Monday, October 7, 2013

"Childhood Home"

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This blog post  is part of my participation in a weekly writing meme called, "The Book of Me, Written By You"  You too can be part of this experiment/experience, there is more information here, and at this Facebook page.

I may or may not publicly share what I write each week.  This week I share most, addresses and such have been left out, but are part of my private collection.

The prompt for week 5 is Your Childhood Home

When did you leave home?
Where did you move to?
Where was it?
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

Before I go in to more detail about my childhood home, I have a few tidbits I would like to share about homes I lived in before we moved to this home, well the two that I am aware of, not counting time spent with grandparents.

When I was about one or two years old, we lived in Raleigh, North Carolina.  According to the city directories of Raleigh, my father worked for Froehling & Robertson Inc, Concrete Mix Designs and Tests, Concrete-Ashphalt Plant Control and Field Inspection, Timber Inspection, Industrial X-Ray.  During the research phase of this post I did a search on Frochling & Robertson Inc.  Found this business's web site.  Seems they still have an office in Raleigh too.  Cannot be positive, but, really, such an unusual name, you would suspect it is the same business. Been said before, will say it again, it really is amazing what we can find on the internet.

When Man and I were in Raleigh a number of years ago doing family research and visiting with family Man looked in some city directories and found the address of the little house our little family of three lived in.  Man and I actually drove past the house and stopped and snapped off a quick photo.  Since that photo has a young lady standing on the front porch, in order to not reveal her image, I turned to maps on line (Google and Bing) for the image of the Raleigh home.

My parents moved to SE Michigan when I was about 3 years old.  When I was about 4 my brother arrived.  Here we are sitting on the porch of the home (may have been a duplex?) our parents rented at that time.  Nothing outstanding here, but, ooo, lookie that car!  The photo is quite out of focus even tho I tried to tweak it.  I believe my father's mother may have been the photographer.

Not long after this (I really need to do some deed work on this, see if I can determine a closer date than about 1953/54) my parents moved out to the "country" and I lived in that home till I was about 18 years of age.

I left my childhood home when I went to college and never returned, except for holidays and summer break.  Several years after I graduated from high school my parents split and the home was sold.

My parents purchased the home.  Both sets of my grandparents lived over 600 miles away in Virginia and/or North Carolina, so they never lived with us.  The home was not inherited.  During a bit of research for this post I discovered via that the house currently is shown as having 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, is 1,461 square feet, sitting on a 0.30 ac lot, and that it was built in 1924.  The last recorded sale per Zillow was in 1995, sales price recorded was $79,000.  They put a current value on the home of about $91,000.  I have no idea about the accuracy of the estimates on this web site, however, considering what our economy has done in the last 10 years, I have to wonder.  Well, it is an odd, and, interesting tidbit, eh?  Net searching also reveals that in the recent past a child care facility may have been run from the home.

Here is a aerial view of the home today .  The house with the red "A" was my childhood home.  Believe me the area was NOTHING like this when I lived there.  Now the roads appear to be paved, then, they were gravel.  When we lived there there were no homes across the street (to the right in this photo).  At that time, if you walked down the current driveway of the family home, and crossed the street, just about in between the two homes, there was a HUGE tree, oak I believe, and I do mean HUGE!  We used to park extra cars there.  Behind the tree the land dropped off sharply into very swampy acres.  I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that where there are now 4 homes there was once standing swamp water/land.  How much fill did that take??  I do note that just a few houses away, at the top of this photo, which you cannot see, there is still a small body of water and several lots that have not been developed.

Behind the house, where those 4 homes are now (left of this photo) my parents owned at least 2 large lots, we called it the "Back 40" and my mother had a garden there that was, well, here is the word again, HUGE!  She had grapes, concords, and she would make the most wonderful grape jelly every fall, jars and jars of it.  We never had jelly from the store in those days.  There probably were strawberries and strawberry jam too, but, that grape jelly was my favorite and fills all the memories I have.

She grew corn, we could have corn on the cob picked, and cooked and in less than half an hour were eating golden delightful tasty corn, many times more than one ear at a time.  She grew eggplant and peppers and tomatoes and I imagine just about any vegetable you can imagine.  I know I do not remember just what all she did grow, I do remember there were rows and rows and rows of garden. There was a path up the middle and the entire garden was on a hill, so that we had to walk up that hill to the top rows of produce growing in the garden.

I remember the time my father decided to burn the weeds down on some of our acreage, so he could "see the lay of the land".  All was well till dusk and the wind shifted direction.  Then it got ugly and the fire department had to be called.  Believe me, several other land owners got to see the lay of their land as well.

Then there was the time a small plane landed on the next street over (beyond the left on the photo above).  The street at that time was barely a 2 tracker, lots of tall grasses and such and very uneven, bumpy, we could barely drive an auto on that 2 tracker.  That landing sure caused an uproar.  I think there was even a small article in one of the local newspapers.  And, if my memory serves, there was very little damage to the plane.  My foggy (leaky and failing) memory says that the prop was damaged, replaced and the pilot flew the plane out. The details may have escaped my gray matter, but, the memory of the excitement of all the neighbors has not.

The photo below is of the living room bookcases, built in, of course.  Note the glass doors, with detail and panes with what looks to be leading.  Loved the bookcases, and would love to have the same in any home I live in.  There were two opposing bookcases and you walked between them to go to the formal dining room and beyond to the kitchen.  My room was off to the right (about the middle of this photo), as was a stairwell to the unfinished attic.  That attic stairwell holds many holiday memories, as it was unheated and the perfect place to store container after container of holiday cookies.  They could not spoil, it was too cold up there!   My room was a "loner".  You could not reach the other bedrooms of the home unless you came out into the formal dining area and through the living room.  There was a large closet in my room, where my mother used to sew.  

My parent's bedroom had the most amazing built in storage.  I remember that several walls had drawers and storage and more drawers.  One time my mother painted the entire wall of storage, a green, I believe.  Obviously the color did not suit as it was not long and she painted it again, a much lighter softer shade of green.

Here is another photo of basically the same area (I have very few of the house, most taken at Christmas).  Here my brother is showing off his football presents.  You can see that bookcase again, as well as the formal dining room.  This photo also shows my mother's wagon wheel chandelier hanging over the dining table.  It was quite the thing and she was very proud of her idea and the results.

Behind that formal dining room were swinging doors that led to the kitchen.  I am fairly confident that those swinging doors were not there when my parents purchased the home.  I found one poor photo that reveals a full door there.  I have fond memories of the swinging doors, have no idea why, but, I still think they are "neat", wonder where I could have my own set - - ohh, never mind!  LOL  At the very back of the kitchen there was a "breakfast" nook.  We ate most of our meals there.  I believe there have been a window that looked out to the back yard and that garden beyond.

In front of the living room, behind, and off to the left, of where the photographer was standing for this holiday photo of the football hero, there was what became the office when my parents owned and ran their own company.  That office was a "sun room" converted.  I remember wooden doors to that room, and it had several windows.  I remember it was really cold in that room in the winter, we never used it much until the office came into being.  I am not sure how they kept it warm enough to work out there.  It was a lovely room, special, cold, but, special.  The sunroom can be seen in this photo (yes, a repeat photo).  The sunroom is under and to the right of the fireplace.

There was a basement, where on a couple of occasions we found rattlers.  Yep, Michigan or Eastern Massasaugas. There was also a room we called the fruit cellar with wooden shelves that my mother filled with all those yummy canned goods from the garden.  I remember hiding in that basement when there was foul weather (tornadoes).

The home had a great front porch and columns my mother used to decorate at Christmas time (wide weather proof ribbon and we had very large candy canes).   (I do not remember if the columns were added by my parents or not.)  In this photo I was ready for my first day of Junior High School (in the dark ages there was no Middle School), 7th grade here I come, books at the ready.  I sure would like a deacons bench like that, it was a beauty. Shutters, windows with great style and a planter box next to the front door.  And, how bout that ceiling treatment, looks like pine beaded board to me.

That was the family home, the house I grew up in, my childhood home.  I am in no way positive that my memories are valid or correct.  I was a bit surprised at what memories popped forth during the writing of this challenge post.  You might want to try this, if only for yourself, it may prove interesting, provoking and, well, memorable.


1 comment:

Kristin said...

The home my children grew up in, also in MI had a sunroom across the front that we called the cold room because it was on the north side of the house - you have to wonder at putting a "sun" room on the side of the house that NEVER got sunshine.

I love the memories that come when I write about my old homes. It's amazing.