Monday, June 25, 2007

This house is not a home

But once upon a time it was. It had neat, light gray slate shingles and a well-kept, tree-shaded yard. I know that for a fact because it was my childhood home. The doors - front and back - were always open to friends and family.

While I was in Chattanooga with my friends last weekend, we spent time touring the old 'hood. That's when I snapped this picture of 114 South Moore Road. It came as no surprise to see it so rundown. I was by there ten or twelve years ago, and it was in sad shape then. The place bears little resemblance to the place where I grew up.

That front walk saw many a game of "Red Light/Green Light," "Mother May I," and hopscotch. There were planters with petunias and geraniums on the front porch in the summer, and a nice front door, lovingly decorated at Christmas.

I remember a house with lots of rooms and spaces to rest or read or run through or have a bowl of Campbell's soup and a baloney sandwich in. I'm sure those rooms would seem tiny now. Still, they were big enough to provide welcoming space for a family of six and all the comings and goings that take place in a family that size.

One of the rooms upstairs - the stairs were narrow and steep - had a bookcase that pulled out to reveal a secret "room." Actually, it wasn't a room at all, but just a small storage space where my brother David hid his Playboy magazines. (Little sisters and their friends are good at finding things like that.)

The floors of the house weren't level, even when we lived there. I could open up the doors between the den in the back and my parents' room in the front, lace up my roller skates, and just roll from the back room to the front of the house without any effort on my part. Zzzzzyyup - downhill all the way!

In addition to the rabbit-warren of rooms inside, it offered great side and back yards outside. Plenty of room to run off energy, grow a garden, walk a fence, climb a mulberry tree, have birthday parties, or play on the swings and whirlygig.

But what you need to know is that the ramshackle, ugly house in the picture, was a home. A lovely, clean, homey home. You just can't go home again, I reckon.


Elsie said...

Ramshackle it may be, but if the walls could talk they would tell you that your family made it a home. "Home is where the heart is" always holds true.

Anonymous said...

With little to do but goes: That stinking old moose head kept upstairs, Aunt Catherine's chocolate cakes, Perry Mason and Gunsmoke on Saturday nights, you forever eating raw bell peppers and plain white bread, radio station WHOO, David's mo-ped, that bathroom off the back/side entrance (to the left) that always had things stored in the shower space, listening to the short-wave receiver Uncle Clayton had borrowed from a friend, being bitten by Marsha's dog, having picnics in the side yard, Suzie who worked for the local Chevrolet dealership for a while, Honest Charlie, Lake Winapasoka - "don't need-um much money to take-um your honey," and numerous wonderful family Christmas parties at that great old house.

Love, You-Know-Who

MaryB said...

And this from Big Bro (who can never remember his password to comment):

"That is so sad. Even though that was my home for only six years (12-18) it is always the place I dream of when I dream of home. I remember Daddy did the remodeling when he sledghammered the old columns on the porch and replaced them with the spindly wrought iron. Looking at it now it rather destroyed the proportion but he was trying for a 50's flair on a 30's house. He did good.

He paid $10,000 for that house. We did a lot of living there for many years. I miss seeing the soft gray siding with the crisp white trim and the black wrought iron and the flower planters Daddy would plant every year for Mother on Mother's Day. The white rail fence in the side yard and the big shade trees. It was a good home.

And, Elsie, the walls may one day talk indeed. There are at least two time capsules in the house. One placed in the wall between the Living room and a bedroom, the other tucked away in that secret room in the attic. I remember the first listing all the members of our family, the date and our ages. The other was placed shortly before the election of 1960 and my predictions as to the outcome (poor Nixon) along with several household items no longer in use. I wonder if they will ever be found and if so hopefully in better condition than the car they just unearthed.

Big Bro."

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh Mary...there is something so touching about seeing your old home. Noone can take away the memories you have all those years ago. Your 'Big Bro' had a nice list of some of those memories.

MaryB said...

Perhaps we should get up to Chattanooga and recover those time capsules before the house falls down! The place looked unoccupied, but it may just be that someone still lives there.

GlennC! said...

Mary, Mary, Mary...Was in Chattanooga not long ago visiting Fonza and had to drive by 114 S. Moore and 411 Thornton. What a time trip. I recall so many memories from your house...yes, that secret room. Clayton doing a demo of a science lesson one sleepover morning as to what would happen to the hot pan that just came out of the oven when cold water is rum over it. Those wonderful window A/C units in the den...with the slooping floor...and the play house out back...and your little dog. And your wonderful family. What good times and great friends.