Mary from Owlhaven is hosting My Childhood Home. Memories of the homes we grew up in seem to stay fresh forever, don't they...
I grew up in a happy home. I remember when our house was built. I was 5 when we moved in, I think, and just starting school. My Dad had designed our home, and he was overseeing the building too, so most of our weekends were spent climbing over a building site. We loved that. I remember balancing on the brick walls of the foundation, and imagining the rooms which would one day make up our home. I can also clearly remember the stone chimney being built, and how we helped to place one particular triangular stone.
The great thing about my home was the huge cellar, which was above ground on one side, and below on the other, as the house was built on a hill. We had many band practices down there, and parties too. It also flooded in wet weather, as the house was built on an underground stream, until Dad had waterproofing put in!
I remember my corner room, and being allowed to decorate it as I wanted. I had a space age (for the 1960s!) light, which you pulled down to whatever height you wanted, and the room was turquoise and orange. Do not ask. I loved it. I was a bookaholic as a child, and I still am today, and Dad brought home a library style bookcase which took up the entire wall of my room.
I remember playing tennis in our driveway. I remember hitting tennis balls on the kitchen wall, trying not to hit the huge windows, and dreaming of being the next tennis star. We were one of the first families I knew to have a swimming pool built, and that was because my parents thought it would stop them from having to drive to the beach every weekend in bumper to bumper traffic. I remember that it worked. Our home became the gathering place for all our friends, and instead of driving, Dad had to BBQ for the masses. Repeatedly. People always popped in when passing.
Our home was the centre of all things good. Mum baked a lot, and sewed, and was always creating something new. And she was always there. Christmas nights were for everyone. No-one was ever actually invited... they just arrived, and sometimes there were 30+. All ages, and even after I got married, that continued. Huge buffet meals set out, and children in the pool and running about, Auntie Myra starting the carol singing in her beautiful alto voice, wrapping paper everywhere. And you know, the amazing thing is that every one of those people who used to arrive, still remember those nights as being really special.
When I went to university, I moved into residence, and every weekend, I would lead the convoy of cars back home with all my friends, and we would either lounge around the pool, do Greek dancing in the lounge (causing Dad to go down to the cellar to see if the floor could stand the stamping!) or simply relax. It was that kind of place.
I always wanted a wedding reception in the garden, and that is just what I had. 200 people on a beautiful hot March day. It was the best wedding I had ever been to, until my son got married in Switzerland, and had his reception in my sister's garden.
And my children all learned to ride their bikes in that same driveway. They also had birthday parties there. We only sold the house when my parents had to stay in the UK when my Dad got so ill. They never went home. My sister and I were there to pack it all up and ship it. Now it barely resembles the home we loved. It was modernised, and altered, and added on to and just the chimney looks the same. I can see it on Google maps.
In retrospect, it was a huge house. With a great garden. Space for everyone, and lovely high ceilings. At the time, it was simply home, and the place everyone loved being. Fires in winter, barefoot in the garden in summer, making playhouses out of sun-umbrellas with towels pegged to the sides, the stunning mountain there to see from every window, tall Christmas trees with twinkling lights, and the shrieks from the pool.
Now where on earth did I put the photos?????
PS: Blogger is refusing to put spaces in between paragraphs, and I am giving up trying to outwit it, after 7 attempts.