You are going to call on two beings. First, you are going to pray to God to help you through the waters or the destruction the departed waters have left behind. Then you are going to call your insurance agent.
Mr. Heaney had carried a homeowner’s policy. I don’t remember for certain what company it was, I think it might have been State Farm, but maybe it was Allstate. Doesn’t matter anymore. An adjuster came around and finally they gave an offer on the damages. It wasn’t a lot.
We had another choice to make and not a lot of time for deep pondering. Our lease was expiring on the Congress Avenue rental at the end of June. We had a month to make the ruined Cobbs Street home livable. The decision was as to quality. We could do the basic bargain basement repairs the insurance settlement would cover or we could go to a better upgrade.
We had lived mostly in apartments since we gave up the Cape Cod in Malvern. Lois wanted a real home we could call our own. She was comfortable here in this neighborhood. She had grown up on the street, knew a number of people and had relatives living on the same block. She had not been happy anywhere else we had lived, including the General Warren Village home. I was never particular about where we had a roof over our head and had not understood why she always found something offensive everywhere. After all, some of the places were very nice. Her problems stemmed from her Bipolar, but neither of us knew she had such a thing yet.
We talked about our situation and in the end decided we were going to live here on Cobbs Street for well into the future. We opted to go for good quality repairs and replacements. This meant we would be spending quite a bit above the insurance payout. It meant for the first time since leaving Malvern we would be in debt.
Lois and I got a JC Penney’s card in the 1970s in order to purchase a VHS Player-Recorder.
I think the purchase was about $400 and we kept our use of the card small. When I began working at Wilmington Trust I received a MasterCard as part of the benefit package. It had a $5,000 limit. UT oh, plastic temptation in the wallet. Still, we did well at resisting using it even though we now faced lingering medical bills from Lois’ last pregnancy, young children to provide for and my recent unemployment. And now we had to take out a mortgage to rebuild the Cobbs Street house to our standard of quality. We were entering a world of debt that we would never really escape.
Bad weather didn’t faze me either. People in Delaware would go to panic mode if an inch fell.
Until Lois uttered those magic words, “I think I’m pregnant.”