Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.
Good heavens, Daily Post people! What is it with your obsession with writing about our homes!?!
First there was that long post about my current home. . . . Oh, wait.
That post could have been about any place anywhere in the world. It was just my own nesting instincts that led it to be home-focused.
But how about this childhood home thing? I was free-writing about that in my pen and paper journal recently. . . . Oh, wait!
That was free writing, which is, indeed, a habit strongly encouraged by the Writing 101 folks. However, the definition of what “free writing” is pretty much mandates that specific topics come from inside of me rather than being externally imposed.
So if there’s any spooky obsessiveness around the topic of home and childhood, that’s all on me, baby.
For all of the times we moved during my childhood, we did a pretty good job at scheduling most of those disruptions to take place during summer vacation. That detail, plus my September birthday — meaning that every school grade neatly lines up with a single chronological year for me — makes it super-easy for me to dial up past houses/apartments in my memory. It goes something like this: 12 years old would put me in 7th grade,* which means we’re talking about that second time in Ohio.
I could share the street address with you, but I won’t. The number is burned into my brain but also disconnected from the current paper trail of my existence. So it’s possible that these digits might sometimes get used as the PIN number on my frequent flyer accounts. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) And I needs to keep my miles.
I’m close to having a picture of the floor plan in my mind. Even though it was in the Midwest, it was another of those “two-story center entrance colonials” I was so glad to avoid in my most recent round of house-hunting. Standing in the front entryway, the staircase was to the right side of the entry hall, with an open doorway at the foot of the stairs leading to the front-to-back living room, with the screened porch jutting even further back off the horse’s perimeter. A waist-high railing separated the back side of the family room from the “breakfast area” and kitchen. Then, continuing the counterclockwise circle, was the dining room and, past that, the formal living room. I never visited there except during Christmastime, when the tree would be placed in the bay window, decorated and lit with bright colors. We’d sit there after dinner and talk — no lights except the tree and the electric candles in the windows.
The master suite was directly to the right at the top of the stairs. Its front-to-back arrangement echoed the family room below. Meanwhile, down the hall to the left was the guest room, a bathroom, maybe even an extra extra bedroom that had been turned into dad’s home office? The end of the hall, I’m sure about: my room in front, my sister’s in back. My carpet and walls were bright yellow, and I had a habit of rethinking and re-arranging the furniture in my room when I was in need of a bit of self-re-invention.
You may notice that I’ve been focusing my attention on the sheer physicality of this house. It’s not like I’m breaking any rules with that decision. After all, the prompt was to talk about the home I lived in back then. So here I am, talking. Or writing.
But I am going to stop here, having written about the house, but without really writing about the living in that house. As I recall it, 7th grade was an especially tough one on the awkward-adolescence and misfit-family-member scale. And there’s some memories that just don’t need reliving right now.
* “Age minus 5” is the formula that holds true for me.
Image credit: https://www.etsy.com/listing/124506359/ohio-home-print-red?
(In case this specific item gets sold and the link becomes defunct, go here to get to the Etsy seller’s main store-front.)