Tuesday, October 11, 2011
We lived here until I was in the 10th grade.
When I was in the 10th grade, Mama was able to get an FHA loan and we built the "new house."
The "new house" was within a few feet of the "old house." But unless you really looked, you wouldn't see it, because Mama had "landscaped" around it so well and the yard for the new house was so beautiful that you really didn't see it.
Now let me tell you about the old house.
We didn't have running water until I think I was about 10 years old. That year the little town that I lived in got "city water." Which meant that water was piped several miles to rural areas. To this day I have a deep and abiding respect for running water. Ask David, when we don't have water, I go nuts. All I can think about is water.
Anyway, I digressed.
So no running water meant an outhouse. Yep a two-seater at that. Although I don't really remember anybody sitting next to me when I was doing my business. Somewhere on my other blog, there is a post about me and the rooster that waited at the gate between the house and the out house. Oh how I hated that rooster...but again another story.
Mama was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was Martha Stewart.
Since the front part of the house was made out of logs, there was mud chinking between them. This did not appeal to Mama and I remember the summer she papered the inside of the walls. She nailed cardboard from floor to ceiling on those logs. Then she wall papered over the cardboard. We always had linoleum that covered the wide plank floors. And even though this helped the looks of the interior, it did something even more important. It made it warmer in the winter. Mama and I had a saying. We were cool in the summer and cool in the winter. For some reason, we always felt we could get cool in the summer. But in the winter, were were never ever warm.
To this day I absolutely refuse to be uncomfortable in my house. I will be toasty.
It seems like every summer, Mama had a project. One summer she and my brother closed in the back porch, made us a bedroom, a bathroom (that was the summer we got running water), swapped the kitchen from the back of the house, off of the porch to the front of the house, which made my uncle have the kitchen as a bedroom.
With the addition of the bedroom, I got my uncle's room for a bedroom. Mama made me a closet. She painted a bed that Uncle Waylon gave her gold, an old mirror was painted gold and set on top of my grandmother's bureau, Aunt Lexie's trunk was painted gold, she sewed me gold striped curtains, bought me a small vanity chair that yes was upholstered in gold. I used to laugh and say this was her "gold period."
She planted all kinds of scrubs around the house to disguise the fact that you could see under the porch. And it softened the look of the house.
Sitting here, with my eyes closed, I see the wringer washing machine,the back porch and the aluminum buckets filled with well water,the water dipper, the wardrobe that my brother convince me had a "booger" inside it, the pot-belly stove that Daddy would stoke up so high you could see the embers through the cracks in it, the ceramic farm sink that Uncle Leslie gave us, Mama Ludie's Hoosier cabinet, the front porch after an ice storm with icicles hanging from the tin roof all the way to the porch....soooo many things.
But what I remember most, was the feeling of love, safety and the nearness of family. Not only physical nearness but closeness of love and emotions. Aunt Marjorie, Aunt Audris, Aunt Gladys--all just down the road. My cousins Annette, Martin and Dorothy--all just down the road.
I was poor in things but rich beyond measure in love.