Adventures in Housing

Adventures in Housing: The “dream home” that became a reality

Maria Hollenhorst Oct 23, 2019
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Laura Hamilton with per parents, Lyle and Jeanne Olson, near their new home in Culver, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Laura Hamilton
Adventures in Housing

Adventures in Housing: The “dream home” that became a reality

Maria Hollenhorst Oct 23, 2019
Laura Hamilton with per parents, Lyle and Jeanne Olson, near their new home in Culver, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Laura Hamilton
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Welcome to our new series. We’re calling it “Adventures in Housing.” Because more and more, that’s what finding and affording a place to live has become. These will be your stories. About the workarounds and compromises. About buying, selling, renting and moving. About the dorms and shacks and money pits and houseboats and yurts and … you get the picture. Share your stories using the submissions box below. Today, we hear from someone who just bought a “dream home” for someone else.


Laura Hamilton’s idea of a “dream home” was one that her parents would never have to leave.

Until she was eight years old, Hamilton lived on her family’s farm in North Dakota. Like many farmers in the 1980s, Laura said her parents lost their farm due to foreclosure.

Laura Hamilton as a child on her family's farm in North Dakota.
Laura Hamilton on her family’s farm in North Dakota.

At that time, high levels of farm debt, sky-high interest rates and international events affecting grain markets contributed to an economic crisis for America’s farmers. “You had people like my parents that worked so hard and were great farmers, but sometimes it’s just out of their hands,” said Hamilton.

“What I first remember is the slow pulling apart of our home,” she said. “The furniture, my bed, my piano that my grandmother taught me to play.”

“We packed up the last of our belongings into a moving truck, said goodbye to my grandparents and the animals, and left.”

After leaving their farm, Hamilton said her family lived in about 14 different homes by the time she was in college.

As she went on through school, attended universities and grew in her career, Hamilton said she’d hear colleagues and friends talking “dream homes.”

“Usually centered around, maybe, a fancy beach house,” she said. But when she thought about her own dream home, Hamilton wanted something else. “I just wanted my parents to have their dream home,” she said.

This fall, Hamilton’s dream of a permanent home for her parents came true. She and her husband purchased a home in a small town in Oregon for her parents to live in.  

“When I called them with the news, it was really emotional,” Hamilton said. “They cried, and I cried … and next month, right before Thanksgiving, they move into their home that they will never have to leave.”


Tell us about your adventure in housing below, and we might just put you on the radio.

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