Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.
Today’s assignment in writing 101 is to talk about the home I lived in when I was 12. Going to start talking about the HOUSE, and then describe the HOME. Because in my opinion they are not the same
We lived in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in a red brick/blue siding home. I believe they call it a raised ranch. Walking in the front door there are steps going upstairs and steps going down stairs. Upstairs was 3 bed rooms and a bathroom to the left, kitchen straight ahead, dining room and front room to the right. Downstairs the family room and one bedroom to the left and Dad’s den, a bedroom and a bathroom to the right. For the record, the difference at our house between a living room and a front room, is the living room had a TV.
Outside was a front yard that went around on the west side of the house to meet up with the backyard, separated only by a chain link fence. On the east side was the driveway that led back to the 2 car garage that Dad had built when I was younger. In the middle of the front yard was a big crab-apple tree that sat right in front of the picture window that was in the front room. In the back was a red wooden porch coming from the kitchen. The aforementioned garage and a shed, one of those with the aluminum siding that was bought from a local hardware store and constructed by whoever Dad could get to help. My sister painted a large “E” on the door, I guess in case anyone forgot who it belonged to. Backyard was completely fenced in with chain link fence.
Living in Chicago suburbia, there was always something to do or somewhere to go and plenty of people to do it with. Our entire neighborhood basically grew up together, very rarely did anyone move away. There are 7 houses on our side of the street and 9 on the other side and everybody knew everybody. A day rarely went by when there wasn’t a baseball, football or hockey game in the street depending on the season. Or a basketball game in my driveway that could last long after dark once all the outside lights were turned on. At night “kick the can” or dodge-ball games under the street lights would go on until the grown ups decided it was too late for us to be outside and called us in.
Inside the house with my three sisters, two older, mom and dad was our dachshund named Jeffy and a parakeet that started his stay known as “Jingles”, but whose name was shortly changed to “Bird Brain” by my Dad who would always be greeted by a plethora of squawks and yells and whistles every night after work until he went to the cage and played with the bird.
Dinners were eaten as a family unless little league games or practices were going on. Used to ride my bike up to the ball fields unless “it looked like rain” as our cars would not have been able to get me and my bike back home afterwards if it did. We were expected to help around the house, you know….CHORES! I was responsible for keeping the grass cut and learned a very hard lesson one year that I will never forget. Kept putting off that last cut of the year, mostly because of that damn crab-apple tree in the front and all of the small pieces of fruit that fell every year that had to be picked up, bagged up in those brown paper grocery bags and put at the curb. The only thing that tree was good for was for climbing. Anyway, grass didn’t get cut for a couple weeks and crab-apples just lay rotting in the yard until Dad couldn’t take it any more. He told me that no matter what, I was to get the yard done on Saturday. I know now that he was probably hoping that I would show some initiative and get it done without any kind of threat, but that usually didn’t happen.
This is probably the end of October or beginning of November in Chicago, and although it did not usually happen this early in the season, it snowed that Friday night. Not a lot, but enough to cover the grass…..and crab-apples. Of course my first reaction was of relief since there is no way that you can cut grass in the snow, right? WRONG! Was out there for hours trying to get the yard done, with an ever watchful eye always hovering around to make sure I was working. Had to bag the grass of course and because of the snow and the apples, had to stop every couple minutes so I was out there forever. I know now that this was a lesson about procrastination, but when you are 12, it is just plain mean!
There are so many other memories of my childhood HOME, some good and some not so good. Not sure why the crab-apple/snow grass cutting story was at the fore front of my memories today, but I just went with it.