Wednesday, January 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, Week 4; Home

Week 4: Home. Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?

I actually grew up in three different houses... I only spent four years each in the first two, but they feel just as much as home to me, if not more, as the one I spent 10 years in.

My first home was in Augusta, Georgia.  We lived there until I was 4 (1967-1971).  Unfortunately I have no pictures of this house and it has now burned down.  Being so young, I remember very little about this home.  A few things I do recall:

*  The steep driveway we had and my ball rolling down that driveway one day into the road.  Some nice gentleman stopped his car and returned it to me.
*  Locking the bathroom door from the inside and Daddy trying to get it open with his pocketknife.  Luckily, he succeeded.
*  Being stung by bees in the bushes on the side of the house
*  Having a four-poster bed and my one-time babysitter's daughter swinging on one of the posts and breaking it.  I also got a spanking for that, though Daddy admitted later that he knew I didn't break it.  :)

My parents moved back to Augusta in the 1990's.  To this day, Augusta feels the most like home to me.

My second home was in Jacksonville, Florida.  We lived there for four years - until I was 8 (1971-1975).  This is where my fondest memories lie.  My dad built this house.  My parents had actually lived on this property before.  The house was made of blocks, which was common in Florida at that time.  It had two bedrooms with one bath, and I remember Daddy adding the den (or "Florida Room") onto the back of the house.  Since we had the den, we didn't use the living room in the front of house much.  Our dining table overlooked the carport.  My bedroom was at the other end, on the back side of the house.  My mom read to me every night, and lying in my bed is where I learned how to spell "Elizabeth."  I was in my room playing one day and wanted to crank my "car" so I put a key into the electrical socket!  I had a swing outside.  I learned to ride a bicycle there and rode it all over the place.  Since we lived in a quiet neighborhood, I could ride my bike in the street, and Mom and I would even ride our bikes a couple of blocks to the Trout River.  The lot next to our house was empty so I used to play there a lot. 

I guess when we lived here, I was old enough to remember, but not yet old enough to realize that the world could be a bad and scary place.  So the vast majority of memories I have from Jacksonville are good ones.  

In 1975, when I was almost 9, we moved to Swainsboro, Georgia.  Or rather, Daddy and I moved to Swainsboro.  Mom worked for Southern Bell and could not get a transfer.  For a year she stayed in Jacksonville during the week and drove 4 1/2 hours to Swainsboro each weekend.  As I described in a previous post, my grandparents passed away in November 1973.  That left my grandmother's sister, Alice, alone, and it only took a few months for my parents to realize that Alice could not live on her own.  So thus the reason for the move.  I had already spent a lot of time in that house, visiting my grandparents.  I lived here until I was 18 (1975-1985). 

The house used to be a store building, and my grandfather converted it into a house in the 1960's.  It started out as three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, but my father eventually added a fourth bedroom in the garage.  The garage ran the entire length of the house on the back.  Pop Pop had a library (den) off the living room and from that room, a glass sliding door led out to the garage.  There was a door leading outside from the dining room, which we also used a lot.  There was another entrance further down the front of the house that led into a little room that we called the vestibule that was not big enough for anything.  We kept a desk in there mostly and never used it.  The room was smaller than a closet.  There was a large window across the front of the living room, left over from the store.  The kitchen sink, oven and counters were all pink.  The picture was taken before my grandparents died... there was a concrete driveway and walkways later.

When we first moved there, the middle room, the room with no window because it backed up to the garage, was my room.  When Alice moved into a home in Augusta, I moved into her old room - the front bedroom.  That was my bedroom all through high school.  It had red shag carpet on the floor.  I had my own bathroom at that point.  The bathrooms in that house were huge.  I had a dressing table and a large linen closet in mine.  

Truth be told, I do not have many good memories from this house.  As a matter of fact, until as recently as 5 years ago, every nightmare or strange dream I had was set in that house.  

The house is still there.  Daddy sold it a few years before he died, and the new owners have changed it quite a bit. 

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