At the young age of 25, Ralph and Mary Scatino had their home built to their liking in the late ’60s.
They were one of the first few homes on the developing block. The couple decided upon a Windsor Heights location using their chosen builder, Don Jefferson, who was at the time building in nearby Urbandale.
They like numerous things about their home they’ve been in for almost 45 years. They like all the natural light that comes in, especially the southern exposure they get. They like that it’s on a hill, as they have never had water in their basement. And the space — all the space they have to live in.
“We also like that back then, houses were so much better built,” says Mary. “The excavator was just meticulous about everything he did.”
And so life went on. Through the years the couple had three children, 11 grandchildren and now five great-grandchildren. Every Sunday Mary cooks a traditional Italian meal showcasing stuffed peppers, meatballs and pasta. Local family and friends stop in when they can.
“I don’t ever want to leave my house for many reasons, but mostly because of the memories and all of our traditions,” says Mary.
Memories include having 13 kids on the same block and letting them play in the road because, once upon a time, it was a dead-end street. Before the rest of the homes on their street were built, it was wooded and had prairie grass. The couple even remembers the taxes in the 1970s — a mere $1,400 a year. That’s not the case anymore, as now they pay more than $4,000 annually.
Ralph and Mary both still work, so their own front yard doesn’t reflect their true landscaping ideas. Simple impatiens and meticulous lawn-mowing are beauty enough right now.
The best part of their neighborhood is the fact they know everyone. They each point to houses and describe people, careers, children, marriages and even deaths.
“We’ve had card parties with that couple,” says Mary. “And Ralph’s distant cousin lives across the street.”
The house that was built by Don Jefferson in the late 1960s was built on firm ground. The family that made it a home has always enjoyed it and would live in it forever, if they could.