Friday, October 5, 2012

The House

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.
My mother has finally sold her house. She's getting older (her age is not for publication), and has many many health problems. She fell down the stairs last year, and even before that, the place had become a burden. So after years of deliberation, mom put it on the market. Now she has to vacate by the end of the month.

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
My mother has been cleaning out the place for a decade, hauling things to Salvation Army and bringing me boxes of my childhood stuff. That's where I found the above Barbie, dress and diary, in which I frequently apologized for not writing often enough, as if the diary were a living being. Clearly, writing infrequently has always been a problem. In the diary,  I don't mention the bullying I endured as the plump new girl. I hadn't gotten to the point of using writing as a way to vent.

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.


  1. This is a lovely post.
    I don't have anything to say other than that, but this is a post that deserves a comment, so I'm commenting.

  2. Agreed. Lovely post and funny how a place we spend time in for some of our most intimate moments can be so hard to let go. My grandma passed a few years ago and her house was one of the last places I could really remember being a kid. Thanks for sharing your diary and I love the drawing. It must have been such a wonderful new world for you at the time and this shows.

  3. Nice photos and also nice place. Thanks for sharing the post.
    OGradys Landscape