed on paper, all that was left was putting the wood in place. The pattern I’d designed was to reflect the outdoor aspects of the EastWing. A 12” diamond in the center of the floor and two 36” sidewalks on the outside, the north and south sides of the EastWing. The  wooden sidewalks to run perpendicular to the diamond pattern of the main floor.


The first 4 pieces of wood put down, I cut out the flaws, after all, I’m gona have a high quality floor here in the EastWing. It was on that 5th piece of wood I picked up that changed the EastWing forever. It was so easy to see why this piece of wood was rejected. It was full of imperfections, I tell ya it was just filled with worm holes, knot holes and even a piece of bark was still stuck to the wood.


 It was also so filled with so much character it took my breath away. Knowing what this piece of wood, I held in my hand, would look like when it was varnished and finished off, I laid it in place on my new floor, uncut, and forever imperfect. But only in the eyes of some people. ‘Cause that little piece of wood, well it’s kinda like those things we talked ‘bout a few weeks ago, and God not making ugly anything and all. Be it butterflies, flowers, people or a little strip of wood from a Red Oak Tree, God just don’t make ugly stuff. He’s for sure not gona make ugly stuff just for me to put in the EastWing floor, after all, God lives here in the EastWing too, and he’s gotta look at this EastWing floor as much as I do.


The remainder of the EastWing flooring went into place as I picked ‘em up.  Not one time in the installation of that floor did I trim out a single “bad” spot. I cut only for angles and to size.  And as such, I now have a floor that is the center piece of the EastWing. The floor has become the cornerstone.


And guess what, the She  puts one of those really big round rugs on my pretty Red Oak Floor.  But she’s the She, and so I live with the round rug of the EastWing, all the while knowing there’s a pretty oak floor cornerstone  under there.


Naysayers and speakers of doom, did ya ever run into ‘em? Boy they sure hunted me out when I decided to build my house. “Ya can’t build a house, ya never built a house before, ya don’t know the first thing ‘bout building a house, ya don’t even know how to start.” And ya know what, those people, such negative talking people, well they were right, I didn’t know how to start, I hadn’t built a house before. But a very important point was overlooked by these naysayers. That fact  being BobbyRay had learned to read. Yah, I’d learned to read years ago, and practiced damn near every day. Then I built my house by reading every step of the way. I even found a book that taught ya how to drive a nail straight, even upside down, and guess what, it works even upside down.  Good book, that instructional manual on nail driving.


The more folks said it would never be done, the more determined I was to get ‘er done. And so I did.  When me and the She moved into our new house with our beautiful baby girl, only one room contained drywall in the whole house. It’s important to be able to potty in private. I don’t even remember the second room to get drywall. But I do remember the first.


When me and the She moved into our new home, it was a work in progress to say the least.  We lived for a long time in a construction zone.  Love gets ya thru a lot in a construction zone.


Me and the She, we’re classic high school sweet hearts. Hillbilly Boy meets Italian Girl.  We walk the high school halls together..  Holding hands as often as possible, we tell everybody we’re going “steady”. I wanted to go  tell it on the mountain, but the She said we’d just tell it at school instead. That was  alright with me, but I still would have liked to have gone and told it on the mountain. That telling it on the mountain part, it’s a hillbilly thing.  We’re just high school sweet hearts, me and the She.  High School Sweet Hearts that life worked out well for us.


Met the She for the first time in the Gable Theater in North Judson. It was a Sunday evening, and the She was with a neighbor girl whom I had gone to school with at the California Township Elementary School. Me, well, I’d walked from Toto to North Judson to go to the movies with the Toto boys.  We walked on the New York Central Railroad. It was the closest route to town from Toto.


Don’t remember how I ended up sitting next to the She, I only know when the light reflecting from the movie screen illuminated the face of the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in my whole life, I fell in love. The She smiled at me. And it was at that point I fell madly in love with Miss Regina Griffo, destined to become the only She of my life. I was fifteen, only fifteen, and I loved her so.  At that very same minute the She didn’t quite share my excitement for our new found relationship. In fact, I don’t even think the She knew about  our new found relationship. But she would in the future, I’d see to that. And so I did. Seems like only yesterday, when me and the She were at the Gable Theater. And the She smiled at me. Then life’s great adventure began.


 Love gets ya thru a lot.


Stay safe in Afghanistan.


From the EastWing,  Happy,  Happy Days, EastWing Boy Toys, Red Oak Floors & Cornerstones, Naysayers & Speakers of Doom, Me & The She & the Gable Theater.

I wish you well,