Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Old House


I did something spontaneous the other day when I was out running errands. I was in the area, so I decided, after 21 years, to see if I remembered how to get to the old house and I managed to find it and snap a picture, although it looks much different now.

That's never been a good neighborhood. Maybe once it was, back in the 60s I'd imagine. It was bad back then and it still is now. It's a cheap rent kind of place. There have always been a lot of fresh immigrants sharing cramped quarters. Old people live in many of the homes. They're the types who bought the houses back when they were new and never left, even as the cul-de-sacs and courts crumbled into ruin around them - the chain link fences rusting, walls staining scab-colored from sprinklers, grass dying and roofs never being replaced. When we lived there the neighborhood was largely Hispanic but now it seems to be Haitian, though I saw a good sprinkling of white trash too. I guess anyone who's poor moves in. I'm pretty sure there's gang activity.

Our house though, was nicer than we left it. Someone is trying. Look, they planted some little ornamental palms. When we lived there, the yard was mostly dirt, but part of the front yard is now covered in sod. That trim is new too. The house was all white when I was sixteen and now it's pale yellow with accents the color of Gulden's Spicy mustard. The summer of 1990, that poor house looked like it had never been painted. It certainly wasn't a crisp, intentional white. It was a faded and streaked with grey and mud kind of non-color that was closer to newspaper than actual white paint.

You can tell how tiny the place is. You walk right into a living room and you immediately find yourself facing a sliver of kitchen (the refrigerator was practically in the living room), no bigger than a hallway and that leads back to a Florida room that was so dilapidated and filled with old junk that Aunt Kiki, always a hoarder, promised to come pick up eventually and never did.

If you stand in the living room, on the terrazzo floor, and look to your left you'll see that about four steps away is a door that opens into one of the bedrooms. Jim and Scott slept in there on futon cushions and stacks of blankets. 

The next door back is where David and I slept. We agreed to pay more rent so we could have the room with the window unit AC and we were closer to the one bathroom, which had that canned salmon colored tile so popular back in the 60s. The bathroom was so small you could hardly turn around in it. Right outside the bathroom and across from our bedroom is a linen closet. I don't remember us having much in the way of linen, but I'm sure we crammed our sandy beach towels in there.


And what is so special about this house? Nothing. Only that it is the first place I ever tried to live on my own.

2 comments:

Light Pollution said...

It's always weird to drive by a house you use to live in. I drove by my grandma's old house a few years ago and was horrified to discover that where I remembered grapevines and dead pet graves, there were multiple trailers. Trailers! My grandma's backyard is now a trailer park. Depressing. At lease yours is getting some care.

Venus Flytrap, Inc. said...

Wow, Wide Lawns. WOW.

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