The group of people were standing in the street, in front of an old house, pointing and talking. As I had suspected, they were family members visiting the memories of their childhoods. Their daddy had built the house with a hammer and nails, board by board. Much like a farmhouse with a porch, with a garage and a garden and a thousand chores, just no farm.
My father did not build my childhood home. Nor did my grandfather. The only clue I have about who swung the hammer were some words written on the roof rafters which I discovered by creeping into the attic as a boy. It read: please remember us, we who built your home.
The houses that surround us, if they were not put there by developers, can feel as natural as the environment itself. They are often nonspecific and aspire for little. Their authors are anonymous and might not have thought about the multiple families who'd overtake them and remodel them or return them to their original period.
We inherit the job of tuckpointing the old chimney more than we pioneer the frontier and invent a new building material. Shapes of postwar housing built by strangers, split-levels and duplexes.