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(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.