Chapter 34: Our House in Enrile

In the last chapter, I told you a few things about our house in Enrile. However, you need to know what it was like inside, not just on the outside. When we first moved to Enrile, there were two bedrooms downstairs. This was the home of Tia Longhina Luna and Felipe Abbariao, each of whom had one of the bedrooms. The living room was also downstairs and was shared by all four of us.

Upstairs, there were two walls dividing the space into three distinct rooms, but there were no furnishings. This was to be our apartment, so to speak, so we could fix it up any way we wanted. To reach the upstairs, it was three steps up to the landing, then left, then up eight more steps. This put us into a rather large room which we divided into two parts, a kitchen and dining room. We still had the kerosene refrigerator, because at that time, there was still no electricity in Enrile.

The kitchen was on the northwest corner of the house, with windows on both the west and the north sides, so we had plenty of light. We put a cabinet by the west window which had a three burner tabletop stove and room for pots and pans. If we wanted to bake anything, we had a little oven which fit over one burner. We still needed a cupboard to put our dishes in, plus another for our spices and other essentials. Our next door neighbor, Rufino, was a carpenter, so we had him put cupboards on the walls so we would have adequate cupboard space in the kitchen. In the northwest corner, he put the cupboard for dishes we used every day, and on the south side of the kitchen, he put in a cupboard for spices, tea, cook books, groceries and other such things.

We needed to use water in our kitchen, so we put in a sink. At first, we had to have our water carried upstairs because we didn’t have running water. Later on, we installed a water tower in the backyard. The tower provided the necessary water pressure for us to have running water piped to the sink. Pipes to the bathroom serviced a shower stall and toilet facility. There was a faucet right next to the toilet which allowed us to put water into a bucket beneath it which we used to flush the toilet, which was a water seal toilet. The waste water went through pipes to the cesspool which we also built later. Meanwhile, we had no electricity at first, so we used lamps at night for light. We had one kerosene lantern, which we used mainly for reading.

We had a book case in the dining room with full-length glass
doors so whatever was inside was protected from the dust. In it we put our good Noritake China dishes, Correll dishes, plus our beautiful longstemmed glassware the folks from the church in Lynwood had given to us for our going-away gift before we left the States. On the bottom shelf, we kept photo albums that needed to be protected, too. Remember that Lorrita McKinney had told us to bring our good China and photos so our home would be more like our home in the States. We now planned that this was to be our home for many years to come, so we made it as homey as we could, given the room we had to work with.

Any furniture we brought, we had had made in Aparri, where we knew there was a master craftsman who had made similar furniture for the Selbys. Any new missionaries who came to be with the Bible seminary or mission went to the same place to get their furniture made. We had several pieces made when we lived in Piat, and had more made after we came to live in Enrile. They were made of narra wood, a good, hard, strong wood that was also very beautiful.

There were two other rooms we used as bedrooms. The larger one, off the dining room, became the master bedroom where Chuck and I slept. The second room was for our household helper, and we kept our cleaning equipment in that one, too. We had cabinets made on two walls in that room, for linens, medicines, tools, and large items. In the master bedroom, was the aparador, a tall cabinet or closet that held our clothes and shoes. On one door it had a full-length mirror. The top of the aparador was a wonderful place to store things we seldom used. We had other cabinets built in along the west side of the room except where the aparador was. Then there was another built-in cabinet that went from the floor to the ceiling where we hung jackets and clothing, and we filed papers in a box on the floor.

This gave us plenty of room for a good queen-sized bed plus three chests of drawers and a rattan book case. We eventually put our typewriter on the outside wall. At first, we slept on two sleeping bags on two air mattresses, as our bed. This arrangement did fairly well for us until we decided we would live there as our regular home. At that point, we went to Manila and purchased the nicest, best queen-size mattress we could. We felt it was an extravagance to have such luxury, but as Harry and Lily Schaefer, veteran missionaries to India and Africa, told us, if we wanted to spend our time serving the Lord as missionaries, we should get the best mattress we could so we would have the best rest possible.

While we were moving in, we were also in the process of looking for a permanent place, something we could buy through the Aparri Mission. The specific place we had in mind was just right for us, but the issues involved in getting permission to buy it were basically insurmountable. The fact that we loved the new apartment we were moving into made it easy for us to decide very quickly that this was the place we wanted to stay while we were in Enrile.

Still, with all our new luxuries, it wasn’t quite enough to make the house comfortable for us to do our translation work. We considered our options, and decided that the best way to make our present home adequate for our needs would be to build an addition onto the front of the house.

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