The EverChanging Home

An Essay By Keri // 1/25/2010

 

The Ever-changing Home
                If you happened to be in Washington State and were in a certain small city, you might be in the city where I grew up. If you then decided to take a walk down a street and it just happened to be the right one, and you came to a house that is barely visible from behind a holly hedge and holly berry tree in front, you would probably have come to my house. This is the house that I lived in for at least sixteen years; it is the house that my family has owned for even longer than that, over twenty years. It is the home that was always changing and from which I feel as if my family could never leave.
From outside, the house is rather ugly. It once was white, but the paint is turning grayish as it peels off the sides. The yard is rather rambling as my father never has the time to take care of it anymore and, moreover, because the rest of the family is disinclined to see to such things as the weeds in the garden. I have already mentioned the tree and the hedge but there are other major bushes such as the thing that appears to be the result of someone having the seeds of mock orange, rose, lavender, and I think at least two other plants that I can’t recall for now, spilling said seeds in one spot, and then standing back to watch the chaos. There is also a lavender bush that blocks out what used to be a fairly good view of Mount Rainer on the corner of the house, raspberry bushes, and what may or may not be a rose bush all on the south side of our house. However, I never really thought about our home’s outside appearance growing up. To me, it looked only like my home and that is as far as my thoughts concerning its influence on the eye went. Unfortunately, it is not only a place that neighbors probably wince at; it is also a rather small place for the amount of people in my family.
            Even as a little girl, who could find no fault with her home, I was forced to admit if only to myself that there was not sufficient room to house all six and sometimes seven of us. After all, there were only two bedrooms. I don’t know what the arrangement was at first, but at the point my memory begins, my older sister and I slept in one room, my two older brothers in the other, and my parents slept on a mattress on the living room floor. I really did like sharing a bedroom with my big sister; I would put on plays for her when we were supposed to be sleeping. It is laughable to think now, that it was an enigma to me back then, why my parents didn’t like what I thought was an excellent arrangement. Then, at some point, my dad started converting the dungeon of a basement into at least a somewhat livable place and had the boys make that their bedroom. This was the beginning of the houses remodeling, as far I am concerned.
            I have a memory of being in Spokane on a vacation with all of my family except dad because he had to keep up the trucking business. I must have been around ten years old at the time. I really wanted to go to a “singsperation” at my church but couldn’t because we were on the wrong side of the Cascades. My dad happened to be making a delivery in the area and agreed to pick me up and take me home. I was ecstatic to be riding in style across the pass and to the singsperation. I remember the ride home in the semi truck with Dad and Princess who was our “perfect mix” dog. (Translation: a mutt with the best bits of all the different breeds in her blood) When we home came to the house for the weekend, I helped dad with the construction of bedrooms in the basement.
He was cutting what had been my brother’s room in half and making decent walls and ceilings and even putting up doors, installing light, and dozens of power outlets. The rooms were nearly finished at that point and I was so proud when my dad gave the task of going outside and staining the bedroom doors all by myself. I don’t remember exactly how that day went but I think I ran down the stairs on a Saturday morning that I remember distinctly as being Labor Day, and my dad was at work probably priming the walls for painting or something like that.
            He would have said something like, “Get a rag that can be ruined and an old cream cheese container.” I would have run to do the required tasks even though I had no idea what he wanted the items for. Then he took me outside and either there was already the door set up next to the house on saw horses or we put it there.
            “Pour of little of this stain into the container and then dip the rag with the tip of your finger into it. Then spread it around and rub it into the door. When you’re done, come and get me.” He may have given me more instruction than that. I think I can hear him saying that it had to dry and then we would flip the door over and I would do the other side but I’m not very sure. But I am sure that I remember how proud I was that I was being left outside all by myself, in the shade of the house and the sunshine of the day with the birds chirping and the white cat watching with his yellow eyes, smelling the scent of the wood stain as I rubbed it carefully into the door, I was all alone doing a highly important task and my dad had trusted me to contribute to the building and changing of the house.
Was it before or after the rooms in the basement were made that we got an offer from the owner of the apartments next-door to sell him the house so that he could make it into a horrid old parking lot? I think it was after. My parents thought that if he paid us enough for it, they would
take him up on it. I was a tearful wreck. How could my mom and dad even consider letting that man bulldoze the house, the lavender bush, the combination thing, or even the holly tree that had been Christmas money income for us children for as long I could remember? The man with laughing lines around his eyes, and a happy twinkle who had seemed like a kind person now turned into a mean old man with wrinkles and an evil glint in his eye. Although, I must say that he never changed from the nice man that he was originally I think now.
            With the idea of selling the house in our minds, we the family set out on a great house shopping expedition. We usually looked at rather faraway places. I must have been very young; one of my great worries at that time was that I would not be able to see my friends anymore. There was a house that was very high in our estimation, I don’t remember what it looked like, but it was by a library and, I think, a park. Once, while driving to look at a house, we ended up following a parade for what felt like hours. I remember how embarrassed I felt when my brother Robert waved out the window at all the people. Sometimes, we would come home late at night. It was a miserable time for me. I truly did not want to leave my home, and to prove the point, I would pray every night to Jesus that we would never move.
I think that somehow, my prayers were stronger than the rest of the family’s combined prayers for the opposite, because every time after that when we would try to move, something would cause the plans to fall through. In this instance, the apartment’s owner wouldn’t agree to what my parents thought a fair price was.
            It was the best news in the world to me to hear that we would be staying in our home. We began to make more permanent plans. I thought about what I would do when Robert finally moved out and I would move my bedroom into his walk-in closet sized bedroom in the basement, and my little sister who is six years younger than I made plans with what she would do with the bigger bedroom that we shared when I had left it.
            One day, my mom said, “If I have to keep living here I want it to at least look decent.” So we started the serious remodeling. First we remade the living room from an ancient room with black on what was rumored to be white walls from the kerosene heater we used in winter‘s malfunctions and some old photos on the walls to a lovely Victorian style space with soft pink on the walls, and wall heaters, and new paintings by my highly talented grandmother. Then we redid the kitchen, the bathroom, and more. Finally, did not have to leave. I was so happy watching all the transformation of the house. Of course, passerby would have never guessed how beautiful our home was becoming. They couldn’t tell because we still had our rambling and slightly smelly yard which never did drastically improve and, three years ago, we still hadn’t bothered with the house’s exterior.
            I never knew that this house was so dear to me before I began writing about it; I didn’t know that I would be so glad in my heart that we never did move. When I started to write about the house, I thought I was writing about how so many memories of mine are involved with my home, but then I found that I was writing about how it is ever-changing and how my family has lived in it for so long and how we can never move even when we try.
 

Comments

Aww, that was sweet.  I love

Aww, that was sweet.  I love my house too and would never want to move.  The way you described everything was really cool; I starting worrying that your house was going to get bulldozed and I didn't want that to happen!

Bridget | Mon, 02/08/2010

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

:D

Thankyou darling. Apparently, though, I described the plants too much and the house not enough. :P

Keri | Sun, 02/14/2010

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