Before There Was Me: Part 3 (The House)
I’d like to take a moment to thank my parents for making my story an easy one to tell. I say “easy” because when they picked their nest, they stuck with it — and that has made dividing my life into chapters really simple. Well, at least for this particular part of the story!
After my parents were married, they moved into the apartment building next door. The green one.
But let’s not get ahead of the story.
They called the nice little apartment home for almost a year after they married. They started their family there- and, they started house-hunting. Because when you’re young newlyweds with your first baby on the way, the thing to do is to find a permanent nest.
They shopped and shopped, quickly tiring of the monotony of open house after open house. In the Spring of ’78, they were done. And the house next door to the (green) apartment they called “home” went up for sale.
It was a large, square yellowish house on the corner with ~6 bedrooms. I don’t know a lot of the details of the house at that point because they had done a lot of remodeling by the time I came around. All in all, as of today, the house has potential for up to 11 bedrooms if you count the attic and the basement, 3 full baths, kitchen, living room, and ample staircases. (Unfortunately, actual closet space and organizational space equals just about nil.)
Yes, it is what I like to call a monstrosity.
Back to the house itself… I say “potential” for 11 bedrooms because some of the rooms aren’t exactly designed to be bedrooms, but in a pinch, you could convert them. There could be up to 2 in the attic, up to 4 in the upstairs, there are 3 on the main floor and up to two in the basement.
The upstairs houses a room that used to be a kitchen. My parents rented the upstairs to college students to help pay the mortgage. These students would rent a private room and share the kitchen and bathroom. The only thing I have to say about this is that it was absolutely disgusting. They were college students. They didn’t have cleaning skills. When the last one left, my parents were left with a trash heap of a kitchen and bathroom up there. The bathroom was promptly cleaned, painted and tiled and it looks pretty decent now. Decades later — to this day — the kitchen looks just the same as it did all those years ago when the last renter left. (In all fairness, it was gross. I don’t blame anybody for closing the door and forgetting about it.)
Mom says they bought the house because they were tired of shopping. I don’t blame them. I probably would have done the same thing. (The “moving next door” phenomenon seems to be a genetic thing — a few months ago, I vacated the basement apartment in favor of the upstairs apartment in my building. It makes for a quick, easy move.)
Mom (almost) singlehandedly moved them into the house, even though she was soon to give birth to her first baby.
When they moved in to the house, there were only two bedrooms on the main floor. When I was a little girl, my parents added a third bedroom to accommodate their growing family. We ended up being 7 people living in 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen and living room.
This doesn’t work very well. The boys tended to take forever in the bathroom. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.