This story took place over 60 some years ago. It all began on a regular day when I was still single and living with my parents and siblings. We had just finished supper when someone knocked on the front door. When I opened it, there stood two young high school girls. Their names were Bev and Reg. They asked me if I would like to come to their church and sing in their choir. (When I had lived in Delaware, I had attended the Presbyterian church and sang in their choir for about eight years.)
So, I walked on down the street to the Methodist church and went in and ended up singing in their choir. That’s where I met my husband, George, in 1957. By November of 1958, we had gotten engaged and had set a wedding date for January of 1959. (That was the first time both of us could have a two-week vacation from our jobs, so we could have a honeymoon.) As soon as everyone in church knew about our engagement, one of the older couples met us at the door after the service and wanted to talk to us. The first thing they said was, “Now that you are engaged, you will be needing a house for when you get married, and we want you to buy our house.” What? They want us to buy their house? Buy a house already? How could we ever do that?
When I went back to work the next day at the Delaware County Recorder’s Office, a man named Mr. Black, who handled the filings for the Sunbury Savings and Loan, came in our office to file their new transactions of property. After I had taken care of everything he needed done, I casually mentioned that I had a chance to buy a house. And I laughed at the idea. I wasn’t even married yet, and he wanting to talk to us about it at his bank. One thing led to another and the next week we found ourselves going back to said bank. This time the potential seller went with us. We had an appointment with Mr. Black and another bank official. George and I had the perfect schedule for the transaction. We were to give them the selling price, which was $7,000., at this closing, and then they could have their new house finished and move out by Feb. 1, 1959.
And then we could move into our home, which had three rooms downstairs and three bedrooms and a bath upstairs with a front porch and an extra room for laundry and storage since we had no attic or basement. And there was a single-car garage off to the side of the property. There were nine large trees, with room for swing sets, a picnic table and a sand box.
And just as we were to sign the mortgage for said property, we discussed the fact that George was four months short of being 21 and that meant that he could not sign a real estate mortgage. That little fact stopped us in our tracks of getting to buy the house before we got married. But, since I was 21, Mr. Black suggested that I buy the property as a single woman, and it would be put in my maidan name at that time. If we had been married, we couldn’t have bought the house, but since I was a single woman, I was able to put the house and mortgage in my name alone. So, when we left the bank and got our papers filed at the Recorder’s Office, it was ours, but only in my name. What a surprise ending to getting the house that we lived in for the next 60 years. November 14, 1958, I was a single woman who owned a house.
As I am writing this article, our older daughter has come home from Florida because it’s George’s birthday. He is now 85.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.