The old Wilcox house was built in 1903 by William Markham, inventor of the BB Gun and co-founder of the Daisy Air Rifle Company.
In 1911, George and Harriet Wilcox purchased the Victorian house, which sits proudly and elegantly downtown, right across from Kellogg Park.
Somewhere along the way it was converted into four separate apartments – two upper and two lower. If I remember correctly.
My dad moved into the apartment in the front, street level, after he and my mom divorced.
It suited him because he was elegant, too.
The furnishings were simple – bought on a newly divorced budget – but pleasingly graceful and stylish.
I loved visiting him there. I loved sitting on a bench in the park across the street discussing philosophy and the deep things of life, the giant fountain bubbling next to us.
We both liked to walk, and it was on one of those walking days that I had my first caper.
We left his apartment and paused on the porch while he locked his door.
“I didn’t used to lock my door,” he said, “until I came home one afternoon and found a stoned and scruffy young man sleeping on my sofa.”
It happened during one of the town’s annual events – the Fall Festival or Art in the Park.
Door locked we headed out into the beautiful morning. We walked all through town and around town and landed at a Steak and Seafood Restaurant in time for a late lunch.
It was the first fancy restaurant I had been to with my dad. Just the two of us. I felt grown up.
He was having the Whitefish so I ordered it too.
Whitefish with a white wine and caper sauce.
“Watch out for all the little pin bones,” He warned.
It was my first whitefish and my first taste of capers.
And it was delicious.
I always think about that apartment, that porch, that story of the young man sleeping on my dad’s sofa and that special meal whenever I open a jar of those little pickled flower buds to make a sauce of my own.