I love my aunt's and uncle's place for a couple of reasons. Number one, it's where my family (my mom, brother, sister, and I) lived during the year of 1969, while my dad was serving a year in Vietnam.
We actually lived next door to this house, as it was just being built, in a two-story house -- our family upstairs, with Uncle Frank and Aunt Annette in the basement, which had been converted into a self-sufficient apartment.
"Breezy Lake," in our back yard, provided year-round fun -- water activities in the summer, and ice-skating in the winter.
And number two, next door, my Uncle was building -- by hand every day -- the house you see in the pictures below. He chipped and laid every stone you see in this house with a chisel, so that they fit together like puzzle pieces. He didn't fill the place between the stones with mortar to connect the stones, he cut them so that there were only lines between the stones, like the grout between floor tiles.
This is the back of the house, which faces "Breezy Lake," seen later in the sequence of pictures.
You can appreciate it more in the detail of this fountain, which is the highlight of the back yard.
Here is the view I had out of my bedroom window in the morning. The fountain in the previous picture would be off to the left of where this picture ends. That's Breezy Lake in the background.
I stepped outside to capture this serene Breezy Lake on Father's Day morning. This is their back yard.
This duck, Brownie, is between 25 and 30 years old, and has been on the property since its birth.
Here's me with Aunt Annette.
And with Uncle Frank.
Here's a picture of Uncle Frank with his son Frank (the one with the gay son), and Aunt Annette.
My uncle is a genius with stone. Here are some interior shots, of the downstairs. He cut, and laid, all of the stone you see in these pictures. Here's the bar. There's an opening, in the very center of the picture, you can only really see half of it, because it starts below the bar -- it leads to the underground wine cellar.
And into the wine cellar a bit.
This is the game room, which consists of a card table and a billiards table.
The stone around this hallway entrance is green-veined marble. Aunt Annette wanted it, and when Uncle Frank went to buy it, The Rockefellers (yeah, those ones in New York) had bought up all of the local supply, and he was unable to buy any.
Coincidentally, a relative of his was doing a fireplace in that stone, and had already bought a supply of it. He volunteered to stone the fireplace for her if she'd give him the left over marble. That's what's bordering this hallway entrance. The bedroom in the background is the guest room, where I slept. Off the right side of the hallway is the downstairs guest bathroom detailed in the final picture.
And, finally, here is a picture of the downstairs guest bathroom. We always called this room "the confessional."