From my childhood, three places stand out for length of residence and for bringing the word “home” to mind for me: our house on Pico Street in San Bernardino (from about age 4 to age 8), Lankershim Street in Highland, California (first time, from about age 2 to 4, second time age 8 to 13), and the Housing Project on Pecan Street in Seymour, Texas (age 15 to 18). In addition to these there were all the places my father was posted in Pennsylvania, Texas, and California when he was in the Air Force (up to age 2 for me) and the four houses we lived in when I was in eighth and ninth grades.
Me, my mother, and Buster the dog
in front of our house on Lankershim Street (first residence, pre-addition)
The main quality that characterized our early houses is something I can only describe as “the potential exceeded the reality.” As in, “We can fix this up.” I’ve written several posts that describe the house on Lankershim Street:
Memory Monday: My Playhouse
Memory Monday: Construction
Memory Monday: Junk in Our Yard
Memory Monday: Fire
Memory Monday: The Mulberry Tree
I suppose I haven’t really written much about the house on Pico Street. It had three bedrooms and one bath. It had one of those rambler designs: you entered the living room, the kitchen/dining room was on the right, and the bedrooms and bathroom were on the left. There was a carport in front and a patio in the back. Pretty bare bones, but it seem nice and comfortable to us. I remember the pyracantha bushes and the lady ferns. We knew and were friends with many of our neighbors.
I “visit” the Pico Street house and the Lankershim Street house occasionally on Google Maps; they’re both still there. The neighborhoods look a bit more threadbare now than they did then.
We now live in the same house we’ve lived in since 1983. It’s more modest and decrepit than the homes of most of our friends and acquaintances. But still, I do not want to move.
Many of our friends and associates are starting to talk about retiring and “getting out of the Washington, D.C. area” - with good reason. As in many “metro areas,” especially those that are not dying off from blight, traffic and congestion have been getting worse and worse and civility is often a casualty of those developments. These friends would like to move to warmer - in terms of both weather and local attitude - climes. Towns and small cities where you can walk to many of the places you need and want to visit regularly. Or even, for a while, cozy little urban enclaves in the cities of their youth, where both sophisticated entertainment and convenience stores are close at hand.
Still, I do not want to move. This is home. We have five cats and a lizard buried here. We have half a lifetime of memories, and I do not want to be physically separated from those memories. There are so many things that need to be repaired and the walls almost bulge with our collections of books and music that verge on hoarder status. But I grew up with “ramshackle,” “needs fixin’,” and “runnin’ outa room,” and I am used to it. So I ain’t moving.