Updated date:

The Little House That Daddy Built

A story about determination and perseverance. He managed to build a small house against all odds and little money. My Father!

Confidence, Courage, and Determination

I don't know exactly how old I was, but I remember times were tough, not only for our family but for most of the country. Jobs were hard to come by, and at times so was food. I still can't imagine how my parents managed to clothe and feed three children (and for a period of time, six children) with very little money.

Mama was magical with what she had to work with in terms of food. She could take a can-of-this and a little-of-that and make a meal fit for a king.

Daddy looked everywhere for work. We had no car, not even a bike, but Daddy found an old worn-out pair of roller skates (the kind attached to the shoe) and would skate for miles, looking for work. He would be gone from sun-up to sun-down day after day.

Where There's a Will, There's Always a Way

Finally, daddy found a job with a lumber company. Things were looking up. We found a small piece of property, and daddy was going to build us a house. The question was, where were the materials coming from and how could daddy build a house when he had no experience?

Well, he had always had a gift for building things and if there's a will . . . there's a way. Nothing would stop this man once his mind was made up. And as far as the lumber was concerned, that problem was taken care of too. His boss at the lumber yard said he could have all the scraps and pieces of lumber that he wanted. And every day, he would sift through the scrap pile gathering up what he needed.

Determination At It's Finest

My father was determined. If he wanted to do something he would, regardless of the obstacles. Not only did he build a house out of scraps, he also made himself a wheelchair, years later, from a wagon and an old chair.

He taught me the value of loving others and accepting them without judgement.

He was quite a man. I never once heard him complain - not even when his leg had to be amputated.

Little Man With a Big Heart

James (Jim) Leonard Kerr

James (Jim) Leonard Kerr

The House That Daddy Built

The little house that daddy built

When I was 6 years old

Heated by our kitchen stove

When winter left us cold…

My brother and my sister

Both shared a bed with me

We only had one bedroom

Hardly room enough for three…

The little house was drafty.

The cold air seeping in

Our little eyes were stuck like glue

Before the day began

But with a nice warm washcloth

To place upon our eyes

Our lashes cleaned so we could see

another sun arise

The one and only bathroom

To be shared by one and all

“Please hurry up and let me in. “

And banging on the wall.

The living room was kind of small

But it seemed big back then

Plenty of room to play some cards

Which we did, again and again

We had an old piano

Much to my delight

And it became a part of me

I played it day and night

It fed my soul. It dried my tears

And filled an inner need

Like sunshine to a flower

And water to a seed

We didn't have much money

But laughter filled the air

We said our prayers each evening

I knelt beside my chair

The little house that daddy built

Spins memories galore

Some I treasure more than life

And some, I just ignore

My life was formed within those walls

Just like a patchwork quilt

It made me what I am today

The house that daddy built.

Still Playing the Piano Today

How grateful I am to have had the opportunity to bring music to others.

How grateful I am to have had the opportunity to bring music to others.

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” — Mother Teresa


Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 30, 2021:

What a story, Audrey! I had no idea what your circumstances were growing up. Your dad is a true hero. Roller skating to find work, building a home for his family, providing you with warmth, security, love - and a piano!

Your poem is heartwarming. Your backstory reminds me of Dolly Parton and her coat of many colors.

And look at you now! You play beautifully. Your dad would be so proud.

Thanks for sharing your story, Audrey. You've taken my breath away, in a good way!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 25, 2021:

Wow! Audrey this is a wonderful tribute to your dad. Memories of parents are always a great part of us It has a hold to our hearts and you expressed that deeply here.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 22, 2021:


Thank you kindly for reading and loving this little tribute to my father. Yes, these memories hold a special place in my heart. I'm so grateful to have had a mother and father who taught me to never give up, no matter what. I pray that I may pass this type of attitude on to my grandchildren.

Blessings, my friend.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 22, 2021:


Thank you so much. You have captured the meaning of this story and my poem. And how right you are about "They don't make men like this anymore." Times were tough back then and I only wish I had shown more admiration for my parents and all they went through. Take care, Brenda.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 22, 2021:

Hi Jodah

Yes, my father was faced with many obstacles during his life. His determination and positive attitude pulled him through each one. Thank you for being here, my friend. I appreciate it!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 22, 2021:

Audrey, this is a touching story and poem. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life in such a wonderful way. You father must have been a very determined man.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 22, 2021:

What a beautiful tribute to your father Audrey. A very touching story. The poem is great. Thank you for sharing.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 22, 2021:

It's commendable.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2021:

What a lovely story, Audrey! My parents built the first home that I remember living in. While it was a bit larger, we also only had one bathroom for the 5 of us to share. When I was 13, my parents moved to Texas, and that is the first time we had 2 bathrooms in our home. It seemed like a luxury!

Your dad had grit and determination to succeed, and that he did. You must be so proud of both of your parents.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on July 22, 2021:

What a touching story and wonderful tribute to your father.

They don't make men like him anymore.

It's those little moments we seem to cherish the most. The ones others rarely see.

It's not easy to face struggles, but being in a family who shares love is a great way of learning virtue.

That piano really helped.

Great piece.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 22, 2021:

Audrey, thank you for writing this. What wonderful memories; and you've made me think back to my own childhood. Your dad and mine were probably about the same age--certainly built of the same stuff. Totally dedicated to the family. We did without many things when I was growing up, but we were never poor. We had a home filled with love.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 22, 2021:

He had a lot of grit your dad did. I’m sure he taught you excellent lessons by example.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 22, 2021:

And simple to the heart.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on July 22, 2021:

A beautiful poem, a great tribute to your father. Your father did his best to provide for his family with great love and care. Am so happy you continued playing the piano. You are truly blessed to have such a father. Loved your poem, so beautifully penned.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 22, 2021:

That I agree.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on July 22, 2021:

Those memories are real treasure. I'd love to have a beautiful family than f a beautiful house. Your father is a real hero! I enjoyed your inspiring life story Ms Audrey. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sending love and power hugs!!!!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Really quite a remarkable accomplishment! They were made of tough stuff back then; they had to be or they would have never made it. Wonderful story, poem, and inspiration, my friend. One hell of a dad!



Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on July 22, 2021:

Audrey, your have written a beautiful poem filled with so many lovely memories. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everything you've written. Mother Teresa's quote at the end is fantastic and very true. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Blessings and Love

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 22, 2021:

Pamela99, that's sounds relating likewise. It's the desire of a father to build a house for the family. But some parents specific fathers, were unable. That Audrey's father was able with no money, is ingeniuity. I hope many learn from such an example. I live with my family in the house I build. Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 22, 2021:

I truly enjoyed reading about the house your father built and the memories of your young life. I relate very well to your life story as my memories are a bit like yours. My father did not build a house, but we didn't have much money. My sister and I shared a bedroom and there was never more than one bathroom. My parents worked so hard, just like yours.

Your poem is beautifully written and is filled with such beautiful memories, Audrey. You were raised up with a lot of love for sure. Thank you for sharing such an important part of who you are.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 22, 2021:

What an amazing and inspiring piece of writing!

I loved reading your narration about your father, mother, you and your siblings. Those must be your most precious memories. How much do we owe to our parents! They toiled hard, did everything, they could, to build the family, without complaining, without giving up, always with a smile.

You have made your parents proud by giving glimpses of your early life.

Your poem is well composed and I loved the rhymes too.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. Have a wonderful day.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 22, 2021:

Audrey, mother's and father's like your's is what the world ever needs today. Your dad love the family dearly. Otherwise, he wouldn't go that extra mile to buiild a house and chair. And I'm sure there must be a table for dinning, reading and writing. A great dad indeed! Though he don't have that much money. As for your moma, she kept you and the family healthy, body and all. Great mums combined two and more stuffs to make a great meal. Your poem is homespun indeed. Thanks for the read.

Related Articles