Sometimes when I read other people's posts or chat with friends or relatives, I feel very provincial and small. Growing up in my ethnic-rich steel town in the Midwest exposed me to many different cultures, but it didn't make me long to expand my horizons. Back then, everyone I knew was content to marry a local, get a good job close by, and stick around the family, living a life quite similar to what he or she grew up with. Things were fine in the seventies; if your dad worked at the steel mill, you could get a job there. Likewise with the Ford plant, Lake Terminal Railroad, Nelson Stud Welding,and, early on, AmShip. The days of the big labor strikes were gone, and everyone was doing fine. Travel, to me, meant packing up the Chevy, or later, the Buick, and driving to visit relatives in Pennsylvania or Florida or less than an hour away in another county. One year, we did go all the way across country exploring the West, but that trip is another whole post.
This exposition will become clear when you read today's question:
Where is the one place you have lived that you remember most fondly and why?
I have lived in two places my entire life, and they are eight miles/fifteen minutes apart. That is, unless you count college, then it is three. All of them would be in Ohio, however, which would then make it one. Now, if you want to specify "domiciles", then that helps me out considerably. I have lived in four, unless you still want to count college, then that would be seven. Again, all still in Ohio, though, so we are again back to ONE.
And I have fond memories of all of the places I've lived, pretty much. Growing up, our front yard had a tree right smack in the middle of it, a maple. It was a perfect tree, with a nice sturdy limb at just the right height always for sitting on or swinging a leg over to start climbing. There were perfect branches and crotches in the best places for lounging to read a book or just relax. If I wanted to bring up a transistor radio, there was always a place to wedge it in or hang it. If I didn't feel like climbing, its shade was cool and inviting, and my sister and I would spread a big blanket and lie there to color, play games, play dolls, or eat cherries or watermelon and spit seeds. It's old now, and covered with ivy. It looks tired and sort of misshapen. It hasn't been climbed in more than ten years. Maybe twenty.
At college one quarter I had the one and only chance I ever had in my life to live alone. It was satisfying and I loved it. I had always shared a room with both or one of my sisters. My first quarter at college I had three roommates, and it eventually levelled off at two. Finally, a single room happened to be available, and as a senior, I got it. It was like my tiny nest. I had everything I needed in there; I didn't have to worry about anyone bothering me with their bullshit, and anyone who came to the door was there for me. I didn't have to be a secretary part-time for anyone. It was quiet, small, and private. Alone, but not lonely.
After college, Rick and I got married and we moved into a one-bedroom apartment. When we planned to have a baby, we moved across the hall into a two-bedroom. Jared's room there was bright and airy and I was so happy with it. I liked a few things about apartment life, the tidiness of it, the compact smallness of things, the idea that it wasn't permanent. I remember how much I liked having flowers on our little balcony.
When Jared was just three months old, we moved into our house. It was a disaster when we bought it, the tenants having been forcibly evicted, and the landlord in Florida. Rick saw the potential immediately, but I didn't have that vision. I did, however, love the beautiful natural woodwork all throughout the house. I loved that it was small and neat; the rooms were defined with no big open spaces blending into one another. I laughed at the huge tree growing right in front of one of the garage doors. We got the house for a very low price and had the keys for a month before we moved in. We worked like crazy to get Jared's nursery and the bathroom and kitchen done first. Those memories...not so fond. It wasn't fun. And it was hard to be patient for the time that it took to get everything done and done right. I learned an awful lot. (Whether I wanted to or not.) It took forever for this house to feel like home to me. Of course, though, it does now although I can't recall when that happened.
If I began enumerating all the lovely memories we have of this house, it would sound like a list of cliches. And it might sound a great deal like a list so many of you could make as well. Jared and Sam knew no other home than this as children, and Sam has steadfastly refused to call any of his apartments "home." I'm glad that they both have moved out of this town and out to places that they can call their own. I want them to look past the boundaries of Ohio, too. That's my eventual plan, once the pieces all fall into place. I just hope they hurry. Patience--not my strongest trait.
I can't wait to hear of the wonderful and exotic locales where so many of you have lived. Sigh. So go ahead--tell me in comments. Or just chat about my wee life, quite a rarity in this day and age, I know.
note: Blogger was acting oddly, so forgive the strange font appearance.