For a certain group of Islanders, describing our house as “Brigadier Reid’s house” is sufficient. Brigadier Reid, his wife Eunice, and their children lived at 100 Prince St. for many years before us.
While we know bits and pieces of the Reid family’s history, most of our experience of them is through the bits of pieces of their life that remain in the house. Brig. Reid, for example, was very much involved in the Scouting movement, and you can see evidence of this in the many whistles that are hidden behind closet doors and in the very far back of drawers.
The only structural downside of our house is that its roof is very prone to generating icicles: two of the last three years we’ve had severe ice problems, the first time around enough to cause water to stream down the inside walls of the house.
Some of this is simply due to the nature and age of the house, the rest of it is oure own fault for not cleaning out the gutters in the fall.
Again this fall we procrastinated (see note below about our tendency in this regard), and neglected to get to this. Yesterday, however, was a Good Fine Day: warm enough to work without gloves, and not a spot of snow to be seen.
So Catherine put Oliver up for his nap, and we headed out to the back yard to get the wooden ladder that the Reid’s had helpfully left for us.
When we placed the ladder on the back side of the house and climbed up to gutter height, we were dismayed to find that it just didn’t reach quite far enough — we needed about four feet more to reach as high as we needed to go.
Reconciled to going gutter-full for another winter, I suddenly recalled that there was a twin of the ladder in the basement. Catherine scrambled down to bring it up, and, sure enough, we found that it was more a siamese twin: it was part two of an extension ladder, part one of which we had up the side of the house.
After some rearranging, slotting and sliding, we had the two ladders married, and had all the height we needed to clean the gutters and more.
And so, two hours later, we were the happy owners of a house with a spotless, free-running set of rear gutters (we’re hoping for another balmy day soon to do the front).
Eunice Reid died this fall, and we were out of town for the wake, so didn’t get a chance to pay our respects. To the Reid family: thank you for providing us with a wonderful house. And to Brig. Reid, thanks for the gift of an extension ladder.