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Old family friend | Family recalls a house full of memories growing up in Clyde Hill
Mike Pezoldt doesn’t seem to see the cobwebs, dirt, broken windows and garbage that have made the 1925 house at 9420 NE 5th St., near Clyde Hill, rather frightening. He sees the home where he grew up.
So did his mother, Margaret Pezoldt, who refused to sell it for more than $1 million, before the housing bubble burst.
She said, “I’m not interested. Never bother me again,” Mike remembers. “Money didn’t matter to her. She didn’t understand it, and she didn’t care. This was her house - where she raised her kids - and she didn’t want to sell it.”
At least some of her kids encouraged her to sell it, Kelly Pezoldt, the youngest of the six kids who grew up there, said. “She was always buying lottery tickets, and my sister used to say, ‘Why don’t you sell your house? You’re sitting on the lottery. She should have sold it then. It’s amazing how much property value has gone down.
“(Margaret) was very sentimental about everything, but she got what she wanted,” Kelly said. “She wanted to die in her own house.”
Mike, the executor of the will, decided to sell it after she died. It’s currently pending at $798,000, according to public records, and Mike expects it to close before the end of the month.
It’s one of the oldest houses in the surrounding area, and it had an old feel to it when the Margaret and her husband, Gordon Pezoldt, bought it in September of 1954 for $8,800, with a mortgage of $75 per month.
Some of the home’s older features, like the secret valuables box hidden under one of the floor boards in the upstairs hallway, gave the house quaint character. Since the metal box was for money and jewelry, “I used to always go up there and look to see if someone had put some money in there,” Kelly Pezoldt said.
Mike remembers climbing out the window of the second story dormer onto the roof to watch fireworks on Independence Day.
“We used to be able to see the hydroplane races and fireworks from the porch,” Sandra Thompson, the oldest of the siblings, said. “People built on top of (the older houses), so our view was eliminated at that point.”
Several of the siblings had good memories of playing in the back yard.
“My dad built us a treehouse in the back yard, in a giant madrona tree,” Mike said. “It was a square with a trap door and four posts holding the roof up - open air, with no glass windows. We slept in it in the summer, sometimes. We’d play army a lot and pretend that was a lookout tower.”
He also remembers digging holes in the back yard. “My mother called it the dirt hole,” Mike said. “She’d say, ‘If you’re going to go play in the dirt hole, you’re going to need to come in and take a bath.’ “
But not all of the memories of the house were so happy - especially for Gordon.
“The old furnace would act up, and you could hear him using expletives, and banging on it, and it would be smoking,” Mike said. “(The rest of the family) would stand in the back yard until he thought it was safe to come back in.”
Gordon also usually changed the glass fuses when they broke, until the house was re-wired with modern circuit breakers, much later.
All of Margaret and Gordon’s seven children, except the oldest two, were born while the family was living at the house. And one, Richard, died in a car accident as an infant, while they were living there.
And all of those memories are probably why Margaret was attached to it to the point that she refused to move out - even after she was diagnosed with dementia, Mike suggested.
She died July 25 of this year. Gordon died in the early 1990s.
“(Margaret) would be devastated if she knew what was happening,” with selling the house, Sandra said. “The whole thing is very sad and kind of emotional.”
But, Mike, the executor of the will, decided it would be the best.
The house is slated to be torn down and replaced with a newer one, as most of the houses in the neighborhood have been.
Mike drew a heart on what once was the kitchen wall, and he wrote, “Goodbye old house,” inside the heart. “It sure was a cozy place to live,” he said.