High enjoys easy living in smaller Greensboro home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

It may not seem like progress to most people to move from a large 11-room home to a small one bedroom, one bathroom trailer-shaped house, but for Eloise High it was.

High’s grandfather built the house she used to call home more than 100 years ago on Wabash Street in Greensboro.

It had tall ceilings, grand-scale furniture and plenty of memories for High who was born and raised in the original home.

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However, there came a moment when both her grandparents and parents had to pass on and High was left with the extra-large home to herself and her family.

After living in the home for years, a diabetic High fell terribly ill with breast cancer and could no longer take care of such a big home by her lonesome.

“The old house was over 100 years old and it had these high ceilings, but when I got sick, I couldn’t climb up there to change the lightbulbs or do anything,” High said. “It needed so many repairs too. The roof was leaky, the flooring was getting bad and the electrical wiring kept causing fires.”

Therefore, when she was introduced to the students at Auburn’s Rural Studio, High hoped they could just update, rewire and remodel the barely standing structure. Unfortunately, they couldn’t. Upon inspecting the home, the students found so many problems in the home, they decided it would be better to just tear it, and much of its contents, down and start from scratch.

“I cried so many tears when they told me they would have to tear it down,” High said. “I didn’t have anyone to help me move the big stuff but I was able to save a table, a small cabinet and some of the dishes.”

Therefore, not only did High lose her home, but she lost may of her family’s valued possessions and her memories as she watched her home be destroyed.

It took four months for High’s new home to be completed, but she was finally able to move in and start a new beginning in the spring of 2006.

“It’s a big change because it’s so much smaller,” High said. “But it’s much more manageable.”

High now lives in the one bedroom home with her two grandsons, Demetrius and Kami. She hopes to one day be able to add on to the home, but doesn’t have the funding to do so.

“I was at home in the old house and when they tore it down I didn’t feel the same,” she said, “but it feels like I am back at home to me now.”

CAPTION: Eloise High speaks to Chicago residents Doug and Christine Garofalo. Doug, an architect used to teach with Auburn Rural Studios, and his wife came back for the Rural Studios tour in May.