Madison Mansion

In April of 2005, I was single (nothing wrong with that) with no prospects of a relationship on the horizon, let alone marriage. I had a job that I enjoyed but was making very little money, so I had been living with six other guys in this house in Charleston, IL. We referred to our home as Madison Mansion, though it was far from that. None of us ever cleaned, the back door was typically standing wide open (even at night) and one of the guys used the downstairs bathroom sink to clean his motorcycle parts. The basement was full of asbestos and one of my roommates kept pet rats inside of an old hollowed out television case.

I wish I had pictures from this time in my life. Words just don’t do the mansion justice. It was amazing in a really scary sort of way. It was a time of depression in my life that I hope that I never experience again but, at the same time, always look back fondly on. I had a friend once who said, “Zach, I love it when you’re single because you are so much funnier then. You’re funny when you’re depressed”.


There were fewer responsibilities and a lot of free time. I worked at Wal Mart on third shift. I would come home in the morning as everyone else was leaving for the day. Sometimes I would go on to bed. Many times I would just sit up playing video games all morning. I remember discovering the Dave Chappelle show because one of my roommates had picked up season one on DVD. I think I watched the entire first season in two days time.

One day, one of the guys that lived upstairs set the staircase on fire to see what would happen. Somebody brought some mannequin heads into the house that ended up being used for archery practice in the living room. There was a trampoline outside that ended up against the house one day as everyone in the house took turns jumping out of the second story window onto it.

I think you get the picture. This house was not typical. It very much ended up being a place where a person could be the best or worst version of himself. I had a roommate that dated underaged girls. I had a roommate that wouldn’t pay his part of the bills. One of the guys brought marijuana into the house thinking that the rest of us wouldn’t notice. One of the guys would sometimes sleep in his bedroom but sometimes sleep out in the yard. The guy that owned the house kept an old hollowed out tv box full of rats in his room as pets. We went one entire winter only running the heat enough to keep the pipes from freezing (they did anyway).

My point in all of this today. Well, I write a lot about being proactive in moving towards your future goals. However, it’s important to remember where you came from too. Where have you been? What weird and crazy things have you experienced?

What made you who you are today?

Life is Strange. Live it Well.

10 thoughts on “Madison Mansion

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    1. I met my wife. At that point in my life, I didn’t really have much to be responsible for. It was easy to just sort of be there. Once I got married and had a child, I realized quickly that I had more to be responsible for than just myself. Changes had to be made. However, I will always look back on that time in my life very fondly.


      1. Well. At that point, I was going to church but was also severly depressed and pretty withdrawn. I was not actively involved in church outside of just regular attendance.

        I met a man named Matt McGregor while I was working at Wal Mart, who took me under his wing and had me start leading a Bible study with him for third shift employees.

        This was a huge catalyst for my life and I see God’s hand at work through that entire process. Looking back at where all I have been since then, I cannot say that there was ever a door open for me that I had to open myself. God always made it happen.


      2. Wow. I didnt know that you were depressed. Withdrawn>? That Means Like Wanting to be depressed or what?
        Yea.Thats good that mat did that…


      3. I took an anti-depressant for quite a while after I got married, at least a couple of years. It was mild but helped to keep my moods regulated. There were many days where it was a struggle to get out of bed and just function.


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