February 17, 2010
Our House, In the Middle of the Street...
I am a product of the eighties when This Talking Heads Song pops into my head when thinking about the house I grew up in...
Like the song, our house was in the middle of the block and it was a non-descriptive stick house just like all of the other houses on the block. We wanted to get away from home and my mom worked hard and needed a rest too. Maybe my house was white, or a tan color, or maybe something else. I remember helping to paint it and it took a couple of years. I also remember having to mow the two acres of grass with a push mower. It took one person about eight hours, including trimming around the trees. I remember the small bedrooms and how confining that felt before I graduated from high school, but I don't remember the color of the rooms. It was most likely white, or plain. We had a living room and family room too, but I don't remember the color of those either. There was paneling in the family room. And I think pretty much everyone's 1970's to 1980's ramblers could be described in similar fashion.
But I can say that I liked one feature of that house. It had the garage tucked up underneath the one end of the house with another garage door leading right into the basement. You could not even see the garage from the street. Above the garage was our family room where we spent most of our time watching TV and playing games.
Sometime after that era, houses were being built with the garage stuck way out front, so the garage became the focal point as you drove down the street. Our house was the focal point sitting way up on a hill of grass with flowering trees and shrubs. A half-painted rambler focal point on a beautiful lot with a park across the street that was later razed to the ground to make way for commercial progress. Our house was demolished sometime after we all moved away.
But select photos in my mind still remain. I close my eyes and I can see the rooms, the shapes, the same furniture we had, and the floors. The carpeting in the living room, the wool-like carpet tiles in the family room that we ripped up and replaced with a shag. I remember fighting with my brothers in our house. I remember getting ready to leave for the army after high school and being excited to go someplace else where the rooms were not so confining. And later, I remember helping to move my parents out of that house. I do not remember the color of our house, my bedroom or the living room. Curiously there is no color to those memories.