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.
#4: How many homes have you had? Write a journal entry about ALL the places you've called 'home' in your life."
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.