Next on the Personal History questions is, “Think about your house growing up. What was it like?”
Well, I have lived in about 20 different places in my lifetime. Some significant memories from our first home include the typical shag carpet, the avocado green appliances, and everything had eagles on it. My parents really liked eagles, I guess. My dad had a brown leather recliner, and a little side table/lamp combo that was the most unstable piece of furniture ever made. I also remember how his favorite coffee mug had no handle.
Our second home was just about brand new. It had hardwood floors that I used to love to slide around on in my socks. The kitchen had custom wood cabinets, orange countertops and brown appliances. It sounds hideous, but it was rather nice. We had a trash compactor, which was kinda cool, and we also had our first microwave! We had a huge brick fireplace in the living room. We had a HUGE yard. I had a tire swing, a jungle gym, and I got my first dog, Lurch, named after my favorite person in the Addams Family 😉 Oh, and it had a long stone driveway. I can still hear the sound of my dad’s truck when he would leave for work in the morning..
We lived in a small apartment for a short while when we moved to West Virginia. Then, we rented a big old house that had beautiful woodwork, a second staircase that led to the kitchen, giant windows (at least to an 8 year old!) It was dreadfully cold in winter. I don’t think it was insulated well, and it was heated by a furnace in the basement that blew hot air up through a big grate in the middle of the dining room floor. It was not sufficient enough, and winter that year really sucked. The house also had pocket doors, which was so cool. My cousin owns the house now. It is neat to visit 🙂
We moved out the road that Spring to another rental. It was a really nice place. Gorgeous woodwork. It was plunked at the base of the mountain, so the backyard was basically all uphill. We had several apple trees, and chickens. We had a nice patio and a wonderful view of the Cheat River that was just down over the hill. We had lots of BBQs and family get togethers at that house. I watched Princess Diana marry Prince Charles, got totally spooked by the “V” miniseries, and used to sit on the stairs to sneak-watch episodes of Dallas as my mom watched. I got my first cat while living there. My Uncle Lee brought me a kitten one night. We named her Cuddles. Then, a few months later, I was outside sitting under the dogwood tree at the edge of the hill, watching the river, when Cuddles joined me. And I noticed that ‘she’ had troublepuffs. She, was actually a HE!!
We moved to Warfordsburg, PA after that, to a farmette. It was a lovely old house. It was in the middle of nowhere. I loved it. It had lots of woodwork, and really funky wallpaper. Our color tv died, so we set a small black and white tv on it. I remember one REALLY hot day watching the movies ‘Piranha’, and ‘Gargoyles’, which terrified me at the time. Our only summer there, we had a locust swarm. To this day I have never seen anything quite like it. We had a coal/woodstove in the kitchen. It was huge. One half was used for the wood or coal. The other side was a gas stove. It had a nice big porch out front. There are certain times in the Fall, when the air will smell a certain way, and I am reminded of those days of sitting on the porch in the late day sun, with the air smelling the same way. Our driveway was mainly red clay, it was great for adding to my mud pies.
We moved to Cape Cod after that and rented a little cottage on the water. It was amazing. The house was always full of sand. I spent most of my time outside, even though it was Fall/Winter and it was always windy and cold. I was always down on the beach. The canal entrance was there, so we got to watch all the fishing boats and yachts and larger ships/boats coming in and out. I rode my bike all over that neighborhood. The house was not insulated and did not have heat. We had two kerosene heaters, so I always stunk like kerosene. It kinda sucked. My bedroom was dark and I didn’t like it. We had a HUGE living room window that looked out on the ocean. When the tide would come in, it would some times sink the picnic table and my dad would have to go dig it out of the sand.
In January of that year, we moved into a brand new house that my Aunt had built. It was very close to the first house we lived in. It still smelled of fresh paint, wood, and carpet. It had giant, wood cathedral ceilings in the living room/dining room/kitchen. It had a huge wrap around deck. My bedroom was bright and large and wonderful. The carpeting was super plush. I had a fishtank. My Atari was in there, and so, my dad was often in there too. He loved playing video games 🙂 It was a beautiful house, with one major drawback. The property used to flood during heavy rains. It flooded the basement. A lot.
After that, we moved to Dartmouth. My parents bought my great uncle’s house, because he had to go into a nursing home. It was a teeny one bedroom house on a dead-end street, on the water, with an enclosed front porch that became my bedroom. I really didn’t like it. At all. But then we started tearing into it and making it our own. We redid the whole place. We had a huge deck on the back of the house. My parents told me that I could do up my bedroom however I wanted! I was 13. I told them I wanted to paint my walls black and splash white paint all over the place.
That got a hard NO.
So, I went with knotty pine walls and a seafoam green carpet. (Hey..it was 1986…lol)
We had so many celebrations and birthdays and cookouts on that deck. I met my brother for the first time there (long story!) I went through the drama of my first few boyfriends there, and eventually prepared to get married while living there. My dad’s health took a turn while living there. We never would have guessed that he only had about 10 years left… Our neighbors were great. The family across from us always had a big, big thing every 4th of July. It was always so much fun. Tents everywhere. Fireworks, boat rides, fishing trips, etc. I made the best friends of my life living there. The memories are plentiful, and so that house will ALWAYS hold a very special place in my heart.
I moved out at 17, and moved into an apartment with my friend Amy. It was an old place and we were up on the 3rd floor. Amy had been living there for a bit, so all of the furniture was hers. I just brought my bedroom. In hindsight, I give thanks for nothing bad ever happening. I put my waterbed up in that third floor bedroom of mine. By the Grace of God, I did not end up in the basement. It was across the street from a bar formerly known as “Big Dans”.. google that if you will, “Big Dans Bar in New Bedford, Ma.” We used to sit out on the little porch roof and watch people tumbling out of the bar, fighting and brawling all over the parking lot. We sure saw some shit. We saw some dude get tossed in a dumpster. We saw a guy get stabbed. We watched some drunk girl try to run over her boyfriend with her car … craziness. And next door, was a church. So, just outside my bedroom window, was a church tower. Bells rang right at 7 a.m. every morning. Oy. Shortly after Amy moved on her with boyfriend and child, I moved back home. The apartment building was torn down a short while later due to being “structurally unsafe” … As I said, by the Grace of God!!
I married, and moved up the road from my folks, into a 3rd floor apartment in my husbands family’s home. It was a gorgeous apartment. I absolutely LOVED it. It had beautiful woodwork, nice hardwood floors. It sat upon a hill and had a great view. We could see the ocean, and I could see the roof of my parents house from my kitchen and bathroom windows! It sucked having to haul the groceries up, and the laundry to the basement. But, it was a very nice place to be for our first (ha..and only) place.
I moved to Florida and crashed with my parents. I met my hubby a year later. Two months later, I moved in with him, into his tiny apartment. It was an okay place. But we were jammed in there after moving my stuff in. So we started looking for a rental. And we found the most perfect place.
We rented a small two bedroom, one bath house from a lady named Colleen. She was wonderful, and quickly became a friend. It had a fenced yard for the dogs. The second bedroom became my ‘office’, and my cat’s room. It was small, but larger than the apartment. We had SO much fun in this place. It had a covered patio. We bought a dart board and spent most nights throwing darts. We restored hubby’s old motorcycle on that patio. We gained another cat while living there. I had to put my 15 year old cat to sleep while there. And we ended up adopting a sweet girl I had seen on Petfinder and just had to have.
We spent many hours sitting out back, slow BBQing chicken, and talking and laughing. We were both on bowling leagues back then. We used to love having friends over for football games and such. It was a great place to grow our relationship. He asked me to marry him while we were living there. That was when we decided to look for a home to buy..
And that brings me to the Tampa house. This one is hard for me to talk about, so I will stick to the good parts. We got a realtor and went and looked at about 8 houses. All of them had something major that made us say “No…” Just as we were about to call it a day, she said she wanted to show us one more. It was currently pending an offer, but she didnt think the people would be able to get the financing. So, we went. And I walked in and thought, “Not bad, carpet has got to go.. and the kitchen is hideous..” and then I walked to the sliders and looked out back. I hollered for hubby. “BABE! This is the place!”
I had seen it online and had saved it. However, I had not realized that was where we were until I saw the pool. The pool and the backyard were an absolute dream come true. We walked outside together and just stood there. He grabbed my hand, and I looked at him and said, “This all makes the ugly kitchen okay! haha. I would live in a bloody tent if it meant having this backyard!!” He agreed with me. We fell in love.
A few days later the realtor emails me and says that the other folks couldn’t secure financing, and wanted to know if we wanted to make an offer. I was at work. I almost threw up on my desk. Hah. I called hubby, and he said YES! So, she came over that night with the paper work. And the rest is history. We moved in a month later. We redid a lot. All new windows and doors, new AC system, all new floors, painted all the interior, and redid the master bathroom. We got married out back, under one of our 7 palm trees, beside the pool. We lost my dad and Hubby’s brother while living there. We got pregnant and brought our kiddo home. We spent countless hours in the pool, or beside it on our picnic table playing dominos. We spent HOURS on the back patio throwing darts, while watching CSI and Dateline episodes on this little tv we kept out there. We used to watch the Stanley Cup from the pool. We had family and friends over all the time for cook outs and football games. We even had some friends of ours move in for a couple months while their condo was being remodeled. It was a lot of fun. It was amazing and wonderful and definitely the best time of my life, until it wasn’t. And I will just stop there.
After much turmoil and drama, we ended up at my moms for a spell, and then had the opportunity to move to West Virginia, into my grandparents home. It was very odd to be in that house, with my stuff and not theirs. We were only there for 10 months, when family drama forced my hand and we had to look for some place else to live. My Nan and Pops house was always filled with love and laughter and wonderful meals and gatherings and holidays. Oh how I loved everything about it. Being there for those 10 months was a gift. And honest-to-God gift. I am so grateful we had the time that we did there. I had big hopes and dreams for that house, and I am a bit bitter that it didn’t work out, but such is life.
We found the house in Terra Alta for sale, however we were in no way able to buy it. So, my mom did. We paid the mortgage on it, always, but we needed her credit to get it because ours was in the shitter. I lived in that house longer than any other place I have lived. My kid basically grew up there. Hubby and I have had incredible highs, and some incredible lows, in that house. Oh, and then there is Charles. He is the shadow that I would see almost nightly. I know hubby thought I was nuts, until he put a sensor in the hallway. When you walk by, it turns on a nightlight in the hall. It is up on a tv stand so the cats and dog wouldn’t set it off. Well, I would see the shadow head to the hallway, and it would set off the sensor and turn on the light!!
My mother came to live with us permanently. She did a lot to the house. We put new windows and doors in, she put in a new HVAC system. We painted, and she had one whole side of the house gutted and redone. She also redid the bathroom. We had a huge fireplace. It made winters so nice to sit and watch the fire. We had many, many birthdays and gatherings over the years. Ten years of memories! We were busting at the seams though. Hubby had worked very hard to repair our credit, and the time was right. We had looked at several houses, but none seemed to click. Until we came to look at this one. My sister currently lives in the house now, with Charles 🙂
This house isn’t perfect. I still want a bigger kitchen LOL. And we lack closet space. Those are really my only issues. This place is wonderful and it is “us”, and we have amazing views. Mom and I spend ridiclous amounts of time on the porch. The view is just stunning. The breeze is wonderful, and we get to watch the deer play all day long. This place is warm and inviting, and I look forward to our second holidays coming up. I hope our friends will come and visit and spend some time with us. But, I dunno, so far, no one has. It is once again, just us.
We have many things we would like to do here. We have a list. And we are just taking things one step at a time.
And holy cow, my hands hurt, so if you read all of this.. God Bless! LOL