Boy, how things have changed!
The photo below is me - taken during the last hurray before summer vacation ended. I am 4 1/2 years old and getting ready for kindergarten. We used to go to Shady Side, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay, every year. My favorite thing was the boating. I had my own boat. I would get up early and go boating before the adults got up. I remember it vividly. In this photo the water is probably shallow enough for me to wade in. But I remember going so far out I would get yelled at, from the shore, 100 yards away. I thought that was funny. Sometimes I would jump out and swim to shore. It got me punished. Look carefully at the picture! By the way, that is my 18 month-old brother on the beach. Things have changed...
If this photo had been taken last September, here is what you would see:
The difference 50 years makes -- today you would see county-employed Nazis on the shore watching to see that all local safety codes are met, not one of them related to the family. I would have my own brightly colored, fitted life vest, goggles, ear plugs to prevent infection, and beach boots to keep from stepping on rocks or crabs. At least one adult would be riding with me in a city-inspected and stickered boat (similarly clad with safety gear), with a cell phone to call in case of emergency, and GPS finder to prevent from getting lost. We both would be wearing UVA and UVB-ray preventing sun glasses, and thoroughly drenched in SPF-50 skin cream. The adult would be wearing a digital, chronometer watch with timers to make sure no one is out in the sun too long (cancer you know...). The adult would be paddling to prevent me from getting tired. A city-required weekly chemical water analysis report would be tacked on a nearby tree so the local safety Nazis could see that all local safety codes are met. And the city would demand that at least two local safety-code Nazis, disguised as vacationers, were assigned to watch us, for later court testimony if need be. Three different 55 gallon drums would be on the shore, each color-coded and labeled "paper," "plastic," and "glass" for recycling purposes. All activities would be documented on digital cameras and video tape, transcribed to Cd's to be sent around to the rest of the family and on Christmas cards entitled, "Our Summer Vacation." I am only 4 1/2 years old, so I cannot swim. After wards, I would come inside, out of the sun, have an anti-bacterial bath, and eat a fat-free, chemical-free, low-carb or sugar-free lunch along with a healthy drink prepared in a juicer. Then, after lunch, it is off to nap and then video games or TV so I wouldn't have to use my imagination at play. Had the above picture been taken, all adults present would be in prison for child neglect and abuse. And it would be in color.
If a home inspection was conducted in 1957, all of the following would be counted as normal or OK:
- Asbestos roofing, siding, flooring, insulation, furnace wrapping, and pipe wrapping.
- Lead in the paint, window glazing, plumbing, plumbing solder and water.
- Radiator water mixed with the house drinking water.
- Formaldehyde carpeting.
- Radon - unknown - OK.
- Normally moldy, damp basement.
- Extremely inefficient appliances.
- Attic insulation 2" deep.
- 4' high aluminum above-ground pool with no fence.
- Completely enclosed, small furnace room.
- Smoke or carbon monoxide detectors? Not!
- Extension cords with 18 things plugged into them.
- 60-amp fuse box.
- Many fuses with pennies behind them (the inspector would never have found them...).
- Kitchen fan exhausting into the attic.
- No bath vent fan.
- Ungrounded receptacles painted 7 times.
- Paint over two layers of wall paper.
- Single-pane windows.
- One bathroom, 5'x6'.
- Severe air infiltration through the front door mail slot.
- 3' wide master bedroom closet.
- Rickety kitchen door stairs.
- Rickety basement stairs.
- No handrail on the basement stairs.
- 5' clearance over the basement stairs.
- No light switch until the bottom of the basement stairs.
- Ungrounded roof antenna.
- Uncovered well 30' deep.
- Basement bedroom, no window.
- Fireplace with no glass doors and maybe no damper.
- A brick or wood pile beside the house.
- Doberman running free through the neighborhood.
- Photos of naked children all over the living room walls.
What a difference 50 years makes!!
That's me, getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner, 1953.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560