POETIC BLOOMINGS

POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.

WELCOME HOME – PROMPT #68

Okay, we’ll leave the self examination for the moment and look into our origins. Everybody comes from somewhere,  it’s true. But we’re focusing our microscope a bit more finitely. For this week’s prompt, we’re going home!

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part3: Welcome Home Marie and I ask you to write your poem using your childhood home as inspiration. Be descriptive and paint your imagery as colorfully as you can. What color was your house? How was the neighborhood? Did you have a favorite room; hiding places? Wall paper or paint? – What memory of your home is the strongest for you? We will deal with the people in your home in later prompts. Right now, just give us a glimpse of where you lived. Include all you need to make us feel  at home.

MARIE ELENA’S ROOTS:

BELMONT AVENUE

She was a two-story, humble abode;
Up in years, but still
She wore white well.

I don’t recall the kitchen much
Before Dad’s home-made solid oak cabinets, and Mom’s
Fruit-dappled wallpaper with appealing colors
That showcased the oak.
I also can’t quite recall the walled staircase
Before Dad opened it up, and added an elegant
Curve.
Then there’s my bedroom, of which I have
No recollection, pre-
Flamboyantly pink flowered wallpaper
Of my five-year-old big-girl choosing, that
My parents tolerated, and my Grandpa
Patiently hung.

I’m quite certain her front porch
Had limited personality until
Our porch swing was hung
And summer nights meant staying up late,
Pajama-clad, swinging and singing
And chatting and waving
To neighbors that happened by.

While some things were lovingly changed,
Others were equally as lovingly allowed to just be.
There was the dining room wallpaper mural –
An elegant home
With winding creek and weeping willows,
Where I used to sit for hours,
Placing myself in such a charming and picturesque scene.

What I truly treasured about our home, though,
Was her setting –
Comfortably settled among the homes of
Loving aunts, uncles, and eleven cousins.

© – Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S HOME BASE:

WHERE OUR HEARTS BELONGED

Home.
It is where the heart is.
We had left her years ago
but our hearts remained; an empty shell

where the essence of us resides.
They can cover her in vinyl,
but in the final determination
the combination of sunny yellow

and a mellow burnt umber trimming.
had her brimming with love.
A two-family dwelling with
full cellar. A fellow could find sanctuary

with nary a care; there was always family there.
A room paneled and trimmed
(all on the carpenter’s whim)
Bunks and captain’s beds,

where we were born and bred.
It remains in my heart and head,
where my memories come.
I’ll always her call home.

© – Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

It amuses me that we both chose to personify our homes – females, both. 😉 ~Marie Elena

Why not, home was a loving and nurturing place. 😉 Walt

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247 thoughts on “WELCOME HOME – PROMPT #68

  1. LESSONS LEARNED

    Seven people in a tiny house.
    One bathroom and five women.
    Compromises needed to be made;
    We learned consideration.

    I slept in a triple bunk bed.
    I was at the top,
    so near the ceiling
    That rolling over was risky.

    Seven people in a tiny house
    brought us closer,
    made us aware that
    what we do affects others.

    We are older today,
    but we still live the lessons
    we learned from each other
    being seven in a tiny house.

  2. Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

    Marie and Walt – Your homes sound like wonderful places to have grown up in. Am sure that there are a number of us that will need to select ‘one of several’ to concentrate our thoughts on. Unless we choose to write of ‘home’ and not the dwelling place…but, you want a look at a house too. 🙂 Hummmm

    • Good morning, Marjory! Yes, we are looking for the attributes of the dwelling place itself. If there was more than one, feel free to choose one, speak of them all in one poem, or write a poem for each. As Walt says, we will be writing about the people in our lives later … for this exercise, we are to write about our childhood dwelling.

      Go for it! 😀

      Marie Elena

    • Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

      Hummmm – I just noted that it appears that the East coast has a different Aug calandar than we have on the West coast – where Aug 1 is a Wednesday. :0 🙂 🙂

      • Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

        I appoligize – I am conditioned to see Sunday as the first day of the week – yours is set up with Monday – That is as little as it takes to throw me off. Your right. 🙂

  3. I am having problems getting links to my WordPress to work so shall double up and post the link and the poem.

    Through small remembered rooms

    I searched, for what the child

    called home, in distant days

    and darkened nights;

    lost houses where we lived.

    As strange became familiar,

    as cool walls warmed and stretched,

    to hold the grimy handprints,

    of children as they slept.

    Beyond the grasp of solid wall,

    the garden groped and fell,

    into a jungled bursting;

    where dreams could live instead.

    Was home the narrow, sagging bed,

    the couches worn and tired,

    the table, green and laminex;

    the wardrobe where I hid?

    Or was it furrowed brows,

    slow drifting smiles and shouts,

    of adults with no time to spare;

    of worries deep and loud?

    Perhaps there was no house to hold,

    nowhere which held its place,

    and yet the home stood deep within;

    as solid, gifted grace.

    Through small remembered rooms

    I searched, for what the child

    called home, in distant days

    and darkened nights;

    lost houses where we lived.

    Poetic Blooming prompt – memories of childhood and home.

    http://poeticbloomings.com/2012/08/12/welcome-home-prompt-68/#respond

  4. Marie and Walt, what evocative images and how lucky to have them.

  5. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Lovely homes, Walt and Marie!

  6. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    (Mine probably won’t come to me all at once in poetic form, so I shall begin with my favorite place)

    Our Kitchen

    We
    all still
    go to find
    our nourishment
    there. 🙂 !

  7. Hero of the Neighborhood

    When I was a child of four who spent
    Her days imaging games with the
    Neighborhood kids and a special friend
    Anna Marie, the girl next door
    Our yards separated by a prickly hedge
    You had to walk around to the side-
    Walk out in front. An old neighborhood
    Even then, in the days of the great
    Depression when every one was poor.

    The morning I remember, Anna Marie and
    I were playing in our yard. My mother was
    On the porch washing clothes – she used the
    Old community washing machine that had
    A tub and wringer and not much else…Suddenly

    We heard the screams, perhaps we screamed
    Ourselves, running to the porch where my
    Mother’s arm had been seized by the wringer
    And would not let go
    All the neighbors ran outside

    Including Officer Feeney who had stopped
    To have a cup of tea with his sister, the
    Mother of Anna Marie. When he heard the
    Commotion outside he didn’t take the time

    To run around the side walk – no, what he
    Did was leap the hedge – sailed over in a
    Single bound, unplugged the machine and
    Set my mother free! What a hero! I
    Remember how the neighbors cheered
    While I clung to my mother, crying,

    Later, I stood next to the hedge. It was
    As tall as me. I don’t remember the
    Cameras, the newspaper interview.
    But when I read of Superman who
    Could leap
    Tall buildings in a single bound I
    Remember Officer Feeney
    who did it first.

  8. hinges

    doors are not sentimental
    they simply open and close
    (but this door sang)

    sang on its hinges the day I
    came home in cloth, and again
    for a thousand pairs of feet,

    a war, a baptism, a death
    in counterpoint to my father’s
    typewriter, with the piano

    my mother coaxed to life
    sang softly for my gran
    at her last and loud for

    our innocent wedding day
    last of all a farewell dirge,
    over tea chests in the empty hall

    doors are not sentimental
    they simply open and close
    (but this door sang)

  9. No Family Home

    I wished I had a place to call home
    a nook or cranny to call all my own.
    Instead our location changed like the wind
    my family home…there’s nowhere to begin.

  10. “Numbers”

    “What are the neighbors of five?”
    A teacher asked a six-year old me.
    “There’s one girl across the hall…”
    She laughed – it was about numbers,
    She was expecting “four” and “six”,
    But to me five meant family – us,
    Two parents, one grandma, one sister,
    One little me.

    There were other numbers, too:
    Fifty square meters (not quite),
    Three rooms, one tiny kitchen,
    Fifth floor, four windows
    All facing one busy city street
    Lined up with hundreds of trees;
    Countless buses, “buses with horns,”*
    And all sorts of cars swishing by
    (I used to watch them for hours
    Counting red cars.
    Always red.)

    Numbers changed with years,
    But always growing, never decreasing,
    “Four generations under one roof,
    Six people…and one dog!”
    My mother would proudly say
    At one point.

    The count is different as of today.
    Not because of my babushka’s passing,
    Or me living across the ocean for years,
    But because of my two kids’ decision
    To take their first steps in the narrow hallway
    Of their mother’s childhood home.

    Numbers do change – they grow,
    For whoever has been touched by that place
    Never leaves.

    ———
    “buses with horns” – trolleybuses 🙂

  11. Home

    Mum said ‘we’re moving,’
    leaving the home of my first nine years.
    Two little girls dissolve in tears,
    and then: “We’re going
    to live beside the Thames.”
    The tears changed to cheers –
    Dadsmum’s river, our favourite place.

    Selling the house a traumatic affair;
    potential buyers everywhere,
    turning up a scornful nose
    at each feature we expose,
    throwing out such rude remarks
    about the lack of this or that,
    giving black marks for the tat,
    for art deco decor –
    once fashionable, alas no more.

    Saturday morning, parents shopping,
    a sweet old couple came a-knocking.
    Two little girls in adult mode
    smiling sweetly opened the door.
    Super-saleswomen took the floor
    and ultra graciously they showed
    every feature of our dear abode.

    Here new curtains, there the kitchen,
    freshly painted green and cream,
    – such a modern colour scheme.
    Pantry, cupboards made by Dad,
    nothing left unshown,
    We would be proud – if only we’d known…
    In the garden we praised like mad
    the lawn, each rose, each apple tree.

    ‘We’ll buy it,’ they said with alacrity
    to stunned returning Mum and Dad.
    ‘Such charming children.’
    We were glad but sad
    to leave the only home
    we’d ever known.

  12. Pingback: PART 3 – WELCOME HOME! | Two Voices, One Song

  13. Escrowed Memories
    By: Meena Rose

    I.
    Home
    I’d welcome you to it
    If only I knew which it was.

    II.
    Home
    Breaking bread by candlelight as
    Laughter fills the space with light.

    III.
    Home
    Generous smiles despite
    Leaner times and fearful violence.

    IV.
    Home
    Love, a celebration of life;
    A reservoir of unlimited support.

    V.
    Home
    Gathering around Grandma’s chair as
    She wove tales of magic and delight.

    VI.
    Home
    Grandma’s crochet blanket;
    Each girl helped it grow as she learned the craft.

    VII.
    Home
    My Grandma’s house;
    A structure of stone rooted upon the Earth.

    VIII.
    Home
    My small room tucked beneath a stairwell;
    A place of refuge born out of love.

    IX.
    Home
    My rooftop cot and white cotton bed sheet;
    A gateway to the Heavens.

    X.
    Home
    My Grandma’s ghazals that have lulled me to sleep;
    Weeping compassion over the blood of the rose.

    http://2voices1song.com/2012/08/12/part-3-welcome-home/

  14. Andrea Heiberg on said:

    HOME SWEET HOME

    Morning all over me,
    facing a clover field and
    alerted by its clover smell
    I wanted
    to run in there,
    somewhere,
    for ever.

    And I did.
    The bees
    and the lark
    are here
    with me forever.
    The clover, the air, the mornings
    and Mom and Dad,
    yes.

  15. Walled

    When a childhood home is an ant bed
    red with fire, hot-headed desire turns
    joy to angst. You hide in your
    yellow room, write stories
    about someone else
    hoping to be-
    come yellow
    like the
    walls.

  16. A Country Home

    A little red house on the hill,
    but sometimes pink, white or yellow
    in a neighborhood huddled in a wooded valley
    shared mostly with relatives,
    except for friends to the north.
    In late evenings, when we weren’t allowed
    out of our yards, we’d play on the line.

    We had three acres; half in garden,
    a small wooded area, large yard with
    lots of nut trees, pines and an oak named Charlie.
    One sister said if she died and went to hell,
    they’d hand her a lawn mower.
    The funny thing is, in Dad’s heaven,
    they’d hand him a lawn mower, too.

    With all seven round the kitchen table,
    no one could move except for Dad and me.
    So I was the “gofer” when someone needed
    something from the frig, cupboard or cellar.
    In the corner was a wringer washer.
    With all the jeans out on the line, mom said
    people would think she had five boys, not girls.

    The living room was crammed full
    of furniture plus an upright piano. Watching TV,
    I’d sit on the floor, under the keyboard.
    The walls were decorated with Whitey
    (a head of an albino doe),
    Blacky and Reddy (mounted squirrels) and
    a full gun cabinet. I thought everyone had one.

    The hallway (which seemed long at the time)
    ran out of the living room,
    three bedrooms on the left, a coat closet
    and a bathroom on the front part of the right.
    There was a closet at the end of the hallway
    which housed towels, the Lincoln Library and
    the set of red books including #5: Best Loved Poems.

    Each bedroom was mine at one time.
    Mostly my oldest sister and I shared the back room.
    In the winter, frost decorated the windows.
    We cuddled to keep warm.
    When she got her first job, she bought
    an electric blanket and a record player
    on which she played loud rock music.

    My middle sisters were in the middle room.
    The first room was my parents’
    and for the first few years my younger sister
    slept in a crib then a single bed in the corner.
    And in the plaster, Mum had shaped a teddy bear.
    There was a big closet in the early years
    and to get away I’d go in there and daydream.

  17. This prompt has a magic property – to pull some truly emotional poems from everybody, taken together, the essence of home in all its guises. I had tears in my eyes from reading down the contributions.

  18. Childhood Home

    On kitchen walls of Apartment 2A,
    copper kettles danced across
    tan wallpaper. An open-ended
    wall separated kitchen from
    living room, allowing my sister
    and me to outrace an angry
    mother until we cartooned out,
    like a cat endlessly chasing
    more agile mice. Six years
    apart, we shared a room, were
    ill together, fought together,
    and tried to set up an invisible
    dividing line of ownership,
    which changed on whim
    and whine. My parents worked
    different hours, but we felt
    secure, sure in the knowledge
    that we could knock on any
    of the eight other doors on our floor.
    Neighbors helped each other.
    They were ever vigilant, sometimes
    to a fault, oh, but that was when
    I was older and bolder. Twice
    during summer, families packed
    picnic equipment for an all day
    outing at Valley Stream Park.
    Dad taught all our friends
    to swim, and ride bikes, with
    never a look or word of impatience.
    How I miss that man.

  19. janeshlensky on said:

    Homeplace

    I sat on the kitchen steps of the old house,
    a resurrected hunting cabin moved to the farm
    by great-grandparents, and watched
    carpenters frame out the new house.

    Warned not to go near them, I sat with morning
    sun on my face, my siblings in school, needing work.
    Mama let me stand on a small stool in the old
    kitchen where sinking floors made that a challenge
    and help her make biscuits, knuckling the dough
    on the pan to dimple each biscuit’s top.

    None of us could imagine a new house
    two stories with hardwood floors, a basement,
    and closets in the eaves, connecting the bedrooms
    upstairs where my brother became a monster
    crawling from his closet to ours, scratching
    at the walls beside our bed to frighten my sister.

    New or not, we froze in winter and sweated
    in summer, that farmhouse sagging with each year,
    but it housed seven and sat surrounded
    by acres of a farm in its last generation.

    Behind it, a pond was built when I was small
    with another bigger pond in the hill pasture,
    a creek running between the two, dividing
    pastures and fields where tobacco and corn
    grew, gardens and fruits. Cows, dogs, cats,
    goats, horses, a donkey, rabbits, deer, we
    raised or claimed them all, loved them, ate them.

    Craggy remnants of my grandfather’s fruit trees
    remained, ancient apples and pears, peaches and pecans,
    with woodlands girding it all providing hiding places
    where a girl could get away but still see the house
    without being seen. Adequate space for dreaming.
    Edgewood Farm, my family’s home place for centuries,
    farmed by my people until now, the last
    of many divisions among siblings, the end of an era.

  20. The House was Big

    The house was big
    and I was little.
    It had an enormous front door
    and was three stories high.

    On the third floor
    were renters I either
    never met or cannot
    remember.

    Each Saturday I helped
    my mother dust both
    the “wigwork” and railings
    of the winding stairs.

    Hidden in a corner
    of that old house was
    a tiny room that held
    my dolls and other toys.

  21. Pingback: Growing up on Encanto Drive | Hoofprints In My Garden

  22. I think this prompt was the most difficult one yet for the memoir project. There was just too much of home to do it justice in one poem! Ah well. I tried.

    The Castle

    “A man’s home is his castle,” they say.
    Well, so is a child’s.
    It didn’t look like one, of course,
    With chips in the white paint,
    Cracks in the linoleum, and
    Picture windows so drafty
    We always knew which way
    The wind was blowing without
    Looking out at the tattered flag
    Flying over the “football field”
    Where many a family soccer game
    Had runs its energetic course.

    I never thought much of my tiny room
    With the slanting ceiling I could touch
    When standing on my captain’s bed,
    Though I spent many a night searching
    For new creatures and retracing old ones
    In the jungle of brown and yellow flowers
    Papering my bedroom walls.

    I paid little mind to the broad expanse
    Of deep brown carpet
    Where my brothers and I
    Let our imaginations roam
    With the aid of a distressing mess
    Of toys and an overflowing shelf
    Of books, from Dr. Seuss
    To well-loved encyclopedias.

    The spacious basement,
    With its cold floors and shadows
    Which I knew concealed witches,
    Was not a place I would have
    Ever claimed to love,
    Despite the hours I spent there
    Happily irritating the boys
    While they built wooden boats,
    And despite that one delicious game
    Of hide-and-seek by flashlight
    With a multitude of cousins.

    I took for granted the rickety swing-set
    With the sun-bleached alligator
    At the centre of its delightfully
    (To my mother, frightfully)
    Shaky infrastructure
    Put to the test by cousins
    Who should have outgrown it
    Years and years ago.

    I always thought I wanted
    To live in a castle.
    I realize now
    That once upon a time,
    I did.

  23. Pingback: “The Castle” « A Particle of Difference

  24. The Blue Grass Trailer Park

    Blue Grass, the Trailer Park; a crowded court
    where sis and I grew up; drew lines in sand
    our summers were a hopscotching cavort
    while lis’ning to the sound of Dorsey’s band.

    Our home a cozy place for count of five;
    a closet kitchen and 3 rooms beside.
    A paneled sandy floor where roaches hide.
    A mile from beach where Royal Palms reside

    My Daddy brought us here in forty-four
    and we were those who lived ‘across the tracks’
    from untold wealth and glamor I adored;
    the bridge to Palm Beach minutes from my shack.

    The Blue Grass Trailer Park a name not real;
    so close to other worlds that were surreal.

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      Love this: “…Our home a cozy place for count of five…” !

    • “across the tracks” says a great deal, doesn’t it? Wonderfully captured, Jacqueline!

      Marie Elena

    • Isn’t it funny how system of rails meant to connect people and places were so discriminating in dividing people. But apparently the division was in people’s minds. Our houses (homes) are held in high regard for the most part, our memories should be inpenetrable. A nice piece, Jacqueline. W.

      • Would have to disagree with you the railroad tracks a metaphor for something ONLY in people’s minds. Where I grew up, it was a very physical, real “separateness” where you were judged by something other than your inherent value. Palm Beach, back by money and power, made it impossible for you to join their “club”. But there were other lines of demarcation; you could be filthy rich but if you were a certain race, you were also ‘uninvited’.
        What do you mean when you say our “memories should be impenetrable”? Thanks. Jackie

        • I guess I meant… “in the SMALLNESS of people’s minds”. The track were nothing but a delineation; a fence. If you’ve formed good memories, people can’t take those away from you if you don’t allow them to. I lived on the”other side” of the tracks in a middle class steel town. We shared that ethic and divisions were very few. The tracks didn’t foist that determination on you. Ignorance did. Some lessons come at a great price. – Walt

    • Even though you were across the tracks, it sounds like you had a slice of heaven.

  25. The House on Hamilton

    In the center of the small square house
    was a small square room with a square
    metal grate, open squares, over a blue
    gas flame. The pilot. The house was never
    cold, and all the house’s warmth came
    from the square in the floor in the hall.

    Years later, white squared lines on my right knee transcribed
    the plan of our house, a hall with five doors. In the winter of 50-51,

    when I was three, an ice storm covered the world with an inch of heavy glass
    and froze it still. Nothing, for days, moved. Only smoke. There were no lights.

    My mother, Mary–Mary Leslie, Mary Les, called
    Pete by her brother and sister and friends–Mama lifted

    the metal frame from the grate in the hall
    and cooked for us on the bare blue flame.

    • Wow. What images are capture here, Barbara, as well as emotion. Bravo!

      One of my earliest memories was of an ice storm when we lived outside Columbus, Ohio. I was still in diapers, yet I remember the beautiful golden glow of sunset on ice-covered EVERYTHING, and I remember appreciating the beauty of it. I also remember sleeping all together (mom and dad, and my sister and me) … probably to keep warm enough.

      Love your poem!
      Marie Elena

    • I like how you focused on one memory and created a home.

  26. Here is mine:

    Growing up on Encanto Drive

    Our house was creamy white
    with blue grey trim
    (like my mother’s eyes).
    A single story ranch style,
    brand new when we moved in;
    a quiet street corner house
    in a quiet town
    with neatly mowed grass
    and tall shady trees.
    In my bedroom
    I played horses
    wrote
    and read
    gazing out the window
    to the rugged San Gabriel mountains.

    In later years,
    my room was a refuge
    from discord with my father;
    hurled, hurtful words ricocheted
    in the family room.
    I retreated and got lost on
    John Denver’s country roads
    and in the ballads of Bread.

    Gone were the carefree summers
    of childhood,
    when we gathered plums together.
    Now I was careening into adulthood,
    my skateboard clacking
    over the sidewalk cracks;
    my oak tree roots
    pushing against boundaries.

  27. “If you’ve formed good memories, people can’t take those away from you if you don’t allow them to”. (Walt)

    But I hope I did not imply in my poem that I let the world take away fond memories of a childhood (if any) because of my comparing the huge difference between my world and another one so close by! I see my early childhood an interesting, stark comparison between my world and the one next door. And that played a large part in motivating me to rise above the squalor; enabling me to compare circumstances. Plus, am working with the sonnet form which forces you to fix the thought with more intense selection. After all, have only 14 lines to describe my childhood home.

    But what did I say in my poem that pictured “good memories” that I would allow others to take from me? A squalid little hut with roaches running across the floor? I awoke one night, screaming, because in a dark, humid, Florida night, the palmetto bugs (filthy roaches) were swarming all over me. My mother turned on the light and fought them off with a broom until they flew away! I was eight years old. It happens when things are not kept clean or the palmettos constantly sprayed. Memories of home are the result of whatever happens in your life and not some ‘manufactured’ ideal or what it was when it was not! It is what it is. It was what it was! The memory, good or bad, cannot be taken from you!

    • Hi Jacqueline. I hope you don’t mind that I edited your quote above to cite Walt. You are quoting him, not me. Sorry for the confusion. – Marie Elena

    • I agree with you, Jacqueline, that comparing the huge difference between your world and the polar opposite so close by would play a large part in motivating you to “rise above the squalor.”

      It’s also interesting the different ideas a reader can take away from another’s work. For instance, I clearly see the discomfort in the trailer park where you grew up. Yet, use of the terms “cozy” and “home” imply to me that you are able to search through the distasteful to find the good … part of the memories I think Walt is referring to in his comments.

      Your sonnet is emotive and full of imagery, and obviously welled from a very deep place in your soul.

      Marie Elena

    • Jacqueline, I loved your sonnet. I just want to say that I too perceived it as a nostalgic, “good memories” poem. Bitter-sweet, yes, but not bitter. I guess it was the hopscotching, the sounds of a band playing, the words “cozy” and “Daddy.” I thought the separating railroad tracks in retrospect turned into those lines in the sand you used to draw as kids – something that can be easily erased. The surreal world you longed for blended with the unreal quality of the trailer park’s name – music in itself. Even the “paneled sandy floor where roaches hide” didn’t sound grim to me. Again, maybe it’s the word “sandy” that has such a soothing ring to it. Maybe, it’s “hide” that suggested “hide-and-seek” to me. Maybe, I felt a bit of that mixture of fear and excitement a child could experience when hunting a ‘beastly roach.’
      It seems to me that your poem might have had a mind of its own.
      I hope you’ll forgive my lengthy comment, but you asked what in your poem pictured good memories, and I wanted to share with you.
      Sasha

  28. Remembering the Yellow House

    My house
    Big and yellow
    A yard in front with trees to climb
    In back, a porch we built,
    A swing set we built. In back,
    A river that flooded and attracted geese.

    My house
    A living room with a high sloping ceiling
    A big staircase with a white intricate railing.
    Memories of body parts stuck between designs
    And people sitting on the stairs at parties
    A Christmas tree stood in the middle (or so it seemed).

    My room
    Had just one extra step up
    Smothered in pink and white
    Instead I spent hours in my brother’s room
    With cars and legos and forts in early mornings
    Plus his smaller smiling face.

    My house was my house
    Until I was almost ten
    A tearful good-bye marked the end of a chapter
    Yet half my life still lingers there.
    Now it is blue and different and strange
    And now I can only reminisce about when it was still mine.

  29. Marie Elena and Walt, thanks for getting us off to a good start. A great start, really, and I’ll be back to peruse others’ work, I promise. This was a hard weekend for me and your prompt gave me much to consider… so there are two versions of this poem on my blog. You got the “lighter” one, in keeping with the themes of this blog, and out of respect to all who so lovingly post here! Peace, Amy

    Angel

    Back then
    Back when Christmas was fun
    And it was Santa’s birthday again

    We had a tree
    Same one every year,
    Balsam fir, short needles,
    dressed in pure red
    A huge Mrs. Claus,
    a “mama tree”

    Cherry lights strung to perfection
    Middle sis righting every
    incorrectly placed bulb ‘til it was
    PERRRRRfect

    Then the satinsheen red ornaments
    (a hand-me-down from Aunt Pris,
    the holiday window dresser at Fowler’s)
    So fragile, handled like dynamite
    lest one explode, one wrong move
    revealing shards of thin glossy insides

    We had no angel atop our tree, though
    we three made many in Sunday school
    and in every single grade –
    back when Christmas was not a whisper
    but a SHOUT ON COMMAND: HE IS BORN!
    and to hell with the handful of Jews in the hallways
    (some wishing they had trees and stockings too)

    But angels? Our folks’d have to pick
    one of our three… they’d have no trinity
    And white would spoil the symmetry

    Our angel, last year’s broken one
    when a single slip lopped the top off
    Stuck on top of the tree, inverted
    Blood rushing to its head
    crowned by needly thorns

    “Lllight it up, plllug it in, Bud!
    Girllls, outen the llllights!” slurred Mom
    And there it stood
    flooding the living room with
    every gimmering shade of red

    From the street, our tree was
    a blazing hearth streaming
    light onto snow that glowed
    vaguely pink in its wake

    “Oh, look,” said a neighbor
    as folks strolled admiring
    one another’s holiday handiwork,
    “The Red Light District,
    the Barlows’ cat house is once again
    open for business!”

    © 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
    For Poetic Bloomings, Marie and Walt wanted childhood memories.
    As Eric Idle sang at the Olympic closing ceremonies last night, “Always look on the bright side of life!” Merry ‘Christmas in August,’ Santa Walt – and Peace on Earth, Amy

  30. “Isn’t it funny how system of rails meant to connect people and places were so discriminating in dividing people. But apparently the division was in people’s minds. Our houses (homes) are held in high regard for the most part, our memories should be inpenetrable. A nice piece, Jacqueline. W.”

    AHHHH, that tiny “W” is a Walt? I missed you, Walt, and attributed your thoughts to MEG! Sorry, Walt but my aged eyes need to see your name in full bloom, lol ! Thank you for the compliment! Jackie

  31. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Home, 50 Plus Years, and Still Counting

    It was the Model home from
    the new subdivision
    near the Air Force Base,
    Three and one. Kitchen and
    living room.
    Located next door to the
    fire station, we always
    felt safe.
    A good size backyard where
    we played baseball,
    Big bushes where we sat
    and hid, telling secrets
    and giggling at feet passing
    by.
    It was small by today’s
    standards,
    but back then we spent
    so much time outdoors
    that we never noticed.
    Our kitchen always had
    yummy aromas—
    my Mom made the best
    cakes from scratch…
    After baseball, she would
    serve a slice to the “team”–
    vanilla cake, still warm, chocolate
    icing dripping from the sides.
    Our homelife weekly routine
    never varied much, and
    at night, in our rooms
    so close together,
    my folks and our
    brothers would have to
    listen to the singing
    coming from the
    girl’s room.

  32. 44 Neilson Avenue, the Bluffs, and the Lake

    On a corner lot with roads newly paved
    No sidewalks ever but sewers and curbs eventually
    Sat our snug bungalow, the one where we grew up
    My brother and I – a huge back yard, with three trees
    Two hard maples and a spreading elm, before Dutch disease
    And in the front another hard maple by the corner of the lot
    So come fall the whole place shone golden and maple keys
    Flew like helicopters everywhere, blanketing the lawn

    The house itself was white stucco all round
    with a black shingled roof
    Hard wood floors throughout most of the rooms except
    for the kitchen
    Which had linoleum first and later shiny cream tiles set
    off with the odd
    Burgundy ones that matched the ones
    in the bathroom

    Three bedrooms upstairs but we used one for a dining room
    until I got too old
    To share a room with my brother; then the dining room was mine
    for a bit
    After Dad finished our basement rec-room, he also made
    a great bedroom
    Down there – really big and private – and some years I had it
    and some years
    My brother did; it depended who was acting out, who was home,
    who needed the space

    But the things I remember best about that house are the smells:
    Sunday dinner – usually roast beef and some sort of potatoes –
    the way my mother wooed my husband, I believe
    And ironing day – there is nothing like the smell of freshly ironed shirts,
    so crisp, clean
    Laundry on the line or just fresh in from outside – again, those scents
    that aren’t like anything else
    Plus baking – my mother was a champion baker and her Christmas cakes, legendary
    Dad’s workshop – all the sawdust and oils he used for handyman things –
    he loved to putter
    Fresh mown grass – somehow that scent isn’t as pungent nowadays
    but it could be my sniffer just isn’t as efficient but that scent always
    signaled summer to me
    Even the aroma of newly waxed floors sticks in my memory as a good smell;
    an odd juxtaposition as it always meant my mother would be tired and out-of-sorts,
    angry at us for messing up her ‘perfect’ house
    I don’t think she meant to be as harsh as she seemed, I just think she thought
    if her house stayed perfect, she’d have control over some parts of her life
    Unfortunately, of course, there’s little truth to that hope and equally unfortunate
    was that I didn’t come to my realizations about my Mom until quite late in life.
    Still – my happy memories of home far outweigh the others …
    And when I dream of Neilson Avenue, it’s of hearing Santa’s sleigh bells on the roof
    (even as an adult returning to visit, I’d swear I heard that faint tinkling)
    Or my Dad making us lime-rickey sodas with ice-cream and ginger-ale;
    I recall the fizz tickling my nose
    Or remembering how my Mother invited half a dozen girls my age to our house
    to make cards for Valentine’s Day or to decorate eggs at Easter …
    How Dad taught my brother and I to make pull-taffy in the snow, a taste so sweet
    as to be indescribable

    And these are just a few things that have to do with the house itself – never mind
    that it was located a short block from the magnificent Scarborough Bluffs
    Even though we weren’t allowed to play there, as soon as we were old enough
    to play outside all day in the summer – I think I was about eight but my brother
    probably got to tag along by the time he was seven –
    That’s where we snuck off to almost each and every day – we’d say we were
    at a friend’s house but all of us – all the kids – would spend hours down
    at the bluffs and the ravines leading down to the lake (Lake Ontario, that is)
    We almost always got found out by summer’s end because we’d get poison ivy –
    there didn’t seem to be a way to avoid it
    And all the parents knew the only place we’d get that was… in the ravines
    around the bluffs
    It was a great place to grow up, that wee bungalow in Scarborough – it felt and still feels,
    like my childhood home

    The only other place that comes close is our summer cottage – a place we went
    each summer during about five or six years during our formative years
    I have to admit, when things starting going wrong for my brother at school –
    the cottage became our happiest home place during those years
    Big Island on Belmont Lake was the place he could be most himself, was not bullied
    by kids or teachers there
    Felt the most accepted, I think, on the lake and in the woods
    Everything fell apart for him when we had to sell our cottage when my Dad lost his job
    I think maybe things went south for me at the same time but I didn’t realize it
    until long after
    And my acting out took quite a different form from my brother’s, was not
    even noticeable until years later, and then only by me and in therapy
    So – there was home in Scarborough and home in the Kawarthas and they
    both have powerful stirrings … sit in my memory bank like warm beacons,
    reminders that I do come from a good place with lots of good times
    It’s worth going back to those places, if only in my mind, now and again, just to remember.

    S.E.Ingraham©

  33. GRANDPA AND THE COAL HEAP (POETIC FORM: PROSE)

    A year after Grandpa died, my sister and I saw him standing in the basement. Truly. The southwest corner of our Ravenna Boulevard house. Right there. In the basement – there, where gleaming lumps of coal fell on to an existing deeply black heap, there, where they hurled through a narrow metal shoot with a deafening, heart-shaking clatter. At the top of the coal shoot was a square wooden plank, a makeshift door of sorts, pushed up against the wall that shut out the worst of the winter weather, stray cats, squirrels, and most of the sunlight, not that that door has anything to do with anything. Anyway … My sister and I spent an hour each morning and another each evening down in the basement practising our weekly piano lessons. The summers were okay, temperature-wise, but during the winter it was permafrost down there, and we wore our winter coats and knitted gloves with the finger bits cut off so we could feel the ivories. On top of the piano, it was an upright, I mentioned that, right? … well it was, and we used an old metal, coiled-neck lamp for light and Mother’s old kitchen timer, a white tick-tick-tick wind-up thing that ticked …..

    This is a prose poem, a bit lengthy, so to read more please join me at http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/grandpa-and-the-coal-heap/

  34. Iris D on said:

    Love Needs No Name

    Nestled in a gigantic fenced yard on 160 acre farm,
    you humbly beckoned to all strangers.
    Warm and inviting, your laughter was contagious.
    Your outer garment had weathered into dull gray;
    yet your worn exterior was like a flour sack dress,
    faded and bleached by the sun into a gentle softness.
    Gigantic fenced yard was your skirt that made you appear
    like a modest lady with a dress draped to her ankles.
    Milky Way was your halo, stars twinkling like jewels in a crown.
    No air-conditioning ,so on hot summer nights,
    we took the roll-a-way out of doors for Sis and I.
    Daytime aromas of fresh baked bread, or cinnamon, or bacon.
    enticed one into the kitchen to inspect the source.
    The stove bubbled with joy, bidding one to stay and enjoy.
    Back porch accumulated boots, cats, and children.
    One could sit and eat watermelon while dangling feet or
    spitting seeds at one another or into the expanse of yard.
    Cistern was on the back porch also so the water was carried into
    the house by loving hands, not fabricated hydrants and pumps.
    I am not sure we ever locked the doors, just closed them against the wind.
    Windows were seldom closed except in winter, and birdsong mingled with
    voices, radio, and shrieks of laughter from inside your wallpapered walls.
    Doorway into the dining room bore pencil marks beside our initials.
    Our height was recorded each fall to indicate our physical growth.
    Storybook houses have names like Tara, or Wuthering Heights, Monticello
    Ours was just simply and lovingly called “Home.”

  35. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Oh, Misky!!! This was DELIGHTFUL!!! Your prose-poem writing style is soo ME — I have just never let myself “flow” like that — but you have just inspired me! Thank you, so much, for this lovely, funny, teary piece!!!

  36. No time to read & comment — hoping I’ll make it back for that.
    For now, here’s my offering:

    Home is Where the Heart Breaks

    Architect must have been drunk
    when he designed that house —
    two beds, one bath, and a kitchen so small
    someone had to stand and push in his chair
    in order to open the back door
    if anyone came calling during dinner

    The only one of ten on a tiny dead-end street
    set sideways on its lot, only two lonely
    windows of welcome facing forward
    (no such notion as curbside appeal);
    front door cowering on the side
    under aluminum awning, nestled
    behind trellis of red roses each June, and
    the focal point upon entering?
    Toilet in the tiny bath across the hall.

    Still, that home managed to make room,
    with some additions to accommodate
    expanding and extended family,
    housing, at one time or another,
    both grandmothers and a widowed aunt,
    and offering, always, a seat at the table
    to a widower friend and his son at the holidays

    House and homestead proffering up
    all the peace and pain, grief and joys
    of a mostly functional family
    where those who love can hurt us worst,
    with comments never intended to draw blood
    but, doing so just the same; over time
    alcohol erodes, cancer creeps in, and stroke
    revokes all recollections of hearth and home

    That house (long since sold off), still stands
    sideways on a street of mostly strangers now
    Former neighbors remain loosely connected
    through distance and time by shared histories,
    tied together by bittersweet memories and tales retold
    when they meet to mourn their losses at wakes & funerals
    And those folks who still recall, confess
    that since she left the family
    Christmas Eves have never been the same

  37. “The White House”

    It was white.

    Always white because it cleaned
    up easy and that was what he liked.

    He hung me out the 2-story window with a
    brush and a bucket of white and ordered me
    to paint.
    I would have given him a quarter just for the
    thrill.

    When the tornado roared down the street in ’67,
    we lost our trees, and spent the rest of the week
    squeegee-ing the sewage in the basement, then
    sealed the floor with gray and once again painted
    the siding white.

    Two girls
    —me and Arie—
    slept in our twin-twin pink-pink gingham beds,
    downstairs, the two boys tussled upstairs in an
    unfinished dormered room with deep dark closets.

    We hid behind the scratchy woolen coats and
    clammy dry-cleaner bags, sneezed from the musty
    boxes and screamed when the silver fish dropped
    into our hair.

    My dad may have mortgaged that dog-eared
    Cape Cod but Miss Katrinka owned it.

    I hated her.

    Twice, Miss Katrinka gave birth to a dozen blind
    pink babies and whenever she lost a few, she woke
    me.

    I slipped on my pink pink slippers and slid across the
    scratched geometric linoleum into the living room
    and searched the tiny yellow kitchen with the
    nail-scored linoleum, slid back across the linoleum
    into the linoleum bathrooms,
    into the linoleum bedrooms
    until I found them all.

    My mom buried her ashes in a box in one of the deep
    dark silver fish closets.

    Just this past week, my dad loaded two of those musty
    silver-fished boxes into my car. I drove them home
    and unwrapped a gift from my Grandma Dolly—twenty
    years of Danish plates, painted blue and white.

    Sometimes love is buried in dark closets.

  38. The Red Door

    A nut brown ranch house
    With a Red door
    Ivy curving in the eaves
    Marigolds, tulips and crocuses
    In the garden
    A huge fruitless (thank goodness)
    Mulberry tree in the back yard
    Perfect for climbing
    (if you could reach that one lower branch)
    There was a playhouse, too
    (a shed taken over by a sisterly coup)

    Cherished wall to wall
    Avocado green carpet
    (we were the last to get wall-to-wall)
    Three bedrooms
    In grade school, mine was heaven
    Lavender, with bright pink furniture;
    High school soothed with blue, 
    Homework with the radio blasting
    Reading with the radio blasting
    (transistor mind you, so cool!)
    Vinyl dinette, four seats perfect for
    The four of us
    And a yellow and green kitchen
    That always smelled amazing
    (Except on “liver” nights)

    Safe inside, cozy-excepting sibling screeches
    Outside a cold war
    (“Better dead, than red”)
    Whispered loud enough
    For kids to hear
    A Commie had snuck in
    With a red door

  39. Since my dad was a preacher, we moved too frequently to have one single childhood home. We had a whole collection:

    Just Houses

    Never settling for long in one place,
    we moved from one house to the next,
    never a place of our own, on the heels
    of the last preacher moving out.
    We’d give up a yard heavy
    with the scent of mimosa trees
    for another bordering a pasture,
    cows ambling up exchange looks
    over our fence. In one place,
    we had a big back porch, perfect
    for sitting in our underpants,
    burying our faces in watermelon,
    oblivious to the rat living behind
    Mama’s stove resisting all attempts
    to exterminate him. Our favorite home
    had trees perfect for climbing, branches
    hanging over the house’s blue roof
    patched green by the deacons
    when we reported a leak. One came
    with a tool shed full of cats, another,
    with a ping pong table and algae-choked
    aquarium abandoned by other kids
    we knew only by their exploits
    reported to us like challenges.
    No one told us never to grow attached.
    We learned that lesson on our own,
    always moving about the time
    we had our rooms arranged to suit us,
    when we had finally made friends
    we expected to keep for life.
    We learned to call then pen pals.

  40. Catherine Lee on said:

    My childhood home had a great brown sofa and blue carpet. Funny the things we remember most…

    Home

    I sailed a brown chenille ship
    across an ocean of blue carpet
    to reach my land.

    I knew I would stay forever on
    this coast, but lacked the fire
    to burn the ship.

    Her timber scraps became the fort
    where my claiming flag caught the
    morning breezes high off the bay.

    It is now a ruin, a monument
    to the first days of discovery
    in a world no longer new.

  41. Lehrback Road

    My parents built her
    the year before I was born –
    She was a house
    of many coats
    resting on the
    slope of a river bluff;
    Protected by
    Walnut trees,
    grand Cottonwoods
    and dainty Sumacs.

    Inside my closet
    was a secret chimney
    that didn’t go anywhere
    perfect for hiding
    my wheat pennies
    and half dollars.

    We had a long living room
    where you could look
    out the front and
    also the back –
    Our first inside dog
    was not allowed
    on the carpet
    so when my parents
    were gone
    I laid a trail
    of doll blankets for
    him to walk on
    so he could watch TV
    with me (my parents never knew).

    Running barefoot
    on the gravel cinders
    to visit Grandma in her garden
    or to pop in on my Aunt
    for a popsicle –
    More than a house
    I had a valley
    full of family.

  42. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Just WONDERFUL! Loved, Loved, Loved: “…Our first inside dog was not allowed on the carpet… I laid a trail of doll blankets for him to walk on so he could watch TV with me…”

  43. Pingback: Friday Freeforall Fray « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  44. Oh my, is it already Friday? I had every intention of posting many days ago, finally found the time to finish my rather “homely” submission.

    Home to Me

    Never one to really feel an
    attachment to a home, I take
    a look back and reflect on one.
    It wasn’t where my childhood
    started or ended;
    but where I lived the most.

    The big front porch with swing and
    slamming screen door was often
    “homebase”, or a stage or the place
    to talk about boys and listen to the radio.
    Through that screen door I told my mother,
    (who hails from Memphis), that Elvis had died.

    Two old fruit trees, a swing set, a garden
    and dirt alleys carved out the borders
    of the big back yard. Although no
    childhood yard really has borders.
    Even the neighbor’s gigantic hedge
    had openings for games of hide and seek.

    My bedroom was in the back,
    Mark Spitz and David Cassidy
    on the door. I really don’t recall
    the color of the room, but clearly
    remember my salvation prayer
    in my white framed double bed.

    Homework at the kitchen table.
    School photos on the window seat.
    I always wondered why dining rooms
    were so big and bathrooms so small?
    I rarely visited the dark, scary basement,
    except to retrieve laundry (quickly).

    That house created some memories for me,
    but my best memories of Home
    are the people, the smiles, the tears
    and the dreams. Home is
    the comfort and security of those
    with me, not the structure in which we reside.

    © Kelly E. Donadio 2012

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      Loved: (Black velvet…. and that little boy smile…) and “…Although no childhood yard really has borders…” But, most of all I will remember these GREAT words: “…Home is the comfort and security of those with me, not the structure…”

    • Kelly, this is SO “you!” Love it!

      Marie Elena

  45. This was such a hard prompt for me! Glad I made it in here just in time this week…

    Escaping Home

    Row after row
    Of rusting metal shacks
    Masquerading as homes
    For the desperate,
    Our trailer very much
    Like the others…
    The yellowing linoleum,
    The dingy shag carpeting
    That never came clean,
    The claustrophobic brown
    Of the cheap paneling
    That oppressed joy
    And consumed laughter.
    Home was never a refuge,
    Rather a prison to be escaped.
    I would sit on the metal steps
    Leaning back against
    The dented white metal door
    Until the grates wore grooves
    Into the backs of my thighs,
    Notebook in hand
    Furiously trying to write
    A happier ending
    Than the trailer park promised.

  46. …getting in just under the wire…

    Eleven Fifty-Five

    The numbers are still there
    but the house is gone.
    Now a medical professional building
    Stands where my own baseball diamond
    once was. There were pear trees
    and stately weeping willows.

    We moved there when I was four
    because my mom and dad
    could no longer live in the old house
    where my baby brother died.

    There were so many rooms and closets there,
    some so very large and others quite cozy.
    Four bedrooms there and at one time or another I would call each of them my own.

    Although there was a dining room,
    most meals were in the huge kitchen.
    The Christmas tree was always in the dining room.
    The family always gathered in the living room.

    I knew every square inch of eleven fifty-five,
    even that crawl space under the addition.
    I loved the sun room in the front
    almost as much as the garage in back
    where I built bikes and go-carts
    and stored my sports equipment,
    my pogo stick and my unicycle.

    By Michael Grove – Copyright 8/17/2012

  47. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Loved: “…There were pear trees and stately weeping willows…”

  48. tmhHoover on said:

    I am late to this party… but these prompts are calling… so here is mine:

    Williamsville, New York- by Teri H Hoover

    the old farm on a hill became a treeless street
    that grew a home on every half acre-

    our home facing east

    half way between

    the very top and very bottom of the hill

    from my second story bedroom window
    I watched the clouds and pretended I saw the ocean.

    http://smallstonegatherer.blogspot.com/2012/08/williamsville-new-york.html

  49. Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

    Hummmmmmmm
    Guess I did not post for this prompt! I was on vacation with no internet connection. I wrote something – will need to ‘find’ it!!

  50. It is not the same now
    The arms that held it are gone
    But oh, in my mind is an echo defined
    That somehow lives on and on
    Cradled by two weeping willows
    I thrived in their sighing embrace
    Now the ghost-willow trees frame fond memories
    Of my dear, unforgotten home-place

    I cherish the humble brick dwelling
    Of panel and paint decor
    But the sweet echo of nine siblings I love
    Drench the walls and the floor
    The old wood-stove in the kitchen
    Served as cook-stove, laundry and hair dryer
    In the winter we woke to the smell of smoke
    As mom rekindled the fire…

    …and set the pot of oatmeal a-boiling
    Ready for ‘farmer’s’ breakfast at eight
    Midst the chatter of nine siblings I love
    As we would argue, discuss or debate
    Until Farmer’s firm, unchallenged ‘QUIET!’
    Dropped the up-roar to a hush
    And all that was heard was the slurp and stir
    Of ten respectful children eating ‘mush’

    I learned as a young teenager
    Which steps to skip at late-night, cause they squeaked
    But no matter how I would tiptoe or prowl
    Somewhere an errant board creaked
    …and casually at breakfast
    The cereal box became a shield
    Until Farmer cleared his throat, (we always looked when he spoke)
    And the culprit was revealed

    The furniture was scarred and battered
    The rooms lived in to the max
    But home was a place of learning and grace
    Where we worked hard and where we could relax
    Often in the evening it was quiet
    As we set aside our work and our play
    To find our own nook and curl up with a book
    The highlight at the end of a day

  51. Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

    You asked for “…just a glimpse…” This is more than a glimpse. For Monday your Memory posting, I will need to trim it down. 🙂

    Small Island hundred miles by fifty set in Alaska’s watery gulf warmed by southern ocean currents. Five thousand feet mountain, trees and grassland and a hundred small coves and harbors for boats, surrounded with neighboring small islands. Famed vacation spot for fishing and hunting, Home of the towering Alaska, KODIAK brown bear.
    1944 —- Homesteading in old log cabin on small dairy farm with added chickens, ducks, pigs and dogs. Behind cabin, tall forest with berries and wild roses. Small stream from woods, flowed through meadow down to salty bay which invited children to play. In wintertime wood stove and oil lamps keep family warms against the drifting snow.
    1946 —- New home in old naval housing set overlooking City Dock where ocean liners and freighters tied. Children race among mounds of cargo, play hide-and-seek in warehouse and visit ships gallows for ice-cream and fresh fruit treats. Score beach treasures, build rafts to ride the tide, and ‘barrow’ rowboat to make journey to harbor buoy. Then scale mountain over bay festooned with red fireweed, white daisies and blue bell hiding in tall grass. Play neighborhood baseball games.
    1949 —- Community Center dwelling with ‘downtown’, hospital, school, Salmon cannery and town dock, boats, churches, beach and mountain all within walking distance and the freedom to explore it all. A children’s paradise filled with fun.
    July 1951 – Farwell to our beloved island life.
    Sept. 1951 —- In LA, CA – 28 year old mom, with minimal education and work experience, (daughters age 9,10,11) buys 1000 square foot home, on 50×150 foot lot in suburbs. Perpetually white stucco with plain off-white rooms all round. About only things of note were built-in cabinets on one wall of living room (desk, gas fireplace, closed book shelf) and one in dining room (enclosed china curio shelves and small window seats each end) Dining table and chairs with mom’s cabinet sewing machine standing open by dining room picture window. Bedroom: One for girls, one for mom.
    Sept 1953 —- Mom remarried, and house began a morphing process.
    —BEDROOM – small walk-in closets became room length reach-in closets over double layer of drawers. Bunk beds added. Younger step-sister sometimes slept over.
    —BATHROOM – received a new sink, counter and large triple mirrored with cabinet, shower added to tub, and wallpaper with small fish accidentally hung upside down (never changed!)
    —LIVING ROOM – pillars dividing front rooms were removed, and small piano replaced gas fireplace. Coffee table and rod-iron décor lamps made by dad were added. Large mirror, winged with small back decorator shingles, was the only thing allowed on the wall.
    —DINING ROOM – large mountain scene mural placed on wall over china cabinet, with curtains that could be drawn over it to provide impression that one was looking out a window. Large rod-iron legged table (made in newly built shop at back of lot) expanded to seat 12 or more people. Both rooms painted a light bash.
    —KITCHEN and back mud room – became one with all new cabinets, fixtures, pantry, bar and breakfast area and Huge picture window over sink. The area finished off in bright, sunshine yellow.
    1957 —- Mom’s ailing mom moves in with us and the one car garage (storage place) become ‘the girls’ barracks’. The bunk beds were moved there to join the washer, double concrete sink and a tall cabinet holding dad’s photo processing equipment. In the back was a low open closet (for cloths and a small desk) over which were stored (alone with other things) boxes of books from mom’s book club and years of Readers Digest Condensed Books. I spent many hours nested amongst the boxes reading. I liked having my own space and by now dad’s mom had moved into the second bed in the house.
    1961 —- Grandma died, ‘barrack’s was empty for a year while we older three lived on to various college campus.
    1962 —- I returned for two years to be the sole occupant of the barracks with its still unfinished walls, accumulation a storage and painted over windows in the garage door.
    1964 – I left California home and only returned for short visits until it was sold about 1980. …and 17 other places have I lived in since then.
    1977-Today- Living in “The Fourth Corner” where Canada, Washington and Strait of Georgia meet. Custer and Birch Bay)
    After-note – 2001 – I went back to see the ‘old place’ in LA. It had recently been renovated and was vacant. The outside was painted yellow. Wood flooring replaced the old rugs, the huge kitchen window was reduced in size. The ‘barracks/garage’ was gone and a two car garage ( set 15 to 20 feet further back in the lot) was closed off by a tall gated fence that extended from the front corner of the house all around the back lot. The fence prevented me from seeing inside anything beyond what was visible from the front window. (836)

  52. Pingback: House On The Hill | echoes from the silence

  53. ejparsons on said:

    Home, Sweet, Home

    If you drove by it now you’d never realize
    What a great little house this was long ago
    So long in the past, this house was a home
    To my grandparents and I and my older bro
    Now it’s a broken down shack
    I bet it would love to go back

    To the days of its youth when it stood firm in place
    Shake shingle siding aged by nature not paint
    A small enclosed porch that faced the main road
    The place for the puzzles my Grandma would make
    With puzzles and books everywhere
    My Grandma really loved it there

    Our kitchen was small with a large black wood stove
    No running water, just a pump in the yard
    When the pump froze in winter, oh well, that’s life
    We didn’t know we were poor, we didn’t know life was hard
    That little house was our castle
    Life was just normal hassle

    Our living room was small, barely eight feet by eight
    An old couch and table, and Gram’s rocking chair
    Our TV had rabbit ears; with only three channels
    So many happy memories were made while in there
    Happy memories fill my mind
    Of days long left behind

    Upstairs was small, with only two little rooms
    A small bedroom shared with my older brother
    The front bedroom was a mystery for the most part
    It was a place of privacy for my Grandpa and Grandmother
    Their bedroom was their getaway
    They’d share at the end of the day

    So small was my house in the woods of Northern Maine
    So poor were we all, though we never realized it
    ‘Cause love filled the gaps that wealth never could
    As I look back on it all, I don’t regret it a bit
    For that house filled with love
    I thank the Good Lord above

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