Week 4: The Childhood Homes

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 4

Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?

Now this could get emotional! This week my task it to talk about my childhood home… or homes as I remember it. I’m very fortunate to have not moved very often in my life. I’m hoping that trend continues, but only after I move to a nice, quiet town where I want to spend the rest of my days. I know I’m a little young to be thinking about the rest of my days, but as the town around me grows, I can’t help but realize city life is not for me.

My family tells me we lived in a small trailer when I was born, but moved to the bigger one I do remember later. I’ll have to trust them on this because I was only a few months old at the time and my memory ain’t what it used to be if you get my drift.  We lived in this trailer from my early baby years until I was in Kindergarten. I remember the circumstances around the end of our time there so clearly.

I remember being in my class and it was very, very dark outside. I don’t know if my fear of storms roots from this day or if it’s always been there. It doesn’t matter, because that day when I got home, I think I already knew something bad happened. Our trailer was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

Mattapany Rd house, 1987.

Those ruins are the first house I remember. In fact, I remember my sister getting stung by a swarm of bees that loved to hang out on that swing set. I remember when my parents got me a bike for my birthday and my Dad ran around the outside of the trailer trying to hide it from me. It’s not in frame but we had a tree line on the other side of the house. It was  there that we built the tree house. It was there that we hung the zip line and tire swing. It was there my brother cracked his head open and I fell out of the tree house breaking my arm (first and only broken bone!) It was here my sister was riding her bike down the driveway and she flew over the handlebars and broke both arms.

Lots of childhood memories of this house.

If I believed in coincidences, I would call what happened next the biggest of my life. You see, as our house burned down, my parents were signing papers to purchase the property where we still live. We had to stay with friends until all the details were ironed out. It wasn’t long before we moved into the trailer where we lived for the rest of my childhood.

The differences were huge though. We had a bigger yard for one. We had a neighborhood with more kids around us (that I can remember anyway!). Most of all though, it was ours. Our previous trailer was just a rental. So this time everything in the place was ours. Literally because we had nothing left. We quickly filled the house with memories though.

I remember playing basketball, croquet, and football with my siblings and the other neighborhood kids. I remember being grounded and not being able to “leave the yard”. Gosh that was a horrible punishment! We had a virtual mecca of places to go! Other peoples houses, and the store down the street. Nowadays, that’d be out of the question of course. The road is way too busy for kids being about.

House #2 - Jun 2005.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of our houses. At least in their glory. 🙁 Not that I think the trailer was ever in its glory stage. It was our home though. Mom loved it because she was always in her kids business and they couldn’t get away with anything! Not that I would try any of that nonsense, right? haha. Our trailer definitely had many battle scars. There was the soy sauce stains on the ceiling (I was not apart of that food fight… that I remember). A hole in my parents bedroom door that my brother put there after roughhousing with his friends. Unfortunately for Mom’s bedroom door it was right next to the back door.

You’ll probably notice the arrow in the picture above. It would be that tree that would fall onto our trailer and force our hand on the next move.

The thing is, I’ve said numerous times I don’t believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason and we may not always know what that reason is, but it’s our job to realize when it happens and take action. You see, for my whole life, my mother’s stepfather was on her case about building a house on our property. He was just worried about the trailer, and that we would have another tragedy like the Mattapany house. It was one year to the day of his death that the tree fell onto our house. It happened when Moms children were all grown, still at home, but grown. It happened when she was taking a break for the first time in her life. She’d decided to try and retire from work, at least retail work. My Dad had a more flexible, more generous job.

Our House - Jan 2011

This is the house as it stands today. We’ve finally realized Grandpa Wayne’s dream for us. It took a little pushing from him if you get my drift, but we did it. We’ve lost in our life, everyone has. We came out on the other end though, stronger then you can imagine. Now when we have these monster snowstorms, or powerful storms I just think about our little trailer. You could hear the wind blow in the old thing. I can’t hear a semi truck in this one! I know this is a house my parents will be enjoying for a long, long time. They now have a big kitchen, family room, and a guest room! Well, more when me and my sister finally go. It was always stressful to have visitors because there just wasn’t room. Last 4th of July, we had two of my Aunts and their husbands here and everyone had room.

Note: Yes, that is a large, blue M&M in front of our house. My Mom is eccentric, what can I say!

This post is a part of the 52 weeks of Personal History and Genealogy series hosted by GeneaBloggers and created by Amy Coffin.

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