This is week 5 of a 15 month writing project. This week’s writing prompt for the Book of Me focuses on childhood homes. This writing challenge is provided by Julie Goucher from the blog Angler’s Rest. Coincidently, I just took a big trip this summer to show off my childhood homes to my children. We stopped by three of the four to take pictures.
When did you leave home?
Where was it?
Where did you move to?…
Was it rented or owned? – with parents/Grandparents
Was it inherited
What was it like – describe it – each room.
Were there a favorite room?
Is there anything you particularly remember from the house?
The road & area
During her childhood Deborah lived in 4 different houses.
Her first house was in Rockport, Massachusetts, also known as the Methodist church parsonage. This address appears on her birth certificate, 17 Hale Street. The house was built in 1800, so it turns out that this was the oldest house that Deborah ever lived in. She lived in this house for almost three years. One impression Deborah had of this house was that it was located at the top of a hill, at the end of the street.
Her parents did not own this house as it was provided by the church for their spiritual leader. Some of the furniture was old and second hand, having been used by previous occupants. The only memories that remain of this house are the photographs. They moved from this home to their new parish soon after the birth of Deborah’s brother.
The next home was in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. As the first, this was also a parsonage for the Methodist church which was located nearby at the end of the street. This home was built in the early 1950s, a two story structure with a basement and an attic. All the bedrooms were on the second floor. The fourth tiny bedroom was used as David’s office. A large porch stretched across the front. The main floor consisted of an entry way (with staircase), living room, dining room and kitchen. All the rooms had two doors so it was possible to run in a giant circle throughout the rooms. In the 1970s, a large lilac hedge separated the property from the neighbor’s yard. The lilac has always been one of Deborah’s favorite flowers, due in part to these childhood bushes. Another contributing factor was the Nancy Drew book The Mystery at the Lilac Inn.
In the backyard was a large tree. The tree’s trunk branched about 4-5 feet above the ground. It was one of Deborah’s favorite pastimes to climb this tree or to sit in the trunk’s fork. While living in this home, Deborah attended pre-school and started elementary school. She took her first dance lessons and learned to ride the shiny red bike she received for her fifth birthday. She got her first kitten, an all black male that was mistakenly named Queenie before its sex was discovered. It was also the last home in which her family lived as a single unit. This was her home for less than four years.
During second grade, in the spring, Deborah, her mother and her brother moved to a small ranch home on the west side of Worcester. Of all four homes, the house on Greybert Lane deserves the grand title of childhood home. She lived in this home from second grade through ninth grade. The house was located on an acre parcel of land. The bulk of the land was wooded with a small creek, Tatnuck Brook, forming one of the boundaries. The house was located at the end of a cul-de-sac. Across the street, behind the neighbor’s houses was Patch Reservoir. In the winter, one of the neighbors allowed the neighborhood children to cut through their property to access an old dock for ice skating on the lake. The summers were filled with playing in the woods and brook. The house wasn’t particularly special, a cookie cutter ranch. Deborah’s grandfather was recruited to help “finish” the basement which became a combination play room and guest bedroom. By the time Deborah reached high school, the house had grown too small.
The fourth childhood home was also on the west side of Worcester, but closer to the high school. It was located up near the top of a hill. Although the back yard was wooded, the lot was smaller and there was no longer a brook in the back. When the house was purchased the second story was unfinished. Again, Deborah’s grandfather was recruited to frame the rooms in the upstairs although several contractors were hired to attend to the drywall, wiring and plastering. Deborah and her brother had the rooms on the second floor to themselves. For the first few years, there wasn’t any heating upstairs. Deborah had a room almost double the size of her previous room and the closet was a walk in room beneath the eaves. This is the home where Deborah lived when she graduated from high school. She only lived there continuously for three and half years.
Deborah left home at age eighteen to attend college. She only ever came home for vacations after that, with the exception of the year that she left graduate school. She came home one last time for about six months. She met her future husband during that time and never looked back.
“for their spiritual leader” Oh what another era that was. Long ago and far away. That room with me reclining in the chair by the wondow…that’s the room where I took that wonderful photo of you, your face captured in the mirror. 🙂
How wonderful to have a grandfather that could help out so much. I love the idea of ice skating…never really a possibility in hot old Australia (except for an indoor rink) 🙂
My grandparents would generally come out over the Christmas holidays. My mother would have a honey-do-list for him a mile long. He grew up on a farm and learned how to work with wood at a young age. He was always making stuff. I have a doll’s cradle that he made a few years before he passed and lots of picture frames.