117th Avenue Northeast

I learned to dance The Hustle in that house. There was a much older neighbor girl(6th grade) who knew all the cool steps. I was only in kindergarten and wanted bell-bottom jeans just like hers, and I grew my hair out in her to match her Marcia Brady style.


That house is where we would listen to Helen Reddy, The Carpenters, The Beatles, or even a little Charlie Rich when we would all pitch-in to clean on Saturdays. I remember marching through the living room(while holding a broom) as I cleaned to Yellow Submarine.

our-houseOur(only one) bathroom was pink, our kitchen was orange and avocado green, and our living room had raised blue velvet wallpaper and matching blue shag wall to wall carpeting.


That house had only two bedrooms, so I shared with my brother – our twin beds parallel on opposite walls – and we would talk late(8pm) into the evenings. Our discussions mainly centered around the fact that our mom made us go to bed, but it was still light out, and our friends could be heard playing right outside our window.


At that house we had a sandbox in the backyard. We would spend days digging to China(not possible) and when we gave up we would run from yard to yard just playing with whomever else(everyone) was outside.


The summer that I was five, I convinced my mom that I should be able to run around the neighborhood without my shirt because my brother and all of his friends did. No one ever thought the girl with the Marcia Brady hair, but running around without a shirt seemed odd. I preferred jean cut-offs and bare feet to a dress and mary janes any day during those years we lived in that house.


I’d follow my big brother everywhere when we lived in that house. And one day that summer of being five, that ‘bad’ kid that no mom liked, but we just could not stop hanging around, taught us all the word “fuck” as we all sat on top of the monkey bars together. The word felt strange yet nice on my tongue as I said it the first time.


I think I went right back to that house and told my mom about it.


We got our first dog when we lived in that house. But Benji peed on visitors, and laundry, and furniture. And when Benji peed on mom, we had to return him to the shelter. We didn’t have anymore pets in that house.


We moved into that house as a family of four…and left as such..but with a different dad.


I don’t remember a lot about the four years we lived in that house – just the pink bathroom, green refrigerator, the sandbox, learning a favorite word, having my brother near each night to talk to, and my freedom from shirt-wearing status.


But I bet my mom remembers a lot more about that house. How a marriage broke-up. How she went back to school and got a good job to support us as a single parent. How she got remarried. The memories that house must hold for her.


And it all makes sense now how Helen Reddy became our Saturday cleaning theme since I still know all the words to You And Me Against The World, I Am Woman Hear Me Roar, and Delta Dawn.


That house will always be the house that taught me the importance of a good personal theme song because it buries itself into your heart to create a lifetime of memories. Kind of like a house can. When everything changes.


Written for #WhereILivedWednesday with Anns Rants.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at tracy@sellabitmum.com

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  1. says

    Wow, I have chills. Isn’t it amazing to go back and see the (or “a”) house you lived in as a child? Oh the memories that involuntarily come out of the woodwork! I bet it look a LOT smaller than you remember, as well.
    Allie recently posted..SAG Awards Recap

    • says

      I bet it is so much smaller – and it was already so tiny. I actually took this picture of it when I was in the area about 2 years ago…but we moved away about 37 years ago. It was strange to go back. I so wanted to knock on the door – but couldn’t get my courage up.

  2. says

    Shirtless. Of course! 🙂

    And this? Looks EXACTLY like my grandmother’s house in Edina before they sold it. She also learned how to go back to work and support her children as a single mom.

    I loved your way of describing the memories.
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  3. says

    I understand that theme song. My mom always had music on that reflected whatever was going on in her life at the time. I remember that sad country always meant that the lights would be dim and we needed to be quite. Some pain can only be cried out while rocking in the dark.
    Jennifer recently posted..Do More Than Survive

  4. says

    It’s funny how some memories rise to the top while others are forgotten. At the time they might not have seemed quite so important. I think that what gets highlighted is what molds us the most.

    Thanks for sharing these memories with us. xo
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  5. says

    love this, tracy. so many memories, so many feelings. love the image of you running around w/o a shirt coupled with the crumbling of your parents’ marriage. what a juxtaposition. beautifully done, my friend. xo
    erin marglin recently posted..The Blame Game

  6. Caroline says

    Wow your story triggered a memory for me too. I was a little older, ripe old age of 7, and an only child then. A couple doors down there was a house of 4 boys. Man did I love to hang out with those guys. We would build bike ramps out of old ply wood. Their bikes BMX types, mine had a flowered banana seat, blue tires and high handle bars. Might have also had a card connected to the spokes by a clothes pin. One summer day they took their shirts off, I hesitated…. thinking that although my dad went shirtless sometimes I don’t remember seeing my Mom do that. But in the end I went for it. Air! On my chest! It was all fun until my Mom came outside to check on me. Oh boy. Anyway thanks for triggering that memory.

    • says

      I know – air on our chests! I miss those days. Thank you for sharing this memory! I can just picture the look on your mom’s face when she saw you!

  7. says

    I thought my sister and I were the only ones who were put to bed while the neighborhood kids were still up playing in the streets.

    Ah, those days gone by.

    “Delta Dawn…what’s that flower you have on?”
    julie gardner recently posted..A Lady in France

    • says

      “Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?”

      Nope – 7:30 bedtime – even in July. My brother and I still remind our mother of this fact…

  8. says

    It was also there that you and troy were the most responsible lack keys kids in the world. It was where you learn to be responsible and independent. Although I have many memories, here’s one I still laugh about.. We were moving and I had people at our home packing. As you recall I do not very often SING songs but that day I had my record HAIR on and caught myself singing masterbation……….! I haven’t sung out loud since!

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