Please Leave a Comment Below…

There’s something known as “second-year grief” and experts suspect it’s occasioned by the fact that in the first year following a sudden and traumatic death, the mind is in shock. By the second year, the protective layer of shock is mostly gone, and what’s left is the ugly, raw reality.

I’m not sure what the issue is, but despite a rigorous daily exercise routine, healthy eating, gratitude lists, daily “to do” lists, and other good habits, I’m struggling to keep my head above the massive waves of despair, regret and hopelessness that keep washing over me.

Every morning, one of the first things I do is to check this website for new comments. When someone leaves a comment, it’s a lovely reminder that I am still alive, and that someone somewhere is still thinking about me. And when someone says that they’re praying for me, that lifts my spirits more than I can easily express.

I return to the “well-commented” blogs (especially the recent ones) and read through every word of every comment again and again.

So if you’re one of the 1,500+ daily readers at this blog, I’d be ever so grateful if you’d take a moment and please leave a comment below.

Thank you so very much.

Read through some of my favorite comments here.

Interested in learning more about Penniman? Click here.


When I drove to New Martinsville, WV last week, my Garmin took me through Ohio (and why, I do not know). Whilst there, I saw this perfect Avondale in Matamora (on Grandview Street) and snapped a picture.

When I drove to New Martinsville, WV last week, my Garmin took me through Ohio (and why, I do not know). Whilst there, I saw this perfect Avondale in Matamora (on Grandview Street) and snapped a picture.


Heres an Avondale, from the 1919 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Here's an Avondale, from the 1919 Sears Modern Homes catalog.


Every comment is so precious to me. This comment made me laugh out loud and also touched me to tears.

Every comment is so precious to me, and I cherish every word and the love behind the words. This comment made me laugh out loud and also touched me to tears. And I do love that song.


To read the full blog that Susan is referencing, click here.

Read through some of my favorite comments here.

Interested in learning more about Penniman? Click here.



  1. Milton Crum

    Even though things have been rough, you are getting better and you are much better now than you were a year ago at this time.

    Do you remember where we were this time last year?

    We knew that this would be a long process but it is moving in a positive direction, so just keep up the good work.

    We will look back on this year as the year of the stuffed horses, and laugh about it, when we get really old!

  2. bfish

    The place name Matamora rings a bell from a long-ago car trip (late 1980s). My recollection is that this town had a very elaborate Victorian-era courthouse — brick, maybe yellow brick, in my cloudy mind’s eye.

    Can one express concern and caring without it being called praying for another?

    Do you or other readers know of other kit homes (from Sears or any of the other companies) that have a similar layout to the Avondale?

    We used to own a c. 1914 bungalow of similar size and configuration, but not quite close enough for me to theorize that it might be this model, modified. Thanks!

  3. Glen D. Lorah

    Very nice Avondale. It appears that someone enclosed the back porch similar to what they did on the Hawthorne that I live in.

    Prayers for you, Rosemary.

    I love your research.


  4. Paula Dempsey

    Rosemary, it just takes time. That is something I never would have believed a few years ago.

    A similar situation happened to me with a much loved and respected relative. I imagined his thoughts and his feelings until I was a mess.

    Then it became easier for me to imagine all his funny sayings…the silly things he did…I imagined the man instead of the sad being that he became.

    Now I think of him and smile but I do say to myself, oh if he had only let someone know what was wrong and if he had only told me, but he did not. Time will help you. It did me. There is nothing to be done but live your life and be happy.

    I am hoping that you do something for yourself everyday. That means besides the Sears homes. Do something to make you feel beautiful and special, because dear Rosemary, you are beautiful and special.

    I have read your blog for years and never ever commented.

    You have touched my heart and I will be a frequent commenter from now on. God holds you in his arms. Prayers for you.

  5. Dale Wolicki

    I think of you every day!

    You are one of the great joys in my life.

  6. Gemma

    Second-year grief. So that’s what’s going on.

    Thanks for the heads-up. While hubby was returning from a business trip last night, I decided to treat myself, and looked up my old Emergency fanfiction — the PSI Stoker Novellas.

    My college roommate was able to pick up her artist’s brushes after reading them. Her fiancé had died in a car wreck 20 years previous. I don’t know what it is about the novellas, but they are helpful while grieving.

    I continue to be amazed by your self-motivation.

    I also appreciate the down-home author that you are. Don’t listen to the critics about how to improve your books.

    I have a tendency to be redundant at times, but I leave them in because that’s the way I write. That’s what makes our works unique.

    Continuing to pray for you — and all suicides and their victims.

  7. Judy Marks

    Rosemary, I think of you often, and your valuable research and writing.

    You are documenting an important part of American Vernacular Architecture, and you really make a difference.

    You are a worldwide known expert and that is so phenomenal.

    I wish I knew you personally.

    I would love to travel to Melbourne Australia with you and look at the bungalows of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney.

    I would love to do a cross country trip with you and make a show for the History Channel.

    I have to satisfy myself with your public persona, and offer comfort to you – knowing what you have shared with your countless fans.

    I am sending love and hugs and hope that this rough second year leads to a gentle third year, and what stays with you are amazing memories and the love that you shared.

    You are so admired and respected. I feel honored to comment here.

    Judy Marks

  8. Susan Schnittger

    Again, I am touched by your words. And it moves me to have been even a small help as you transition through your grief and get on with life.

    Grief is a strange thing. We must all be careful not to squish you with the huggs that we send your way.

    I’ll have to remember that second year grief. You have a great day.

  9. Jenny

    If you ever make another trip to the New Martinsville, I’d love to meet you and take you to lunch as a small thank you for the education and many, many hours of entertainment I’ve gotten from this blog.

    I pray that you find peace and comfort.

  10. Jill Grusak

    If not for you I wouldn’t know what a catslide was.

    Don’t let what that man did crush you, you are still here living and breathing and keeping us educated and entertained.

    Be like Dory and just keep swimming, that’s my motto when things overwhelm.

    That “be like Dory” is actually one of my favorite things to put on a kindness rock.

    Better watch out or my daughter and I will have to send you some.

    Or you could look up the kindness rocks project online and see where they are hiding near you, I hear there are people doing it in Virginia.

    It’s great fun to look for them, or make them and hide them. Relaxing too, kind of zen like knitting.

  11. Betsy

    Thank you for all you do. I have learned so much. I am holding you in my heart.

  12. Rachel J Shoemaker

    The Avondale likely came from another’s design/pattern. There are a couple of patterns out there for it.

    Give me enough time and I’ll figure that one out too, as I have many of the early bungalows from kit home companies. 😉

  13. Sam

    Dear Rosemary,

    You are loved.

  14. Jan


    I want you to know that reading your website is a highlight in my day.

    I learn something new about these houses each time you create a new entry and each time you share information regarding a personal piece of yourself, you become a treasured friend through the power of the internet.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers always.

  15. Cindy C

    Peace be with you, Rose. Ohio is calling you. Follow the call.

  16. Melissa Burgess

    You are often in my thoughts. Just the other day I brought your name up to yet another person interested in kit homes.

    You have taught so much to others and are a delight to be around. I’d love to go house hunting together again.

    And, just a reminder, that we are here for you.

  17. Colleen

    I know little of Sears Homes, but I am interested in them and learning.

    I know a lot about grief; first year, second year, and third year, as I have experienced that first hand with the loss of my own beloved husband.

    All I can say is thank you for the opportunity to join your Sears Homes Facebook page.

    It’s a nice addition to my other old house interests, and that grief is a very, very long journey with many crooked places and thankfully some straight places too.

    Be patient with yourself, as patient as you would be with learning anything else new and very difficult to understand.

  18. Patrick Chefalo


    Sometimes people speak and write of how social media is shallow and distracting.

    Then we learn of the circumstances that bring people to these meeting places and reflect on how wrong the critics can be.

    Your story of the sixteen month struggle was new to me today, and I thank you for asking us for support.

    It is not a burden but a privilege to share in your life’s sorrows.

    We are in your debt for your many services to us: delights to the eyes, food for the brain, and companionship for our journey together.

    Our time to compose feeble comments are a small price to pay.

    You have proven that you are strong, so fear not when we falter! Your contributions here are a point of focus for the many, and only our weakness stems the flow of well wishes.

  19. Julia King


    I am so sorry for your loss. I was thinking it must be like losing an arm, you are still alive but a part of you is missing.

    That is a great love – not everyone gets to experience that kind of love and connection (and then loss).

    I admire you greatly, you are a true historian and have great passion for your life work. I greatly enjoy all your blog posts and feedback to all contributors. I live in an historical 1915 foursquare even if it is not a Sears kit home.

    I treasure the history of these homes like you do. Hang in there – and continue on with your work, praying you will regain your footing after time, new friends and connections, time heals a little, it will always be there, that is the memories, and memories are good.

  20. Mark

    There’s no crime in loving someone. Reasonable actions require reasonable thoughts.

    There may not be answers to the questions you have.

    You have many friends that highly value the person you are. Many of those friends have already shown that here.

    Your hobby has given you many friends that appreciate you and you’ve never met many of them.

    I’m glad to have you as my friend.

    Chin up.

  21. bfish

    @Rachel J Shoemaker
    Thank you very much, Rachel!

    I’ve never been able to find a kit house (or pattern book) bungalow that fits but I still think there’s a good chance the house is one or the other. We no longer own it and I didn’t know what to look for when we did, unfortunately.

    Many thanks to you, Rosemary and others for educating many of us.

    Regarding the house I’ve lived in for the past 30 years — does anyone know of a pattern book version of the Sterling Lawnsette?

  22. Kathryn Bush

    Rosemary–I think of you often, and especially every time I drive past the Bel Aire Pancake House. I am ever so grateful for your kindness and thoughtfulness.

  23. Lisa Whitlock

    Happy to leave a comment. I love to read your blog and learn more about these old houses.

    I know you’ve been in my town and found a few of our Sears homes, I wish I could see the inside of them!

    My sister is going through a very similar situation as you, reading your recent posts have let me in on maybe the feelings she is having, things she hasn’t shared with me.

    I so want you both to get better, somehow. Thinking of you often.

  24. Janet LaMonica

    My dear Rose, you forget how much joy you’re giving people by writing this blog.

    Keep up the good work! As an aside, it’s easy to cross back and forth from West Virginia into Ohio.

    As a proud Ohio native, I must admit, you sent me to the atlas – I’ve never heard of Matamora!

    Love you bunches!

  25. Linda Gilbert

    Hi Rosemary! I have been following your personal journey for several months now from the perspective of a fellow member of the Widows’ Club and I’m encouraged by your progress.

    If you cannot see that progress yourself, I urge you to look in the rear view mirror. You have survived your “Dark Night of the Soul” and nothing can ever hurt you again in that way.

    You didn’t choose the suffering but you have borne it with grace and dignity.

    I share your faith and recommend to you one of my favorite verses…Jeremiah 29:11.

    I will continue to pray for your recovery and your return to a life of peace and contentment.

  26. Karl Guynn

    While looking for houses on Zillow, I came across the rare Glens Falls in Ft. Mitchell, KY. See 201 Iris Rd, Ft. Mitchell, KY 41011.

    Seems it has some history, and was owned by the Van Winkle family of Bourbon fame and even has a hidden bar area off the rear family room addition.

    From the pictures, looks to be in perfect condition. See the link in the website.

  27. Jodi

    Every day I wake up, I check your website with hope that you have posted something new.

    I have learned so much from you and have started passing that knowledge down to my 10-year-old daughter so that she can continue to locate and advocate for old homes (especially our beloved Sears homes) long after we are gone.

    Thank you so much for continuing to update your site because your stories, road trips, and photos truly bring joy into my world.

  28. Sears Homes

    That is a glorious house! What a fine old beauty! And I love the hidden door to the wet bar. However, that house is way too fine and way too big to be a Sears Glen Falls.

    Nonetheless, it sure does look like it from the outside!

  29. J B.

    I loved this blog back ‘before’ and love it now. And think kindly of you. I am another who has never commented till now; I want to offer a few supportive words.

    I can’t say I know the kind of grief you experience. My best friend died in an accident years ago, so I know a little about grieving sudden death I guess, but it is different for each person and situation.

    May you be blessed with peace of mind. Thank you for sharing your journey and still bringing us the content that’s here. That’s something worth while for which you are appreciated.

  30. Justin Paris


    I have always been interested in Sears Homes, ever since my grandpa pointed out a Sears Crescent in my town (Hobart, IN).

    Since then, I’ve found what appear to be at least 2 or 3 other Crescents in Hobart. I also suspect that there are several other existing Sears and other kit homes in Hobart.

    Very recently, I discovered your blog.

    It is interesting and enjoyable to read, not to mention thoroughly researched. It actually got me wondering about my own house. The original portion was built in 1924, and I found a letter-number combo (“C103”) stamped on a wooden beam in my basement.

    After I read your article on identifying Sears homes, I looked around the basement some more. I found more such stamps in the basement. I also found name and a number (“7041”) scribbled in grease pencil underneath the stairway leading to the basement.

    Based on that and what I know of the original layout of the house, I believe I live in a (HEAVILY) modified Sears Rodessa home. I could send you pictures, if you are interested.

    Finally, I take it that you suffered a loss in the recent past. Please accept my condolences.

  31. Eddie Browder

    Rosemary, just your name makes me smile as I remember that crisp, distinct aroma from one of my favorite herbs.

    But more importantly, I am sorry to hear of your grief.

    Yes, I will definitely be praying for you. I will also be needing your help over the next 10 months as we do some investigating into the Kit Homes of Melbourne, Florida.

    Remember those 3 (originally 4) Gordon Van Tines in a row on Palmetto??? More to come…

  32. Jen

    Rosemary, of course we are here, waiting for you, too, patient and understanding (as little as we can, but still) and praying for your comfort, strength, well-being, and safety.

    I do not know there is much else I can offer in sympathy or comfort, but my very best friend passed through the veil three months ago today, very unexpectedly and very suddenly (albeit in her sleep, thank God, for her sake) and even a small word of encouragement or being asked how I am doing means so very much.

    For what it is worth, seeing you writing and working away and sharing newly found Sears homes makes me so happy, it really does! I suppose it is a sign that you are rolling with the awful, unimaginable punch you suffered, that you are getting back onto your feet again, bit by bit.

    And that is a marvelous thing, encouraging in itself! I hope you think about that, too, and that you are encouraged by your own struggling back up despite the reeling sensation you must feel every day.

    You ought to be!

    Maybe it’s the days where we most feel we absolutely cannot go on without our lost loved ones we should be most proud of, because we didn’t stay in that awful pit. Somehow, we allowed ourselves to be pulled out of those days despite the pain. You are doing that, and it’s wonderful.

    I do pray a fair bit, and you are often in those prayers.

    Lovely house, by the way.

    May have to pop over to Matamora to peek! They seem to have kept it up well.

    GPS has taken us to some wild, inexplicable places as well. Of course, considering what I do, that’s a perfectly fine thing and usually works out all right.

    We’ve seen some beautiful things and met some interesting people listening to the GPS, that is for sure!

    Despite some of the horrid things folks are capable of doing to each other, I’ve ended up being a bit reassured.

    For instance, the time I just *had* to stop and photograph an abandoned but obviously once-gracious home somewhere between Ohio and West Virginia, and an older fellow in his pickup truck stopped to make sure I was okay, then stayed to chat a bit because it was probably pretty odd to see a gal in a skirt with her coupe parked in the tall grass taking pictures of a falling-down home, and what kind of woman does that?!

    Hubby wasn’t too thrilled by the story, but obviously I suffered no ill (good sense about people helps there), and of course God protected me. And my car’s suspension!

  33. Rachel J Shoemaker

    @Eddie Browder
    I remember that “adventure.”

    I hope someone knew to look at the pile of broken lumber after they destroyed the Gordon Van Tine Model #501 and garage #109 and find the stenciling with the buyer’s name.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that all three of the houses were built by the same person.

    It doesn’t seem like that was four years ago!

  34. KatrinaK

    The idea of second-year grief makes sense to me. I’m sorry that you feel so bad.

    I hope you start digging your way out of the despair soon. I always find your posts to be interesting.

  35. Tiffeni Goesel

    Dear Rosemary, I may have written you a long, long time ago via snail mail when I first discovered your books on Sears houses and the one on the Pacific houses.

    As a teenager in the 1980s I was obsessed with Sears house ( and other kit homes) that wasn’t what teenage girls should have been into. Such is life.

    Fast forward 30 years and many books on kit houses, drawing my favorite floorplans, building scale models from paper, driving around my corner of Tidewater Virginia trying to find some houses among all the colonials and I am still as in love with the houses, just like I was at 15.

    My family is patient with me when I say, “Stop! We just past a Sears house.” Or Aladdin. I do not know what sadness you are going through, but if you ever want to talk old house stuff such as how every house needs a phone niche even though landlines are not popular or that kitchens are way too big ( I always surprise people with that comment), or anything else, just let me know.

    Sometimes a future friend turns up in the oddest of places.

  36. Rhonda LaPointe Frazier

    You know I’ve been cheering you on through all of your struggles. (I think of it as your healing or recovery).

    The other day on one of your posts about a home in foreclosure, as I was sharing my story from 10 yrs ago, I kept thinking, “This is kind of personal. I never post this info on Facebook. Maybe I should send it in an email.”

    And each time I’d remember how you’ve been so open and have exposed so much of your raw self to us, I some how felt ok telling everyone I don’t know about my hard times.

    Sending lots of love to you and Teddy. And all the horses in your corral.

  37. Marjorie Caldwell


    Like another reader wrote, I feel honored to leave a comment.

    I cannot pretend to imagine what you have gone through, but I have had some difficult situations.

    I have wondered how do these things happen, and the struggle to abide and be joyful is overwhelming. Yet, when I am struggling, I can’t forget hope and my faith in God and Jesus Christ. Psalm 139:14 says that I can praise the Lord because I am fearfully and wonderfully made—that I know that and His works are done well.

    I believe He gave you a gift in your ability to do all this research and the eye to discover all the gems that some would just consider a tear down.

    Thank you for persevering in a world that seems to think that anything old is not worth having. Your vigilance to share the knowledge you have received has made a difference. Preserving these gems to me is about honoring craftsmanship and history and a part of what makes our country so great.

    I don’t think I can even put into words the importance of preserving what we do have and honoring those who considered it a joy to work with their hands and build things that are/were so beautiful.

    In a world, that thrives on instant, there needs to be a voice that offers an alternative view point: appreciate the time and hard work it takes to do something and treasure history and beauty and reflect on the sweet moments of a time when doing things the right way and not the easy or fast way was honorable- don’t put away the “old”, but learn from it and honor it.

    Please hold on and do all that God has put in your hands to do.

    Much love, Marjorie

  38. Rick S

    Dear Rosemary,

    I have kept you in my thoughts and prayers these past year + and know how grief changes you.
    My wife and I lost our 18 1/2 year old to suicide in 2009. We are no longer raw but still have our moments of grief. We have learned from others How we should grieve but it is ours to do.

    One thing that helped me right after and now is a writing by Iris Bolton.

    I Don’t Know Why
    By Iris M. Bolton

    I don’t know why…
    I’ll never know why…
    I don’t have to know why…
    I don’t like it…
    I don’t have to like it…

    What I do have to do is make a choice about my living.
    What I do want to do is to accept it and go on living.
    The choice is mine.
    I can go on living, valuing every moment in a way I never did before,
    Or I can be destroyed by it and in turn, destroy others.

    I thought I was immortal, that my children and my family were also,
    That tragedy happened only to others…
    But I know now that life is tenuous and valuable.
    And I choose to go on living, making the most of the time I have,
    Valuing my family and friends in a way I never experienced before.

    That poem makes me want to be in the moment and not miss life’s blessings
    right now.


  39. Sears Homes

    Thanks, Rick.

    It’s true that “suicide is a death unlike any other.”

    It’s impossible to know the agony of that loss until you experience it first hand.

    Today – “in this moment” – I’m struggling to find purpose and even a single beam of joy. Everything feels so dark and oppressive and overwhelming.

    But I tell myself that there’s a chance that tomorrow might be a better day.

    Thanks so much for leaving a comment.

  40. Julie

    Hi Rosemary,

    I prayed for you today, for comfort, peace, and that you would find the perfect house that’s just right for you.

    I see from the comment you just left that today has been difficult. I’m so very sorry.

    You are not forgotten!


  41. Hadley Donohue

    A widow told me that grieving is a two year process and she was talking about widowhood that comes about by natural death.

    Of course you can’t possibly be “over it” after one year.

    Grieving has no time table, don’t let anyone try to put you on a schedule.

  42. Peony

    Browsed in looking for information on the Aladdin “Shadow Lawn” and came across this post. Praying for you.

  43. Sabina Pade

    I know not of what you’ve been through, but I recently found your blog, and I think it is absolutely wonderful!

    Am a big fan, too, of these old kit houses. Oodles of them here in Baltimore where I currently live. In places they’re lined up one next to another almost as if someone had wanted to assemble a multi-catalogue showroom.

    Stay with us. You help us keep in touch with who we are and have been. We need you.

  44. Janetta Schmidt


    This is my house in New Matamoras Ohio. My name is Janetta Schmidt.

    We were on this website looking for original house plans to show someone. By surprise there my house was on the screen. It’s a 1912 Avondale.

    It was built before the flood in 1913. We kept in the inside original hardwood under carpet.

    Four original stain glass windows still present.

  45. Janetta Schmidt

    The place in New Matamoras is my house.

  46. Janetta Schmidt

    It was built in 1912 before the flood in 1913 one brick higher than the flood waters.

    We have all original stain glass windows and original built in cabinets.

    I was amazed to find a picture of my house from last year on here.

  47. Amanda

    The love of my life committed suicide a little over 2 months ago.

    He had broken up with me almost 7 months before that.

    I thought that was the worst day of my life. But we had gotten on friendly terms again, and I was hoping to get back together with him.

    Then he killed himself. Needless to say, I’m completely shattered.

    Besides missing him terribly, a lot of my hopes and dreams died with him. I have so many emotions, including sorrow, guilt, regrets, anger, and feelings of rejection, as well as unanswered questions.

    Suicide truly is “a death like no other.” Best wishes to you on your healing process.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *