Homes I'll always remember

Homes I'll always remember
                        

Growing up, my family moved around quite a bit. We lived in many different houses in various spots around this country. Two to three years was the average stay in any one place, just enough time to grow accustomed to a new neighborhood, a new school, to make new friends and, of course, get used to a new house. Some of those houses were very interesting to get to know, and some have faded from our memories.

One little house in Virginia sat right beside the James River and was two houses down from a park. We loved it. Though forbidden from sliding down the banks to the river, that was one of the first things we did. Getting back up the bank was very difficult, so good kids that we were, we didn’t break that rule very often. The park was big and green with some playground equipment, which we all put to regular good use.

For us kids, that little house was such a joy. The sunporch was our bedroom, complete with bunk beds. The adults had the real bedroom, and the one and only bathroom served us all. The windows in the sunroom had child-proof locks, except for one. It took us about an hour our first night there to find which window could be opened, and we did. The problem was getting back inside because that window was too far off the ground.

When we had to knock on the front door to be let back inside, our parents immediately fitted that window with a tamper-proof lock. But we could still climb over the back fence and head for the park or slide down to the river to fish. We never got caught again nor did we catch any fish. Safety pins as hooks don’t work very well.

Our next move took us to New England and our favorite house of all. She was an older Craftsman-style dwelling with lots of personality. Her rooms were spacious, her entrance gracious, and she boasted a lovely staircase to the second floor. There also was a rather narrow, dark rear staircase that made for a terrific sneak-out-of-the-house escape route. It led into the huge, old kitchen equipped with a sink, a stove that was both electric and wood fired, and an ancient ice box.

Our poor mother had tears in her eyes when she saw that kitchen. Dad’s promise of a new refrigerator and stove kept Mom from running out the front door.

We lived in that lovely old place for almost five years, and we all cried when we had to move. Years later I went back to see her, and she seemed happy with her new family. But as I stood admiring her fresh paint, I felt a wave of warmth wrap around me like a hug. She remembered.


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