July 17, 2010

Living In A Hole In The Ground

Our excessive consumption and sense of entitlement these days makes me wonder if I am even on the same planet I was born on. It was with a sense of curiosity, then, that I read here of a family in Colorado that lived in a hole in the ground.

It reminded me of the Monty Python skit where a group of old men are reminiscing about their childhood poverty - "A hole in the ground? Luxury! We used to dream of living in a hole in the ground. We lived in a cardboard box in the middle of the freeway... all five of us." Except that the Colorado family really did live in a hole in the ground.

The unusual basement house was built in Colorado Springs in 1947 by Raymond Baskett. He intended on building the main floor of the house when the family could afford it. They never did get around to it. Mr. Baskett's wife lived in the house for 50 years until her death in 2002. The hole in the ground house is still being used, and is still in the Baskett family.

Mr. and Mrs. Baskett raised two children in this unconventional house that for a time had no indoor bathroom. The kitchen sink drained into a bucket. The family raised chickens and rabbits for food. But rather than memories of hardship, the children, Marvin and Esther, remember the simple underground abode with fondness. "We have nothing but good memories," they remarked.

Wow. That is a far cry from McMansions with marble counter tops, industrial kitchens and triple garages. Which makes me wonder - why build the whole house when just the basement will do? Why buy a car when a bike will do? Why buy anything that does not make us truly happy? Who are we trying to impress? Certainly not the Baskett family.

How many people today could live happily in a hole in the ground?

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