Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My house

And so, the house I actually lived in, and the yard I mostly played in.

When I drove out to Spring Park to show my kids the house I lived in as a young child, of course I was surprised to see that it was pretty much a small starter-type house. It was plenty big enough for me then.

First, the important thing about the yard: the big raspberry patch that took up half the back yard. Although it probably wasn't the forest of raspberry canes that it seemed back then, it was certainly big--rows cut between the thickets of prickly sticks and sweet red berries, always enough there to pick and eat whenever we felt like it. Enough for my mother to make many jars of raspberry jam. We had to help pick the berries for jam-making, and that was scratchy work.

Second, the other important thing about the yard: between the garage (behind which was the raspberry patch) and the house was the swing set, and the picnic table off of which we kids took "flying lessons" (never did attain flight, but always did believe that on my next leap off the end of the table I might actually fly), and the tree into which my dad had screwed metal pipes at various heights, kind of like spider legs sticking out and then bending at right angles to the ground. We all loved to climb on those and hang from them upside down. No other house in the neighborhood had anything like it.

And now, the important things about the house: my sister Judy (2 and a half years younger) and I shared the upstairs bedroom. As in houses of that style, the whole area underneath the roof was one big room, with a ceiling slanting down in both directions and storage built in behind the walls where the space became too low. I thought it was a huge bedroom, and also special because it was away from and above the rest of the house. Our own private space.

I really don't remember a whole lot about the furnishings. For sure, the fireplace in the living room with the big mirror over the mantle. I spent one whole afternoon perched precariously on that mantle trying to get through the looking glass like Alice did. (If you're getting the impression already that I readily believed in all things fantastical, you are right.)

We had a dishwasher, which most people did not in those days. There were french doors going out to the back yard. Our basement was basically a big playroom with a linoleum-tiled floor that our parents let us ride our trikes on. It was also where we put on plays and circuses. No other kids in the neighborhood had a deluxe set-up like that, so our basement was a popular gathering spot. And that about covers what I remember about the inside of the house. Other than the toys, of course. But that's another entry.

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