Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This Is Where We Used to Live: Part 2

The next house we moved to was in Lancaster, California, and since we only lived there a year ('88-89), I don't remember the address, so I can't look it up on Google Maps. It was a new construction house, and fairly bland from what I remember. All the houses in the neighborhood looked the same, and all I recall were the half moon shaped windows above everyone's garage. Our particular house was blue and white, with beige carpet inside, and an unlandscaped backyard. There was a dog run on the side of the house, which was good for the dog we ended up adopting that year. Lancaster and Palmdale both experienced a big real estate bust in the late 80s/early 90s, and we saw some of that in our development. Many of the houses were empty or boarded up, and tons were for sale. We lived in this big, brand new house because my aunt and uncle were in real estate and couldn't offload this property, so they rented it to us for super cheap.
After that, we moved to Bakersfield, California, a place where I have many more memories. My parents found the house we rented - a peach stucco little thing with a scraggly yard, lots of wallpaper, a wood burning stove and lots of olive green carpeting - late one night when we were visiting from Lancaster. When my mom saw it in the light of day, she cried. I don't blame her... it was  a really ugly house. Still, I fell in love with the school I attended and the people I met. They were all very welcoming to us, and we made a lot of close friends. My mom stayed at home with me and my brother, and during the summers us and the other families in our social group used to go on all kinds of "adventures" that were mostly free things: going to the park, walking around the mall, playing at the McDonald's playland, swimming a neighbor's pool and touring open houses. I used to love this, and would always pick out a room to be "mine" and make up stories about the people I imagined lived in these staged-with-props homes. Hah, I was a real estate junkie even at age 10! Across the street from the peach house was a cul-de-sac where three little boys my brother's age, and a brother and sister a tiny bit older than me, all lived. We would go over to their houses to play, and spend time wandering in and out of all the neighbors yards. Our experience living in Bakersfield is a great example of community and imagination meaning more to a kid than a great house. Sure, I lamented the fact that I couldn't paint my room pink, and looking back, I'm sure my mom was sort of embarassed by our ugly house. But we had some great fun there - meeting new people, playing with the rusty swingset and big patches of clover in the yard, playing Super Mario Bros. in the winter with a log on the stove.

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