I lived in the same house for 46 years. I was raised there. As an adult, my Dad let me live there when my arthritis prevented me from working. And, then later, I was taking care of him until he died in May.
I no longer live in that house. It is being remodeled so that it can be rented and provide some extra income for my Mom.
Growing up, the house was kind of small for our brood. 7 people in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house. The kitchen was small and our dining table barely fit in the area made for it. We cramped into the living room until it was added onto in 1990.
But, I can’t help feel sentimental for that house.
I remember our bedroom with the bunk bed. We used to through a blanket over the bottom bunk to make a tent. Then we’ve create all kinds of adventures where you’d have to climb from the hall to the dresser to the bed. Don’t touch the floor or you’ll be swallow by God knows what!
Our kitchen table was large enough for us. In the early years we had a bench on one side. More than likely, my brother was given the seat next to Mom, which was a penalty seat not a place of honor. The table would be loaded with food and you’d barely have room for your plate.
We grew up there, graduated, moved on. Then the grand kids came along and suddenly the house was filled with laughter and mayhem once again. I can still see the kids running around tormenting Sierra who loved every minute of it. I can also see all of the craft projects I made with my nieces and nephew and there is my Dad laying on the floor as the oldest builds blocks around him.
We always had Christmas morning in that house. When we were kids, we cramped in that small living room. With 7 of us, the presents almost hit the couch. The whole house was festively decorated with paper chains, stockings, and our school made handiwork.
When the family expanded, everyone came to this house Christmas morning. It was a tradition we kept up so the next generation would have the same memories.
Outside we played all sorts of games from Cowboys and Indians to Pickle. We climbed the fences and chased each other from the front yard to the back. My Dad built us a life size playhouse. We’d use it for anything our imaginations could create. Later it became his Little League Shrine. And, then there were the clotheslines (several) that strung across the whole yard. I can still see my brother racing around them in his new tennis shoes, crashing, and ending up in emergency with a gash in his head.
There were the animals: the turtles, pigeons, rabbits, chickens…and the chicken who turned out to be a rooster.
There was always so much going on at our house. Well, it’d be difficult not to be lively with 7 people and friends roaming around.
Soon someone else will be living in that house. They won’t know about the wall where all the grand kids measurements were kept for 24 years. They won’t see the spot where the wine bottle popped open and splashed the ceiling or the place where my brother and sister had a contest to see who could put their fist through the wall. And, they won’t here the laughter that spread from one family member to the next like a giddy little virus.
We’ll still be having our family gatherings. We’ll move on and we’ll create new traditions. But, I still can’t help but feel sentimental for that old house with the faded paint and the cracks and flaws. It’s the house where all our memories are and it will be difficult to let it go.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com