Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This is Where We Used to Live: Part 1

I have lived in many homes, apartments, townhomes and condos in my life... I'd estimate around 15 different dwellings. I've been thinking about the different homes I grew up in lately. The feelings they had, the things I liked about them, the things I didn't, the memories they evoke. It's funny, but I think my housing obsession started way back when I was a little kid. I think there was something stigmatizing about the way we moved a lot, and were renters. Not to say there's anything bad about renting (heck, if we were renters we wouldn't be so many tens of thousands of dollars underwater right now!) but I hated that I couldn't ever paint my bedroom, or really settle into the family home the way my friends had. We never bought backyard toys, because they'd be a pain to move. Basically, I wanted a sandbox, swingset and a frilly pink bedroom like my best friend Sarah in Bakersfield, and instead, I had a white-walled, olive green carpeted room with a dingy, cement patio yard.
The first home I have real memories of is this one, in small Dixon, CA. I lived here from 1984-1988. I still remember the address because it rhymed, but this isn't what I remember the outside of this house looking like. I think in the 80s it was brown and white. It had two stories, and I remember it just seemed huge. There were open stairs that lead up to my bedroom, and I used to like to hang upsidedown from the underside of them. The carpet was dark brown, and you walked right into the living room. There was a kitchen and den in the back. The upstairs was where I liked to spend most of my time... aside from my small little bedroom tucked into a corner, there was a huge open playroom, where I liked to play school. My dad worked at a nature gift shop in a nearby town, and we had decorated the room like a mini-museum with things he bought there - gemstones and a model dinasour skeleton, and a huge poster of the solar system. We had a book shelf with an illustrated dictionary and a set of encyclopedias. It was a really nerdy playroom and I loved it.
The yard had a small cement patio and a big open play area, and was fenced, so my brother and I could play outside without much supervision. There was an open field behind the fence, where we sometimes flew kites. I bet it's been developed by now.
We played in the front yard a lot too, and there were some eccentric kids a little older than us next door that I sometimes rode bikes with. While looking at the Google Maps of this house, I barely remember it looking like this, but one glance down the street and I'm flooded with the memory of riding a two-wheeler for the first time, and playing The Snorks in the open garage. I had my first sleepover in this house, had a bunny named Francis that died on Easter Sunday, and one Christmas my dad somehow left us bikes and my mom a record player in the playroom while we were at church, and I was completely convinced that Santa had visisted while we were gone (I think he had a friend deliver the presents).
I remember this house really fondly.

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