Friday, June 25, 2010

Flashback Friday - Home Sweet Home

A house is made of bricks and stone,
but a home is made of love alone.

Where did you live when you were growing up? In a house or an apartment? A mobile home or a duplex? Did your parents rent or own? Was it big or small? In a city, small town, or rural area? In the USA or another country? Did you have your own room or share with siblings? Did you have a say in how your room was painted/decorated? Did your folks update/redecorate periodically or was your house "stuck" in a certain decade? Did you have a yard? A swingset or other play areas? What was your neighborhood like? Were there lots of kids to play with? Did your family stay in one place or did you move? If so, how many times did you move by the time you graduated from high school? Did you like moving or long to stay in one place? Are your parents still in the home you grew up in (or at least the one you lived in when you graduated from high school) or did they move and you haven't lived with them in their latest house? Does it feel like home? What were your favorite and least favorite things about your physical home? How similar or different is it to where you live now?


Until my sophomore year in high school, we lived in this tiny house. And no, it wasn't made of bricks and stone; I think my dad said those were cedar shakes. And it was two-tone green forever. (The toddler is my cousin's daughter, who I loved playing with when I was in junior high; she is now about 36!) I think it had between 1100 and 1200 square feet! Looking back, I realize how amazing it is that my parents raised 4 kids in that little house, but whatever you have is normal to you, so I didn't think a whole lot about it. In a previous post, I've mentioned my "5-year-old bed"; that was placed in my two sisters' bedroom, along with their double bed (my sisters never had a bed to themselves until they went to college), the chest of drawers which they shared, and a couple of other things. Now I realize how cramped that room was but it didn't seem that bad when I was little!

When I was 7 and my brother went to college, I inherited his room. The reason I was the one with my own room rather than my sisters was the fact that I was a good bit younger and had bedtimes while they were still up doing homework. The bedroom had been painted a light green when it was my brother's room, but I l-o-v-e-d yellow, and my dad painted it yellow for me at some point. It turned out much brighter than intended and visitors always did a double-take when they first saw it, but I absolutely adored it. This picture (taken the day we moved out) is a bit muted, but it still shows that it is pretty lemony!

I always thought my mom had a big kitchen, but I don't know why. Besides the kitchen appliances, it contained the table and the washer and dryer! Here's what it looked like the day we moved. (Yes, that's red paint, my mom's favorite color! The top part is a light gray, which is what the walls in the living/dining room and halls were painted.) Unfortunately, the refrigerator was already in the moving van, but you can see the spot where it had been. Is that an old-timey stove or what?! (The door and drawer on the left were for storage of pots and pans and cookie sheets. The right side was the oven, and the right drawer was the broiler. My mom cooked a whole lot of meals on that little gas stove!) My folks had built this house in 1954 and everything was the same when they moved out 23 years later! I thought I had scanned a picture of the old refrigerator. It was amazingly small and was one of those with a single door and when you opened it there was a tiny square freezer in the top right-hand corner. No wonder my mom had to go to the store every day! She thought it was because she wasn't very efficient, but the fridge wouldn't hold enough milk or other things to make less frequent trips! That refrigerator was well-made, though. When we moved, my folks put it in the garage for watermelon or when we had lots of company. It was still working when we moved my mom into assisted living in 2001, about 50 years after they bought it!

The one thing I do remember feeling a bit poor or not-modern about was our flooring. We had hardwood, not carpet. It wasn't fancy hardwood; that's just what people had way back then. I thought it was absolutely wonderful when we moved and got carpet in our new house. . . and that was 1977, and the carpet was green shag! Shudder! Give me a choice now, and I'll take the wood, for sure!

Whatever impressions you have as a child of something often influences your decisions later. Because carpet was considered an upgrade, I never wanted hardwood floors until I hit my 30's. I remembered how cold the floor was in the mornings and I thought it meant you had a nicer house to have carpet. Similarly, we never had wallpaper in either house. That's because my dad had grown up in a very poor family, and you used paper to cover the ugly walls if you couldn't afford finished sheetrock. So his view of wallpaper was similar to my opinion of hardwood floors!

The one thing that was nice about the original house was the yard. (The building on the right is our detached garage. It was a pretty deep lot, so we had a great back yard. (Although it, too, had shrunk when I saw it as an adult!) LOL My biggest regret was I never had a swing set. My dad took down the one my siblings used, and it was stored in the garage. He intended to put it up for me, but never got around to it. I loved to swing and was bummed that I never got to have that in my yard.

This is the house my folks built when I was in high school. It was a typical 1970's house but I thought it was so, so nice! My bedroom is on that front corner, and my dad (who tweaked the design of the original house that the builder had) added that box window just for me. Between that and the built-in bookcase in my room (and the carpet! Don't forget the carpet!), I thought I had the most wonderful room ever! Oh, plus I had "girl" furniture. I had to use my brother's old very masculine furniture in the old house, but my 5-year-old bed was white and we put that in my new room, along with a similarly styled chest of drawers, tall chest, and nightstand. I was already thrilled about finally getting to move; the only thing that would have made it even better was if the house had had a fireplace and if it had been two stories. I always wanted stairs! (I outgrew that, too; our house today is one-story!)

Now you've heard about the two houses I called home when I was growing up. Share your memories and link up here!


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Nel said...

Isn't it funny how things look so different when you are little! lol They tend to shrink. Enjoyed your memories. Thanks for hosting the flashback! Funny we both had the yellow walls. Well I had one yellow.

until next time... nel

Diana said...

Enjoyed your reflections. That was so special that your dad added a couple of little extras for your room!

Kathy said...

I loved reading your memories. I, too, remember when getting carpeting was "an upgrade". Oh how cold those bare floors were. I still prefer carpeting, even though hardwood is so popular! It must have been wonderful to get that new room in the new house--with the "extras". Thanks for hosting! (Kathy)

sara said...

it is funny how BIG things seem in our memory!!! On my last visit home, I went by the 1st out we lived in and couldn't believe how small it looked!!

Bits-n-Pieces said...

very nice flashback! I may have to do this one.

Barbara H. said...

I love your quote at the top, because I don't have many memories of the house itself, but I do remember the home.

Isn't it funny how our perspective changes over the years with things like wallpaper and carpet! And things from childhood do look smaller viewed as adults.

Cathy said...

Such fun memories. I love hearing about your homes and how you lived. I agree I always thought our houses were so big, but I see them now and know they really weren't.

The Toll House Cookie said...

Hey--thanks for taking us down memory lane!!! It was fun to remember all the great memories we had growing up. I enjoyed reading yours as well!!!

Bits-n-Pieces said...

Ok...i did it, and linked it! What a great walk down memory lane!

Beth Zimmerman said...

What lovely memories you have! I enjoyed reading this! I always wanted 2 stories too (mostly so I could have less to stress over keeping clean) but now I am delighted by my single story home! And we keep intending to pull our carpets to reveal the hard wood floors underneath!

Connie said...

Yes...thanks for taking us down memory lane. I think my post linked. I hope so. This was a fun one!


Tina said...

What memories this brings back!

Debbie said...

My dad was a high school coach/teacher/principal, and we moved eight times before I finished high school. It was normal to me. We lived in everything - rented and owned. We were also poor but didn't know it. My poor mom salvaged whatever furniture and clothes she could find for her family of 7. She was a miracle worker!

bp said...

Great topic! Funny how we remember certain things so clearly about our childhood homes.

Have an enjoyable rest of the weekend.

Beverlydru said...

I enjoyed this post. It all begins and ends with family. : )