Living The Seasons

I mentioned earlier that I was taking a class on writing personal essays from Sheila Bender.  The feedback has been very good, both from Sheila and from my fellow classmates.  A great deal of effort has gone into describing what each of us is doing right and what can use improvement.

The first essay was to be descriptive.  We were asked what person or place do we know well and have strong feelings about?  For this, I wrote about my childhood home:

Picture of my childhood home taken from the bottom of the driveway

I lived nearly my entire childhood in the same house. It was a large brown sprawling single story house, a former farm with a large dog kennel in the back. My parents added more rooms, a garage, a playhouse, and a barn. They put pine paneling in the family room, replaced metal kitchen cabinets with real wood, and enclosed the patio.

Summers were hot and boring. There were no children close by that we could play with – just three boys who my Mom felt were way too wild, especially after they’d tied my sister to a tree to play cowboys and Indians.

Family room where people watched TV and the cat watched for mice on the beams (remember, this was farm country)

My sister and I spent our time in the above ground pool, our bodies getting brown as we floated on inner tubes or put on our swimming goggles to swim along the bottom looking for make-believe treasures. Each day we hiked down our gravel driveway to get the mail, then stopped halfway up under the big fir trees to see if our weekly Scholastic Magazine had come. If it did, we’d sit there in the itchy grass, the sun scorching our necks as we put our heads together to read the latest issue.

Evenings were spent chasing fireflies. There were so many of them in the country – it seemed hundreds lit the night sky. I could scoop my hand through the air and catch them with no effort. After collecting enough of them, I’d watch them through the glass jar, their light winking off and on, before finally letting them loose and starting all over again.

The school year wasn’t much better. I didn’t live in town like the other children and seldom played with them after school. Time after school was spent feeding the dogs or cleaning up after them, doing homework, or listening to my mother and grandmother arguing yet again. The arguments ran a familiar track – too much criticism, jealousy over who got more attention, what my uncle did or did not do wrong this time.

I'm with my grandmother in the backyard

My husband also lived most of his life in the same house, several miles from me. Although he lived in town, he too felt trapped. He didn’t have many friends in school to play with, his parents were busy with one new baby after another, and there was little of interest to a small boy who couldn’t wander too far from the house.

When we married, we didn’t want to stay in the same town and moved 15 miles away. We moved several times the first decade of our marriage, first a small fixer-upper, then a medium fixer-upper and finally a bigger fixer-upper. We saw no value in staying put – it didn’t serve our childhood well. We wanted more distance from our neighbors, more quiet, and bigger rooms to hold our passions.

Then we started moving around the country, eventually living in 8 states and 13 different homes.

Family room during Christmas

I will share in another post about moving so much and how my husband and I made a home wherever we were at, incorporating parts of earlier blog entries.

12 Replies to “My Childhood Home”

  1. HI Nancy,
    This is my favorite post yet. I really enjoyed hearing about all the details of your childhood, and you pack some very serious background stuff in there too that make me want to learn more. I lived in one house for most of my childhood, and my kids have spent their entire childhood living in one house, albeit on the opposite side of the country from where I grew up. But I guess, in spite of my love of travel, that makes me out to be something of a homebody. I can’t imagine making all those moves! I look forward to reading more or your posts!

    1. Thanks Naomi! I always appreciate your notes. I’m not sure why WordPress is bringing that one up so much – it wasn’t much loved when I put it out there, which was part of why I never finished the rest of it. It’s incomplete though and I should finish it off, even if it is two years later!

      Moving around hasn’t been easy, but it was also fun to see different parts of the country. I don’t think we would have ever done that if it wasn’t for my job. But we managed and thrived regardless.

  2. Well written post about your childhood home. I loved the cowboys and indians story. It was lonely for kids out in the rural areas in those days. I think that’s why I made up stories in my head all the time when I was growing up on the farm. I made believe I had friends and adventures.

    1. I’d noticed your comments in your posts about that and forgot to leave you a comment. I do think that when you grow up in a rural area, you need a good imagination to keep entertained.

  3. Hi again, we’ve been missing our blogs of late. :(

    Great story and pics! The family room was truly one of a kind. :)

    1. It was so weird with all the animal heads and the occassional mouse on the overhead beams. My parents never had to worry about my boy toy and I staying there by ourselves when they were out. We were out the door right after them!

  4. Really love this post with the pictures. It is always neat to hear about someone’s background and childhood. Thanks for sharing!

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