My Childhood Home
June 17, 2013
All of this recent house hunting with my sister got me thinking about the home I grew up in as a child. It was a sweet single story brick cottage on 1/3 acre with apple tree and plum trees in the backyard, and a creek across the rear meadow where we’d go exploring or fishing for hours and without any supervision.
My brother visited the house two years ago and reported that our childhood home had fallen into such disrepair that it was completely abandoned with the windows boarded up with plywood. The thought made me so sad I couldn’t bring myself to drive past it anymore (it’s in another town 30 minutes away).
As he left, my brother noticed something out of the corner of his eye, something that still remained, and managed to grab it. It belonged to us anyway, the original address plaque that hung over the door when our family lived there 25 years ago.
When Layla posted about her recent visit to her grandfather’s house, it got me feeling nostalgic once more, so I did some digging and found out through online research that someone had bought my childhood home last year and took the time to fix it up. The little brick house had a comeback story to tell.
Here are the four of us kids out in front of it in 1978, I’m the big sister rocking the floral pants, how cute is little sis in her corduroy overalls and little bro in his turtleneck and plaid pants, awesome! We’re standing right in front of the kitchen window, you can see the curtains my mom sewed and the old shingle roof that’s been replaced. There was a split rail fence too, but that’s gone and the windows have been painted white.
This is my big brother in our old kitchen, I remember the pine cabinets and white tile countertops and backsplash. Mom is serving up a snack on her favorite Corelle dishes. I remember how she used to catch up with her friends on that blue phone and leave herself reminders there too, or take messages for my Dad.
You can’t see it, but my mom wallpapered the ceiling (way before it was cool) in a blue and white botanical pattern, it was really pretty. The kitchen was cozy and wonderful and countless meals were enjoyed around that table.
All of the old cabinets are gone now, and new laminate countertops have replaced them. I do love the new flooring, our old floors were laminate with a blue and white rectangle pattern.
That cabinetry and hardware in the kitchen on the left (below) is original to the house, and I’m so glad it survived all these years. It was dark wood when we lived there and my mom kept her pottery and many cookbooks stored on the shelves, but I love it painted white! I wish I had a closer image of the hardware, it’s hammered wrought iron and looks like this up close. Someday I’ll trim a cabinet in similar hardware just for old times sake…
Here’s me and my younger brother in our awkward adolescent phase, Mom made him a cake for his birthday – you can see the original cabinets behind us. I remember wearing huge baggy sweaters over collared shirts, I was hip man. And clearly in between perms.
Our old family room had great hardwood floors (wall paneling too!) and big comfy sofas and chairs. I can tell all four of us are watching something together on a summer day, either the Dukes of Hazard or The Love Boat or Six Million Dollar Man (our favorite morning line up).
The room has since been carpeted (bummer) and the paneling removed. I wish it was still there – I would have painted that wall paneling for a lighter but cozy cottage feel. Also the criss cross door is gone, and window to the garage where we could peek to see if Dad was home from work yet – now it’s just a wall and a plain door, and doesn’t have nearly as much character.
The bathroom has been remodeled with a new vanity and neutral color choices – I forgot how so many of the rooms in the house had those slanted ceilings.
When we were kids the hall bathroom was prime real estate for when my Dad came home from work and would bellow “Fee Fi Fo Fum” when he came through the door. It was a clue for us to run and hide because we knew when he found us he would tickle us until we begged for mercy. (When we were older he’d tickle us until we said “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun”. I think that was an early 80s Burger King slogan?)
One of us emptied the hamper in the bathroom and hid inside, thinking my dad wouldn’t notice – my mom snapped a picture as evidence of that brilliant move. You can see how the bathroom used to look, I loved the entry door with the latch on the inside – she wallpapered it with a floral patterns and all four kids (and guests) shared this space. I much prefer the before (except for the floor, I like the after.)
We played in the backyard for hours next to our apple tree. Here I am demonstrating my totally amazing Olympic worthy cartwheel skills. You can see the charming shed we had too and a glimpse of our built in brick barbeque.
The backyard just doesn’t have the same appeal anymore, the apple tree, shed, and barbeque are gone, but my parents loved that it was a large lot with plenty of room to play.
When I was really little, we had a pair of red velvet tufted chairs in the living room where we would curl up and read books – there were built in bookcases next to the brick fireplace with curved moulding around the edges the same wrought iron hardware.
A few years later, my mom upgraded with cream floral couches, she was so elegant in her living room design choices, she loved dark wood combined with light upholstered furniture and blue was her favorite accent color. (hmmm sounds familiar…)
Here’s a shot of the living room now, this is my most favorite room in the universe ever and is still so beautiful. Out of all the homes and spaces I’ve ever lived in, this one wins the gold medal, look at those giant divided light windows and the gorgeous beams on the pitched ceiling.
I used to practice piano here in the living room with the sunlight streaming through the window.
It gives me goose bumps looking again at the house I grew up in and have such fond memories of. I’m happy to see it restored in many ways and to compare it to what it was 25 years ago. Thanks Mom for scanning the old images for me *sniffle* and sending them my way, what a kind thing to do!
Have you ever gone back to tour your childhood home? Do you remember any specific detail? What was it like for you? Sad? Sweet? Sentimental? Do share.