Welcome! The Side of the House is a place to sit quietly and talk with people of good will about things that matter most.
No, The Side of the House is not merely a mythical place. It is an actual a physical location where you can sit with us when the weather is good and look at this view of our neighbor’s house. As an amusement, we even made it possible to check-in here on social media. So what’s the big deal about The Side of the House?
Well, like so many things, its splendor comes hidden in the ordinary. It’s a simple place consisting of some folding chairs, a table and a bench. It is the place where the seven members of the Kloska Family on St. Peter Street often convene to sit and talk. Or eat. Or scroll through their personal electronic devices while sitting in close proximity to each other. But mostly sit and talk.
You don’t have to drink scotch to sit here but I prefer to do so. It’s good if you like dogs because we have two of them. Our lab-retriever mix, Rover, literally wandered into our lives in this location. He just walked walked through the gate one evening in May and decided that we would be his family. Brutus, our German Shepherd, is a relative newcomer but he has already “marked” this location many times as his territory.
My favorite time to be on the Side of the House is at night. At night, it’s easier to hear all the sounds. I love the early summer before the crickets and cicadas get too loud, but there is also something wondrous about listening to them. It’s very peaceful to hear the bells tolling from Holy Cross College. Occasionally we’ll catch them from Sacred Heart Basilica at the University of Notre Dame too. Just depends upon the wind. One thing everyone seems to enjoy is to sit here on autumn evenings and listen to the Notre Dame Marching Band practice. But perhaps my favorite sound of all is the enchanting, almost mystical, late night sound of trains in the distance, a sound I commonly heard as a young man growing up in Elkhart, Indiana, six miles from a major rail yard switching station.
The Side of the House has been a “place” for 100 years. It is located on land once owned by Fr. Sorin. He used the other part of the land given to him by the bishop of Vincennes, Indiana to start a university. The locally eminent Cressy Family built our home as a do-it-yourself project at night and on weekends from 1914-1917. They sold it to the Ruetz Family whose ownership spanned from 1930-1980. Mrs. Ruetz used to feed the hobos through the kitchen window. The Kloska’s have been sitting out here since the early 2000s.
Hopefully someday you can come and visit in person. But until then, welcome to the virtual Side of the House.