The next place we moved to was the great state of Minnesota. I've blogged about how wonderful this move was for me: I met some of my best friends and my husband here, I went to a great high school, enjoyed college and got a decent job right out of school. Minnesota is my home, and I would never move back to California. That said, the first place we lived wasn't our favorite. In the early-mid 90s in Minnesota, homes were dirt cheap and rentals expensive and hard to find. We were completely shocked that hardly anyone rented in Minnesota, and that a single family home to rent was near impossible to find. That's why we ended up in this rental townhome (these have since turned into owned townhomes).
It was my first real experience with communal living. We'd lived in an apartment when I was a baby, but all my memories up until this point were of houses. There was a lot to like about the townhouse - it was multi-level, so you came in on the ground floor and could either go downstairs to a walkout basement (completely novel to us Californians), or go up a level to the living room, dining room and kitchen. Another level up were me and my brother's rooms and a bathroom. Up another flight of stairs and you were in the master. It was kind of neat to have all those stairs, especially when we were used to living in one-level ranches. There were two big decks - one on the main level and a smaller one off my parent's bedroom. There were some neat woods behind the townhouses, but I don't remember spending much time outside at all. For one, we moved in the dead of winter (a huge shock) and two, my brother and I were at the ages when hanging out with friends and exploring the wonders of dial-up internet took precedence over playing outside.
My parents liked how new the townhouse was, but didn't like having neighbors so close. The kids next door would leave their toys right in the entry way of our house, and you could hear lots of noise coming from next door. My brother and I would knock on the wall when they got too loud, which in hindsight was kind of rude. We had a communal pool, which was nice, but overall, these townhouses were seen as "trashy" by kids at school, who claimed that this perfectly fine suburban neighborhood was "the ghetto." I think there was a real stigma to renting in Minnesota, especially during that period of time in the housing market.
I had a nice bedroom with a bright sunny window. There's a really serene picture I have somewhere of my room with the light streaming in onto a pale yellow quilt and my sleeping kitty (and now dearly departed) Rex. I had my first real boyfriend at this house, and received my first kiss on the doorstep. My best friend to this day lived just down the block in an apartment complex, and we'd go swimming at her pool and spend summer days making our Empire Records website.
I find it interesting that you can now buy a townhouse in this development. I'm sure that happened during the housing boom. My mom scoffed when she heard this, and said, "who would want to own one of those?" It was a decent place to live for a year or two, but it always felt temporary.