Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop: Too Many Homes to Count

This week for Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop, I chose to write about the houses I lived in growing up. Want to read more writers? Visit Mama Kat and check out the linky we all participate in.


We moved a lot when I was little. Money was a bit of a challenge, and in my lifetime, my parents never owned a home. We rented various houses all around Sarasota, Florida, after moving there shortly before I turned 4. Prior to that, we lived in Iowa and Illinois, though I don't remember it in the least. If I remember correctly, I lived in three houses up north before we moved to Florida.

The way I remember it, we lived in no less than six different homes while I was growing up, one of which we lived in for over eight years. Prior to that, though, we moved around practically yearly, and I remember hating that a lot. It was hard to make friends with kids in my neighborhood because we moved so often, I stopped trying after a while because I knew we'd just move. I knew at a young age that money was tight and that we moved around a lot because of it. We never talked about money, not as a family, but I would overhear my parents sometimes and I also was pretty observant. I could tell by the kind of house we were living in as to how we were doing financially.

In one house in particular, I remember my sister's room as a converted one-car garage and my bedroom as the size of a shoebox. The house was ridiculously small for a family of 4, and it was awfully ratty. My mother was positively horrified that year because we inadvertently wound up hosting her boss and his wife for Thanksgiving dinner. She had been bragging about how wonderful our Thanksgiving dinners were, and he kind of invited himself and wouldn't take no for an answer. My mother was so embarrassed to have people over in that house. I remember we had lots of bug problems in that house, but there was one serious saving grace in that house. It had a small playground in the back. It was old, it was rusty, but it was fun. I was seven or eight when we lived there, and I just loved climbing around that little playground.

We moved into the house that I consider my childhood home at the end of elementary school. I managed, despite all the odds, to make a very good friend who lived down the street from me. I really liked that house. It was comfortable for us, and I often still drive by it when I visit my mother in Sarasota, even though she doesn't live there anymore, and the house is someone else's. It's still the house that I did tumbling passes in the living room, where I learned to bake, where my father passed away. It wasn't a special house, it wasn't fancy, and it sure wasn't luxurious, it was just a house that my mom did her best to make feel like our home. It's a house that holds a lots of memories for me, and will always be my home, in a way.

My home these days is a home I own, and as a grown-up, it's the seventh place I've lived. I lived for a year in the dorms at the University of Tampa, my alumnus, followed by a year in two different apartments with my then-boyfriend. I then spent a year (the only year!) on my own, in a tiny apartment near school, while I finished up my bachelor's degree. I moved across the complex the following year with my new boyfriend, who's now my husband. We lived in a townhouse after that first year together, which we then vacated early when we got our house.

We've lived in our house for almost six years now, and we've done a lot to it over these six years. New floors, new paint (twice because I once randomly decided to repaint because I was bored when Husband was out of town), new baseboards, lots of new. At the same time, there's still a lot of improving to do, and it seems as though we'll be here a while. Home improvement is something I don't particularly enjoy - I get frustrated real easily by it, and as a result, I desperately wanted a new house when we started looking for our first home. Obviously, I didn't win that battle, but it was a battle with our checkbook, not with Husband. Maybe our next home will be nicer. All I know is that it's ours, and after the history of moving I had growing up, that means a lot to me.

10 comments:

Tesa said...

Isn't it amazing how kids can find joy anywhere? I'm always worrying how the condition of our house is affecting my two preschoolers. It's not bad by any means, but does need a lot of work. I remind myself that the house I grew up in was far from perfect and I loved that place. Kids just don't see things through the same eyes as adults - wish I still had that vision!

Stopping by from SITS. Have a great Thursday!

Kyrsten said...

Puh, a lot of moving in your life...
Thanks for your comment :-)

The Psycho Mama said...

I definitely relate to your post. I moved a lot as a child too, AND I've moved a ton as an adult. Across Canada, with a brief stint in California, and then back to the other side of Canada again. I can't wait until I get to a place in my life where I can afford a home of my own. I really want to put down roots so that my kiddo can have friends that he's grown up with all his life, instead of always being the newcomer like I was.

parentingBYdummies said...

Home improvement drives me mad as well. The only way it's fun is when I'm paying someone else to do it which is essentially never unless it has to do with plumbing or electricity. Luckily our house doesn't require much in the way of improvement at the moment. I think when it does, we'll just freakin' move.

Jenners said...

We had a lot of houses growing up too but I always think of the one that we stayed in the longest (probably 7 or 8 years???) as my "childhood home." I still dream about it all the time. And as an adult, I've moved a lot too but I hope to stay where I am now. I want my child to have a place to call home and have fond memories of it.

Thanks for your visit earlier!

Iva said...

my parents have a home in Sarasota...its beautiful.... I know how you feel about your childhood home...the memories and the love...its irreplaceable

~ M ~ said...

Beautifully written! I think it is true after all the saying about "Home is where you make it" (or something like that, please do excuse my lack of memory)...

Shell said...

I saw this prompt and thought I couldn't possibly do it because it would end up being the longest post ever. I've lived so many places that it's hard to keep track, though most of that moving has come in the past 10+ years, since graduating from college.

At least you have your home now. If you're like me, you probably NEVER want to move now.

Jen said...

That is a lot of moving. I don't like moving. I hope that you are settled and stay settled.

Dan said...

Money was an issue for us as well, although mom and dad hid it well. But I can remember great joy at playing in the dirt and the mud with nothing fancy.

I suspect that makes us appreciate things all the more.

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