I honestly don’t think I have what most people would call a “childhood home.” Of course, I also realized as an adult that I do not fall into any set category for what most people think of as a normal childhood. However, that is a different post.
To let you understand why I feel this way, here is a timeline of places I lived before I turned 18:
· For the first few months we lived with my mother’s mother then we moved in with my father’s parents
· We lived with my father’s parents until I was halfway through kindergarten.
· For 5 months we lived with my mother (who had lived 100 miles away in another town as a teacher) in the town she taught.
· My mother went back to school and we moved back in with her mother while I was in 1st and 2nd grade. Then, my mom joined the army and went to medical school.
· We lived in one town (an apartment and then bought a townhouse) for 5 years.
· She was stationed on a closed post for a year, where I went to the base school.
· For the next 4 years we lived in the house my parents bought while she went through residency.
· I then went to college and started a new string of places I lived with my now husband.
Whew! That was a lot wasn’t it? So which do I consider my child hood home? I went to see my grandmothers every summer from the time I was 9 to 13. Back to the homes I had briefly lived in, so maybe those were my childhood homes? Or, could it be the house my parents bought when I was in high school, rented out while they were gone, and now live in again. That is the house my boys think of as “my family” home. Honestly I just don’t know, and I can’t pick one.
So…how about I tell you some of the things I liked or remember about the ones from Indiana?
My dad’s parents lived in a split level home cut into the side of a hill. The basement is where everyone did everything. The family card games during the holidays (Euchre anyone?) and the TV was there too. It was damp, and for several years flooded. It was always weird to go down there and find mushrooms growing out of the carpet.
|From The Hikers Notebook|
The land around the house was amazing as they lived in the country about 10 minutes from town. There was a big front yard that my dad later planted grapes in and my grandmother made homemade wine from. Grandma always had white and purple flags in the yard (Irises for the rest of the world) and I would sit for hours under a huge oak tree in the front yard making flower chains out of wild clover flowers. The backyard was a steep hill that was wooded. I never went up there because one time I saw a HUGE black snake come out of my favorite playing place and it scared the dickens out of me. There was an apple tree that accidentally grew there from a half-eaten apple my grandmother threw out of her back yard. Also, right off the back porch, my grandmother a large mint patch. She would sit there and pick mint leaves to put in her tea every morning.
My mother’s mother lived in 2 different houses. The first one was the one that my grandfather built on his portion of the family land after he retired from the army. It was four levels and massive. Partially built into the top of a hill it was a home for entertaining. Hardwood floors, balconies, a large formal living room, and spacious halls. It was on many acres, I don’t know how many exactly, but I think 20. There was a horse pasture and barn that I spent a lot of time in. I loved playing in the hay loft even though I was told not to because it was too dangerous. At the bottom of the hill was a man made pond that we swam and fished in. It was had the pump house which pumped and filtered the water because living in the country we did not have water run to the house and drank the pond water. There was a pussy willow tree that I loved so much too. They are so soft, and the tree was small enough that I could climb and sit in it even when I was 4.
When we moved out so my mom could go to medical school grandma decided she should really downsize, and sold the house. She moved into another of her family homes on an adjacent property. Her sister had lived there, and after Bea died she rented it out to several people. It was smaller, much smaller, but it had the most amazing patch of blackberries and gooseberries. My dad also planted wild grapes that he found in the wood in her yard too. I would spend days picking stuff in the summer for grandma to can (in addition to my 2 uncles gardens where I picked veggies continually). There was a creepy basement that I never went in, unless forced, and a hot attic. I can still hear the squeaky creaking the ladder made when you would pull it down from the ceiling and the smell of cedar, dust, and heat that would come from the door when it was opened.
My mom lived in a studio apartment when she was teaching. Dad and I visited, but the time I remember best was when we lived there for the spring semester my kindergarten year. I slept in an impromptu bed (cushions and sleeping bag) in a bay window of the main room. Across the room my parents slept in what I can only think was a built in seating area that was supposed to be a couch. The best part, and most fascinating for a 5 year old, was the antique claw foot bathtub. It was amazing.
I think the other homes will have to be another post.