The oven didn't work, so the barbecue was constantly fired up in the tiny backyard. The sofa had no casters and was supported by old paperbacks the owners hadn't cracked in months. Shelves were composed of red bricks and any available wood planks. Mattresses and box springs neither matched nor were afforded the luxury of a frame. There were always dirty rugby shoes outside the front door and rarely anything more than milk, bologna and beer in the refrigerator. Thirty-eight years ago, our senior year of college, it was home -- for $200 a month, split four ways. The stucco duplex, just a nine-iron chip from a regional mall, boasted two bedrooms, one bath, a tiny den, fireplace, garage, and kitchen with eating space and counter. And, to top things off, the neighbors were our best friends. That proved to be worth more than the monthly rent in memorable times, quickly gathered carpools, term-paper consults and typewriter sharing. What was not shared was the rental agreement with o...
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