In 2009, the animated movie Up took the world by storm (and made me cry in the theater). It’s a heartwarming story about a man who, after his wife passed away, decided to honor her memory in the most touching way.
One thing you might not have realized, though, is that the house in the movie that stands resilient among the towering skyscrapers was based on a real house. This house.
Edith Mcefield wasn’t any normal 84 year-old woman. She had a stubborn streak of defiance which resulted in her refusing to sell her house to a development complex.
Sound familiar? Her house, standing among the giant shopping center buildings, was the inspiration for the house in Up.
Barry Martin, a construction supervisor that was working on the complex going up around her house, slowly befriended Edith.
Even as a young woman, Edith was remarkably strong. She would tell Barry stories from her past that were so extraordinary, he couldn’t be sure if they were true. She said that she had been recruited by British intelligence as a music student and sent to Germany to spy on the Nazis.
But one thing was certainly true. She grew up to be a strong and resilient woman.
Over time, Barry became closer and closer to Edith. He would give her rides, check on her and even made emergency visits if she wasn’t feeling well.
When asked about why she didn’t want to move, she had an amazing answer.
“Where would I go? I don’t have any family and this is my home. My mother died here, on this very couch. I came back to America from England to take care of her. She made me promise I would let her die at home and not in some facility, and I kept that promise. And this is where I want to die. Right in my own home. On this couch.”
Edith would still receive calls about her house, but she ignored them. She refused a $1 million for her home. Over time, she became more and more dependent on Barry. Then, when he noticed she couldn’t keep any weight on, he took to her to the hospital. She had pancreatic cancer. She didn’t fear it, though. She had her house and she had a best friend in Barry. There was nothing for her to fear.
If you’d like to learn more about Edith, her house and Barry, the book Under One Roof is available for purchase online.