On our ride over Rachael and I discussed the approximate location of the house and tossed around the idea of knocking on the door when we arrived. Although we were both hesitant to do so, I ultimately convinced Rachael to let me make the most of the experience by seeing if I could talk to the owner. By the time we came to an agreement on the matter we had already arrived to the neighborhood in which the home was located. With a little direction from Rachael, I turned onto a quiet blacktop road off of University Avenue and began searching for the house. We weaved up and down several city streets searching for the home, until we came upon it much by accident.
A smile crossed my face as I craned my neck to follow the house through the driver's side window and slowly pulled my car over to the curb. "This is so cool!" I said with excitement, placing the car in park and grabbing my camera. "Should I come with you?" Rachael asked, still uncertain about knocking on the door. I confirmed she should before we both exited the vehicle and crossed the street to the driveway of the "Hobbit House." Without delay, I walked up to the door and stretched out my arm to ring the doorbell. "What if they're eating dinner?" Rachael said in a state of hesitation as my finger struck the doorbell. "It will be OK. I'll just apologize and we can go home."
|The front of the house|
Eventually, the woman exited the front door to escape the sound of a ringing phone and happily responded to my questions about the greenery lining the roof. She explained the various types of plant life that covered the surface since she acquired the home and gave us a breakdown of her plans to replant the rooftop as a result of the drought of 2012. The woman's kindness and willingness to discuss the house with us was apparent as Rachael and I listened on, engaged by her every word. After providing some more background on her plans, the woman invited us to her backyard to see an example of the gardening work she intended to do on the roof this summer. I agreed with an obvious level of enthusiasm before Rachael and I made out way to the backyard to hear more about the home.
|The side view|
|The backyard... the lowest levels of the house go deeper into the ground|
I thanked Mary Lee for her hospitality and her openness to the idea of entertaining two random people that came knocking on her door. Explaining her love for the home, Mary Lee stated she was happy to spend the time giving us some history on her unique residence. Sensing our conversation was coming to an end, I asked Mary Lee if I could take some pictures of the home's exterior. Without hesitating Mary Lee said, "Oh, of course!" before offering to let us see the interior of the house when I was finished. I happily accepted the invitation, letting Mary Lee know I would only take a few minutes. She nodded her head and advised me she would meet us at the front door when I was finished.
|The Hobbit House LFL|
Smiling, I expressed my gratitude for Mary Lee's time and hospitality as Rachael and I made our way to the front door. Still heartened by the experience, we thanked her once more as we exited to the front walk. Mary Lee said goodbye as she slowly closed the front door. Taking a few more glances at the house, we walked to the car and got in to start our ride home.
Today's "I have never..." experience was unexpected in many ways. While I knew I would see a "Hobbit House" for the first time, I never expected to meet such a welcoming, kind person in my effort to learn more about the house. It is obvious Mary Lee cares very deeply about her home and is more than willing to entertain the curiosities of those who share an interest in the unique piece of architecture. Anyone willing to take time our of her night to talk to complete strangers that randomly appeared at her front door is a special person that deserves recognition. While I don't know if Mary Lee will read this, I want to thank her again for the insight, history, and kindness she showed us tonight. She made an otherwise semi-ordinary experience into one that will be hard to forget.