Sunday, August 10, 2008

Growing Up On Cedar Crest Circle - The Houses

In 1971, we moved into our first house. I think the house was built sometime in the early 50's and it was about 800 sq. ft. There were three bedrooms, a living room, one bathroom, and a kitchen.

Our driveway had gravel (I'm assuming from May Stone and Sand).

Our one car garage was detached from the house and sat to the left side and back of it. No remote opening. You had to jimmie the silver, metal handle (pull upwards) and then, pull up on the door. Reverse that to close your garage door.

When we moved in, we had no carpet, only a bathtub in the bathroom (no shower), no fenced in back yard, and no central air (unless opening up your window and letting the breeze in counted!)

Everything - yes everything - we had from a home furnishing and home appliance perspective was used/passed down. Our clothes were too.

But you know, I was none the wiser. I thought everyone lived like this.

I look back and wonder, how the heck did the four of us (then the fifth with my brother Jason), manage to co-exist in such a small amount of space - 800 SQUARE FEET?!

I don't have many pictures of my house from that time period so I've pulled together what I can in order to put the neighborhood into a socio-economic context.

This house (below) is on my street. I specifically took this picture during my trip home in May 2008 because the house for the most part, is unchanged since 1971 and it was very typical of what all of the other houses looked like on the street - especially the location of windows and color of the siding.

Box Shaped House

All of the houses pretty much looked the same. Very square. Very boxy. The siding colors were all neutral - 10 different shades of grey, some white, a few light tan. Not much different from the the shades my husband and I saw when we were looking to build our own home in the 90's.

The windows were located up high - I guess so that people couldn't peak into your windows to see what you were doing.

The windows were secured internally by a flip, sliding metal latch. Extreme hot or cold made the suckers hard to navigate. And sometimes, if you didn't have screens on the outside of your window, and you left your window open to take advantage of that cool breeze, a bird was liable to fly in.

On the positive side, it was a good sized window for a room air conditioner - although you had to stand on a chair (with help from others) to get the pup in there. To be safe, someone needed to be on the outside to make sure that you didn't push the air conditioner out the window either :).

The house layouts were also identical.

I already posted a picture in a previous blog entry - of one of bedrooms. But here it is again. This was the "master bedroom" and at different periods of our lives, my sister and I shared this room as our bedroom.

Me and Kim Spore

See - no carpet - just hard, cement, tiled floor. There were two other smaller bedrooms - both not carpeted. All the bedrooms were clustered together to one side of the house (in our case - right side and back).

Our kitchen was tiny - but not that I noticed it at that time.

Sherry, Kris, and Cindy

In the picture is my cousin Cindy (the birthday girl), me, and a distant cousin, Sherry. We're at the kitchen table. The dryer is in the corner, the back door to the right of that. What you don't see is - to the right of that, was the washer and the sink (no dishwasher - none except us kids!). The pantry was in the hallway and the refrigerator straddled the kitchen area and the hallway. To the left of that was the stove.

Get all that? I think it was about 150 sq ft. Tiny, tiny, tiny. But me? I really didn't know that at the time.

And did you catch the Scot Lad Brands?! On my flickr account, you can see a HUGE close-up on this particular picture (2241 x 1525). Go ahead. It'll crack you up.

This is a picture of me and my cousin Cindy, in our backyard after my First Communion. Like my dress? My grandma bought it secondhand somewhere and it was passed on to my sister Patty and my two cousins, Cindy and Wendy to wear during their First Communion's.

Kris and Cindy

We had family over for a reception in our backyard. Our backyards were pretty big. My mom used to hang laundry out on the clothesline which she put up behind our one car garage.

In the back of us (this picture) is our neighbor's house. It looked just like ours and everyone elses. One car garage (always detached from the house), windows placed up really high...Look closely, and you can see their clothesline.

It's amazing to think back on this time in my life. I was so oblivious to what I didn't have. But gosh, I sure knew what I had and I appreciated it a lot.

Sidenote: I specifically listened to songs from the 70's (maybe some were from the 60's too?) while I was writing this and I was amazed how freely the memories flowed. I could literally reach out and touch them :).

Go All the Way - The Raspberries
Fooled Around and Fell in Love - Elvin Bishop
Delta Dawn - Helen Reddy
Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh
When Will I See You Again - The Three Degrees
Drift Away - Dobie Gray
Mr. Bojangles - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Me and You and a Dog Named Boo - Lobo
Love Hurts - Nazareth
Always and Forever - Heat Wave
Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell
Thunder Island - Jay Ferguson
One Toke Over the Line - Brewer and Shipley
Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu - Johnny Rivers
Undercover Angel - Alan O'Day
You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful, and You're Mine - Ringo Starr
Long Cool Woman - The Hollies
Day Afer Day - Badfinger


Colleen said...

check out the dress I'm wearing in my kindergarten picture....

look familiar?

Alan said...

I grew up pretty poor too, but rich in friends & fantasies & music in my head.

Thanks for mentioning my song, Undercover Angel!


Kristina said...

OH MY GOSH COLLEEN!!!!! That is hilarious!!