|In case you had any doubt that I was/am a giant nerd. Click on the photo for a clearer view of my amazing penmanship.|
Our family moved into this house on August 25, 1972. There is my artist's rendering in the diary entry above. I was nearly 11. It looks like the work of a five-year-old. The four of us had been living in a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. I shared a bed with my brother; my parents slept on a pull-out couch in the living room.
I liked the apartment; it had a terrace, and we lived across the street from a big, beautiful park. Still, it was a huge deal to move into a house with a yard, with a lilac bush and peonies. Their sweet smell filled the house when my parents would cut them and put them in a vase on the dining room table. Flowers from our own garden! A neighbor baked bread, wrapped it in brown paper, tied it with string, attached a hydrangea and left it on our front step as a welcome gift. So quaint! So picturesque! This is the way people with houses did things, I thought.
My brother and I each had a room. I got the larger room, as I am the oldest, and also a princess, and I certainly needed more room for my canopy bed and Madame Alexander dolls. I believe my brother still resents me for this 40 years later, and I don't blame him.
|The dress I knitted with help from mom and grandma|
|Malibu Barbie in a kicky hostess gown|
I only lived full-time in the house for 7 years, but it's always been where the extended family gathered for holidays and graduation parties and barbeques and funerals. My father died there.
I didn't choose to raise my family in the town where I grew up. The reasons are complicated, and as my mother has gotten older I've often questioned that decision. When we were shopping for our home, we would run into the older widows who were reluctantly selling their family homes. I always felt sad for them. Now my mother is one of those women, leaving the place where she raised us, cooked delicious meals, played pinochle, and argued politics with her friend Cathy over Sambuca.