What is ‘Natty’; a new kind of ‘funk’?

I have been trying to pull myself out of this writing “funk” (“funk” being the first word that comes to mind) for three weeks. Regrettably it’s been quite a few years since I had to take a story idea and write it up within the hour proofread, corrected and ready to be printed in the newspaper.

I have a degree in journalism and worked for a small weekly newspaper for 22 years. The newspaper was owned and published by my in-laws. I admired them because both of them only had high school education, and yet, they compiled and printed a newspaper each week with professionalism and detailed reporting of local news and meetings.

I met my ex-husband in college who also majored in journalism. Once he received his degree he was going back home to someday take over the newspaper business. I thought with all my heart that we were meant to meet, fall in love, marry and return home to run the newspaper together. Well, that’s a complicated tale that I will delve into at another time.

Three weeks ago I began using WordPress to launch a real, new adventure for me: write a blog. Believe it or not, I’ve had to do some real serious research into the meaning of a blog. After all, it’s the same as a newspaper column, isn’t it, only it’s “printed” on the World Wide Web.” Make no mistake; I am bound and determined to get out this “funk” once and for all.

So imagine my confusion, or surprise, when I read the day’s prompt of “Natty”. Natty; what in the hell is that? Not to be deterred  I looked it up in the dictionary.

Natty: it is an adjective meaning old-fashioned, informal, stylish; smart & elegant. It is more British than American.

I must confess that when I first read this word, I immediately thought of “trashy”, or “ignorant”. Natty means you’re down on your luck?

Well, now I know the definition of “Natty”! It can be a delightful way of describing someone who dresses professionally. It can describe someone who dresses stylishly, yet informally. Natty can be a new way of describing someone, such as “you are a natty dresser!”.

It may also describe someoneCharlie Brown whose writing is stylish and unique. “Carl’s a natty writer”.

I hope I have grasped the true meaning of “natty”.  If not, I certainly tried!

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My journey through the mortgage mess

By Giselle G. Richards

I have often thought to myself, over the past 10 years, that my case is unique, yet troublesome. My case is unique because, not only have I been caught in the middle of the national mortgage crisis, I am henceforth at a point in my life that there may not be any hope for me to finish renovating my home.

You must understand that it is very difficult for me to “open” up about my situation. However, I have come to the conclusion that if I am to be heard, and/or receive help with my mortgage, I must bare my soul and tell all.

In The Beginning…..

I met my husband at college, in 1975, while attending Northeast Louisiana University, Monroe, LA. We both majored in Journalism. He was in Journalism because his parents owned a weekly newspaper in the small town of Colfax, Louisiana.  I was majoring in Journalism because I wanted to become a writer. I  wanted to write novels, and I thought I could get a good start in Journalism.

We immediately hit it off – did homework together, dated — all of it. I fell in love with him, too, and he, in me, I so thought.   I believed I had found my soul mate and that I was meant to get my degree and go to work with Dru and his parents in Colfax at their small weekly newspaper.

Dru graduated a year ahead of me and got a job with a newspaper in Logansport, La. From there he left and went to work at a newspaper in Center, Texas. He was there when we got married in 1978. I did odd jobs for them, and tried some reporting. However, within 3 or 4 months after we were married, Drub’s parents needed us to come home and work at The Chronicle, the newspaper they owned.

We rented a 1960’s style wood frame house for $65 a month from an elderly couple.  Wow!  You didn’t find one like that anywhere else. Of course it had old, wall mounted gas heaters and no air conditioning.

A few months later Dru’s dad, W.D. Sr. (friends and close family called him “Buddy”), considered buying some property across the street from his house that was for sale. It was strictly investment property to him. However, he did offer to let us move into the house sitting on this piece of property for the same amount of rent each month. There was a catch, of course:  the house needed A LOT of work.  At first I was against the move. The house needed a lot of work. It needed to be completely re-wired and all new plumbing installed, among other things.

But what drew me to the house was it still had most of it original doors and windows, it had a raised, front, covered porch, and, most of all, it had a big back yard. It needed a new roof to begin with, among other things, but I slowly warmed up to the house.

Built in 1912 with a hip roof, the house was, originally, the headquarters for the town’s first “telephone exchange office”. This is where switch boards and the high chairs were first used ever in Colfax.   Moreover, some of the original high chairs that the ladies sat in at the switch board were stored in the old shed out back.

The front entry way, or foyer and all the rooms still had the original pine floors; there were fireplaces in each of the rooms; and towards the back, an old bathroom was added in later years, taking in part of the old back porch. The floor was not level, and the small wooded window would not open.  The style of the house appeared to be “L” shaped, but with easily opening front and back doors to allow a cool spring breeze to blow through.

The ceilings were at least eight feet high. The rooms didn’t seem to have any specific designation, except for the kitchen and bathroom. It could easily have been a 4-bedroom house, but then it wouldn’t have a living room and dining room.

We worked hard to fix up this house, with help, of course. Dru had a younger brother, Kenny, a tremendous help. By the time he was 13 years old, Kenny had become the family’s unofficial electrician, plumber, contractor and engineer. So, with Kenny and Mr. W.D., – and sometimes Dru’s mother, Helen, we stripped and varnished the floors, installed sheet rock in all the rooms, ran all new electrical wiring, outlets and switches, installed all new plumbing using PVC pipe, and painted all the rooms. Helen bought and installed the curtains for all the windows.

Eventually Dru and I decided to buy the house. We were going to  borrow the money in order to finish all the renovations we had planned. We wanted to host our parties and family gatherings, and of course, raise the children we would eventually have.

(to be continued)