Where the Love Light Gleams

December 10, 2008

Today’s Holiadilies prompt:  Do you still live in the place where you grew up? How far away are you now, and why?

I’ve never moved out of the city where I was born, but I have lived in a lot of different places within this city.  In fact, I have moved a total of fifteen times, including the time I moved twice in one day!

From newborn to the age of 10, I lived with my family in the upstairs apartment of a two-family house owned by my grandparents.  (They lived downstairs.)  Then we moved to a Dutch Colonial on a really nice street.  I loved that house, and so did my friends.   One of them referred to it as the “My Three Sons” house.

My bedroom was on the third floor.  It was originally an attic, but my parents converted it into living space.  I even had my own bathroom.  After my mother gave birth to twins, I had to share the room with one of my sisters.

When I was 20, my mother and I had a very ugly fight, and I moved in with my grandmother.  That was a nice house, too.  The most striking thing about it was the fireplace.  Instead of being against a wall, the fireplace was its own three-sided wall, made from stone and glass.  It jutted out so that it was visible from two rooms.  One side faced the dining room, and the other side faced the living room.  The third side faced forward in the space between the two rooms.  I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.

My grandmother’s  house was on the market when I moved in, and it was sold shortly afterwards, so we moved to a condo.  At the age of 22, I got an apartment with my sister, Patti.  It was a cute little place.  But, when Patti got married, I had to look for a cheaper apartment because I couldn’t afford the rent on my own.

When I found a place, my friend, Janet, borrowed a pickup truck and helped me move.  Before moving in, I was a little concerned about the landlady, an elderly woman who lived upstairs.  When I went to look at the apartment, she talked my ear off.  One time I had to call her, and she kept me on the phone forever.

I was afraid she would expect me to keep her company far more often than I was comfortable with.  My fears were justified.  She wouldn’t even leave me in peace long enough to move my stuff into the apartment.  She ran her mouth through the whole process, even while Janet and I were carrying a sofa, for crying out loud.

After the last box had been brought in, Janet and I collapsed on chairs in the living room.  The next thing we knew, the old battleaxe was knocking on my door.  She was outraged over the fact that she saw Janet smoking a cigarette (out on the sidewalk, I might add).  That was when I realized that this woman would make my life miserable.  Having nothing better to do, watching my every move would become her favorite pastime.

Fortunately, I hadn’t signed a lease, so I called my old landlords (a young couple) and asked if I could come back.  They were very agreeable, and even lowered my rent.  Even though Janet and I were deeply exhausted, we re-packed everything into the truck and took all my stuff back to the apartment I had just vacated.

My next move was with The Ex.  We had a newly renovated apartment in what was called the historic district.  It had a cathedral ceiling and hardwood floors and curved walls.  When I got pregnant, we moved to a Victorian house that had been converted into apartments.   At first, we were upstairs, but when the other tenants moved out, we moved downstairs.  (It was a larger apartment.)

After I had my second baby, we needed even more space, and moved into an apartment above a doctor’s office.  During that time, we suffered a financial crisis and had no choice but to move in with my grandmother until we could get back on our feet.  Eventually, our situation improved and we bought our first house for $90,000.  It needed a lot of work, which The Ex was able to do himself, since he is a building contractor.  The kitchen, two bathrooms and family room were gutted and redone.  It ended up being a really nice house.  When we sold it ten years later (because of the divorce), we had two offers for the asking price of $269,900.00.

The girls and I lived in an apartment for a year after leaving our house.  It was beautiful.  The girls had a large bedroom downstairs with their own bathroom.  Upstairs, there were hardwood floors and a working fireplace in the living room.  The downside was the neighborhood.  Our next door neighbors were crackheads and alcoholics.  Every time we left our apartment, we were sexually harassed.  It was awful.

Last but not least is the house in which we currently reside.  In May, this will have been our home for four years.  I’m pretty happy here, and hope I don’t have to move again for a very long time.  There really is no place like home.

Song of the Day:  I’ll Be Home For Christmas, lyrics by James ‘Kim’ Gannon and Walter Kent, sung by Bing Crosby


8 Responses to “Where the Love Light Gleams”

  1. LA said

    Your house is great! So homey, yet arty and cool. And the front porch is the best sitting porch ever! ~LA

  2. mercystreet said

    I used to move a lot when I was younger. The thought of moving again now makes me want to pull my hair out.

  3. Jim said

    I loved your story about two moves in the same day!

    That’s interesting to have lived in different places but all in the same city.

  4. terri t. said

    I loved this blog. I can relate to the moving, I think I have moved at least 19 times in my life…most of them after I got married.

  5. karenfromphilly said

    I remember staying in your attic BR! I reported hearing strange noises in the closet & you told me that you thought it was haunted! My favorite place was the house with the wisteria growing around the porch.

  6. LeAnn said

    I wanna see a picture of the My Three Son’s House!!

  7. Michael said

    You have such vivid memories, it’s obvious all these places meant something to you. I can’t even remember all the places I’ve lived, especially when I was a kid. I went to five different elementary schools in three different cities, and most of it all sort of blends together in my mind now.

  8. I’ve moved a lot in my life and I’ve done the double move in a week’s time. No fun.

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