In 1963, Dr. Marion and Rita Wolfe Jr. bought a home at 105 Boardman Ave. in Bay St. Louis.|
Originally the house was an 1800s plantation store with three rooms and a porch facing the back road so patrons could come easily off the street by horse and buggy. Subsequent owners made the store a home, turning the porch into two closets and a bathroom.
"My mother was thrilled that we moved there because it was next to her family estate," Rita said.
The Wolfes survived Camille in the house. "I believe the house was protected by Elmwood, my mother's family home that sat directly between us and the beach," she said.
In 1994, Rita re-married, to John Fraering. In 1995 they began renovating the home, but it took two years before they could spend a night there.
"We commuted to and from Slidell, and boy, was it hot in the summer," she said. "One day while in the attic John discovered that the house was originally a three-room building with a beautiful hall that ran the length of the house."
After removing the middle bedroom and creating two closets and two baths, the home became a beautiful two-bedroom, two-bath home. "I stripped the windows and the cypress doors myself," Rita said. "We redid the hardwood floors and they were gorgeous."
Once the renovation was complete, the Fraerings had an informal open house with friends and family. "My ex-husband had tears in his eyes because of how beautiful a job John had done. People dropped in and aw'ed and John was proud. I teased him, 'You like to show off,' but he did work very hard. I lost him on July 30th of this year and I think it is important to preserve our history."
Today, Rita will be in Bay St. Louis again to attend funeral services, this time for her ex-husband, Marion Wolfe, who died Aug. 17.
Rita cherishes her memories of the home, which was where all of their children's friends wanted to be, she said. Plans are for her children to rebuild.
PATRICIA "TSH" HANCOCK