Tuesday, May 19, 2009

my house history, part one

In my three and a half decades plus, I've lived in many (and I repeat MANY) different houses.

The first one I remember was in Parrish, Alabama. It had a tree in the front yard that V'ed into two trunks. I vaguely remember Mom and Dad's bedroom was down the hall on the left, the front door opened into the living which opened into the kitchen. What I remember the most about that house was the "family portrait" Mom had hanging at the end of the hallway. Dad, Mom, and my older sister. It bothered me to no end when I discovered it was my older sister in that picture and not me. I wanted Mom to take it down after that, but she wouldn't. Looking back, it's sad that I was never bothered that my younger sister wasn't in the picture.

House #2: Curry, Alabama. Age 4 and three-fourths to 3rd grade. It was a big house on Smith Lake. What I remember most about that house: pulling the upstairs banister off the wall; roller skating in the unfinished basement, raking leaves, watching the wasps and yellow jackets build their nests outside our bedroom window each spring and us banging on the window to aggravate them so they'd fight each other and Mom yelling at us for it, getting carpet burns from pretending the living room floor was a swimming pool and we were in the Olympics, the lake flooding two summers, the year of the drought, fire ants, Dad's garden, watching chipmunks grab nuts and scamper over the patio, my brother running over baby frogs with his tricycle, and setting the carpet in Dad's bedroom on fire with his video camera while he & Mom were away on a business trip, and last but not least, the beginning of family devotions and meetings, leading to Dad's switching jobs and culminating in Mom's fight with cancer.

House #3: Cordova, Alabama; what we dubbed "The Little White House" (it was little, white and our last name was White...it fit perfect!) There were six of us living in a 2 bedroom house, and there wasn't room for my Great-great Aunt to come live with us (she had stayed with us 60% of the time prior to that). I remember the late night talks we girls had, Mom coming in to talk with my older sister after she thought we were asleep and hearing the horrors of what my older sister was facing in her new middle school, the joys and pains of living in a house that wasn't ours, plus the countless birthday parties and teen activities crammed into our little place. It was a crowded but fun two years, and I actually carved the name "The White House" into the window sill the day we moved out.

House #4: Cordova, Alabama, the church parsonage. It had THREE bedrooms, though we later converted the study/den into a bedroom as well. I didn't like having neighbors that close, but I loved the shrubs and flowers a previous pastor's wife had planted, I loved the fake fireplace and built in bookcase/shelving in the living room; I hated the problems/repairs that come with an old house; detested the fact that we were never allowed to paint the walls anything but white (though we did write in pencil along a wall in the kitchen measuring everybody's height the last four years we were there; I still giggle when I imagine the deacons' wives horror at finding that), and I was insanely jealous of the previous preacher kids who were allowed to imprint their names into the cement driveway (yes, I bet their mark is STILL there), and I was always bothered after a former pastor's family came through for a visit and heard their stories of life. I enjoyed the stories themselves, but I never liked the thought that a house where we lived and breathed and loved and cried would one day be another memory trapped in someone's head. Oh, and while no one in our family had any marriage proposals in that house (unlike other pastor's families), my Aunt Mattie did come back to live with us up until the November night she died. She didn't die in the house, but had she had it her way I think she would have.

and houses/rooms/apartments #5-15 will have to wait until tomorrow.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

very interesting. you really moved around. can't wait to hear the rest!