Monday, June 17, 2013

My Childhood House -- So Huge Yet So Small

It was many years that I last saw the house where I lived until I was twelve. In my memory, it was a big house with a big backyard. I was married with children when I saw my house next. Oh my! How very tiny!

The exterior of the house wasn't much different from when we moved. Most changes were in the landscape. The lilac bush that stood near the street on the left side of the yard was gone.

The tree near the front of the house to the left of the walkway was gone as well. I wasn't surprised as it was struck by lightning about a month before we moved. A portion of the tree was split from the tree so I expect that the tree didn't survive the next winter.

The tree on the right side of the walkway was still there. My father and I visited his uncle's farm one day and came home with a sapling. It was the first tree in our yard. When we moved, the trunk of that tree wasn't much more than 5 inches in diameter. How it had grown!

The next time that I saw the house was 10 years later. The exterior was quite different. The fake stone façade was removed and new windows installed. The poor little house looked quite plain.

When my sister and I visited the house in 1991, we did not see if the residents were at home. When we visited the house in 2001, she knocked on the door. The son of the current owner was home and invited us in to see the house.

We learned that his parents bought the house from our parents. They had not enlarged it or appreciably remodeled it other than adding a deck behind the house. The huge old furnace in the basement had been replaced by a much smaller, modern one. I remember that it seemed to take up a large portion of the basement on one side of the staircase. As my sister and I walked through the house, we couldn't image how 8 people fit in that house.

About a year ago, I saw the house again. I don't know if the people who owned it in 2001 were the current owners, but whoever owned the house had made a number of improvements to the exterior and the landscaping. I am really sorry that the fake stone façade was removed. But the red door and the shutters on the windows really help make the little cute again.

I am hoping that the interior was updated too.

Most of the houses on our side of the street looked like this house. We called them Monopoly houses because they were shaped just like the green houses in a Monopoly game. They were built after World War II to support the baby boom. When my parents bought this house, it had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, a basement and an attic.

The front door opens to the living room, which is on the right of the photo. The window on the left side of the door is in the master bedroom. The second bedroom is behind it. Behind the living room is a staircase to the attic. The kitchen is on the other side of staircase. Below this staircase is one to the basement and is accessed from the kitchen. The bathroom is located between the rear bedroom and the kitchen.

As our family grew in size, my father finished half of the basement into a recreation room, sometimes called a rumpus room. One year, my grandfather came from California to help my dad turn the attic into another bedroom with storage space.

That house holds a lot of fond memories.


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