In 2001, I drove out to Columbia, Illinois to attend a talk on Sears Homes, given by Dr. Rebecca L. Hunter. I’d never met this woman, but I’d heard a lot about her from several different people.
I was already pretty intimidated by Dr. Hunter and I hadn’t even met her! She was well respected, a solid researcher, a scholar and obviously very well educated.
When we were first introduced in 2001, I was nervous as a cat, but Dr. Hunter - in addition to being hyper-intelligent - was also incredibly humble and unassuming and gracious.
We sat together at a luncheon after the talk and became fast friends. She invited me to visit her in Elgin (a Chicago suburb), and promised to show me all the architectural treasures she’d found in Northern Illinois, and to teach me all that she’d learned about Sears Homes.
The timing of our meeting was divinely inspired. I was in the middle of a divorce and truly terrified of what the future might hold for me. After 24 years of marriage, my husband had wanted out. I was an emotional mess, and I forewarned Rebecca. She was unimpressed. I also told her that I’d been married since I was 18, and that I’d never driven any substantial distance alone, and couldn’t imagine that I could make the six-hour drive from Alton (my home) to Elgin, Illinois.
Rebecca looked at me and said, “I’ll help you. I’ll give you precise directions and if you get lost, just call me. If you get really lost or feel overwhelmed, pull over and I’ll drive out and meet you, and you can just follow me into Elgin.”
It was an incredibly generous offer, and it was also a golden (and safe) opportunity for me to overcome my fear of traveling alone.
In February 2002, I made the trip from Alton to Elgin. Thanks to her incredibly detailed directions, I arrived at her front door in Elgin without a hitch. I knocked on her door and saw Rebecca’s beaming countenance. She was smiling from ear to ear.
She threw her arms around me and said, “I knew you could do it. I knew it.”
That moment is one of my favorite memories of my time on this earth.
Sears Houses were the bond that brought us together, but the real blessing of these kit homes have been the relationships they’ve forged. Even though we now live 1,200 miles apart, I consider Rebecca Hunter to be one of my dearest friends.
And I’m so happy to see that Dr. Hunter has just come out with a new book, and it’s a fine book, too! I thought I knew a lot about Sears Homes, but I’m delighted to report that I’ve learned many new things from reading “Mail Order Homes.”
Scroll down to take a sneak peek, and then dash over to Amazon.com and buy a copy. It makes a perfect gift, and don’t forget, Mother’s Day is on the horizon!!
Rebecca's newest book is titled, "Mail Order Homes."
Lots of beautiful color photos. Good graphics, and they're crisp and clean.
The book has many vintage photos.
Rebecca has photos of rare Sears Homes, too.
Her book covers much more than pre-cut Sears Homes. Also has info on "Homart Homes" and the other mail-order companies.
Check out the table of contents!
To learn more about Rebecca’s book, click here.
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