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Recollections of

Linda Austin

Member, former Board Secretary and

former Board Member

Mom died Friday Jan. 13, 2006, and my 33-year marriage ended. It turned out that dad had been quietly terrified at the prospect of living life alone as he had never done so. For him my moving in (with cat) was a godsend. The transition for him was smooth. I was so flattened it took about six months and a lot of antidepressants to begin recovery. One of my greatest supports was UKV.


Ron’s music. I think I cried every Sunday for months. I believe I joined that January. Later when I heard the board was looking for people I volunteered. Sharon Mullins told me I had to wait a year. I joined the board the same year as Matt Schwartz. He became President and I became Secretary.


At some point enlarging the church became a focal topic. The tiny house next to the church came up for sale. The was with the “enlarge the existing building or maybe add a section to incorporate the small house” camp. This was before personally experiencing how pricey even home renovation projects are-and how much work. Also, the neighborhood really didn’t like us.


So, we started looking at buying existing church buildings. Depressing.


Then Matt heard about the church on Myrtle Rd. The entire board and Sky met on the parking lot and entered. We were almost knocked down by the wave of musty mildewy air. It was dusty, dark, and dank. It was worse in the sanctuary because the carpeting, pew cushions and plush curtains in the front had been permeated with the air for decades.


I have the following memory which may, or may not, be true. As we walked down the center aisle toward the front, I heard Sky say, “I can’t do this”. Sharon Mullins had already been driven out by the mold. But Sky was also transfixed by enormous cross suspended over a table in the front enclosure. A younger, lighter and nimbler member hopped up on the table, reached up for the cross which was surprisingly light (just like all those Baptist hymns sang), lifted it down, turned to Sky and said “how is it now”?


Well, it was better. We bought it. I signed my signature on the way scary documents thinking “What am I doing”?


The first order of cleanup was the mold/mildew issue. All of the cushions, curtains and carpets were torn out revealing creative flooring choices in the sanctuary. (Including a ping pong tabletop used to repair a rectangular section.) The molded portions of the drywall in the basement were sawed off and removed. Bleach was liberally sprayed. There was a high-tech ion blaster in the kitchen left overnight. I started out with the group focused on the kitchen for which Sharon donated a slug of money. First, as was true of every room in the building, it had to be emptied. We donated to Restore umpteen sets of coffee cups, plates, three punch bowls with cups, pots, pans, plastic containers and more. The floors and cabinets were cracked and falling apart. They were replaced. I remember standing on the center counter to paint the ceiling.


Someone else took ownership of the large activity room and bathrooms so I moved upstairs. Gerie Ann had selected colors, so I helped with the paint even for the living room. The sanctuary was large construction. Dad came over to help with some rewiring and painting in the hallway. Peggy and I cleaned out the back room which used to be the minister’s office. The desk was full of files on local sex offenders. Karen Sylvester and I painted the blue room in the back. Peggy learned how to cut and lay tile in the bathroom.


I have a clear memory of: 1. Ringing the bell for the first time; 2.Turning on the oven for the first time and baking a batch of muffins; 3. Painting upstairs, and 4. Working out in the driving snow. It feels like we cleaned and painted the whole winter. Someone donated the use of their dump truck to haul away all the debris.


We reconfigured the pews and carried the extras downstairs. I’m not sure how we finally got rid of them as well as the three extra podiums. There’s not a huge market for old church furnishings. That busy and productive winter helped me personally to safe ground.

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