*Cue that terrible Bon Jovi song*
In my travels recently, I found that the house where I spent most of my childhood went up for sale. We moved from the place in Hanover Township in 1989 to the Poconos where I lived until 2000. Out of sheer curiosity and sick fascination, I decided that I was going to pretend in being interested in buying the house just so I could take a tour of it and hash out some old memories (with regrets to the realtors and the seller).
The outside of the house pretty much looks the same way I remember it. It’s kind of an oddly shaped a-frameish house. Standing on the porch is the realtor who was kind enough to show me the inside even though I had no intentions of buying. The small box area with the rectangular window is where my playroom used to be. Before that it was a porch. My parents had it enclosed to add square footage (for my toys). I knew this, but the realtor didn’t. Before the yellow siding was installed, it had the ugliest mutli-colored asbestos siding.
Facing the opposite direction is a hill with a lot of brush that looks into the yards of people that are a street (Strand Street) over. Notice the neatly stacked rocks and bricks? My grandfather ALWAYS did this. Every house that my parents have lived in, he stacked rocks like this. This area was used to store garbage cans, lawn tools and also had a dog pen. Say hello to my Dad’s dogs Barney (the bloodhound) and Penny (the beagle). They’re dead about three times over now and the dog pen is long gone. I didn’t mean that to sound as morbid as it did. I remember Barney to be a good dog. Penny was a little psychotic. She escaped several times and I think eventually was found and kept by a paper boy.
Ahhhhh yes. The mirrors. Essentially the entire left most wall in the living room is one large mirror. My Dad was a glazier, my grandfather was a glazier and my uncle was a glazier so this house is full of mirrors. I was always fascinated with the design of the living room mirror. It would catch the afternoon sun and reflect tiny rainbows on the floor. While fascinating, it was obviously impossible to keep clean because of tiny fingers. Mirrors are supposed to give the illusion of a room being larger than it is. The room was a lot smaller than I remember it, but I am a lot bigger than the last time I stood in this spot.
The 80s were a confusing time for interior decorating, apparently. Here’s a look at the opposite side of the room then and now.
The first photo is a little blurry, but it was me in my She-Ra: Princess of Power costume. My parents weren’t the best photographers. The wrought iron railing on the stairs has since been replaced with wooden railing and banisters.
Here’s my old bedroom. I thought it would be more exciting, but this is it. See those two brackets on the wall near the window? Two shelves used to be there. They held ceramics that my grandmother made for me. I also had two large clowns hanging on my wall. I was terrified of them. I am still terrified of clowns to this day because of those damn ceramic clowns. It is said that if you don’t control your fears they control you. I’ve since been to the circus with my children and have been ok. I don’t like clowns, but I can deal. Bees on the other hand. No way in hell. I will still scream bloody murder if one of those winged hell beasts comes near me. The door leads to the old enclosed porch/converted playroom I talked about earlier. It’s just a small room that has nothing more than a window and panelling.
There are 3ish bathrooms inside the house. One on each level. I had to laugh at the upstairs bathroom though. I specifically remember the purple sink and toilet from my childhood. Good lord, it looks like they haven’t been updated since then (if not longer). I don’t understand the appeal of bathroom fixtures that are any other color than white. It’s just bizarre. As I said before, the 80s must have been a confusing time for interior decorating.
Remember what I said about the mirrors? We’ve now headed down to the front room of the current-day basement. There’s a mirror on the back wall and a mirror on the ceiling. And, before you start filling your head with perverted thoughts, this is the spot where the pool table was. There was a kick-ass chandelier hanging where the normal light fixture is now, but my parents took that with them to the new house. There’s also mirrors along the staircase downstairs. Mirrors obviously don’t photograph real well, so I’ll spare you. For anyone who has ever wondered why it pains me to look at myself in a mirror can now know the true horror of walking around a house where you constantly are in a mirror somewhere. Sometimes I don’t want to look at myself, thankyouverymuch. Especially after I’ve just woken up. No one needs to see that.
And now we’re back upstairs in the dine-in kitchen. I remember that my parents installed the chair rail right around the time we sold the house, but I have no recollection of this wallpaper (which is hideous). I also have no recollection of the panelling that was there before that (bottom photo). Panelling irks me in ways that cannot be described with words. The only solution is to grab a sledge and take it out stud by stud to put it out of its misery.
That’s the end of the tour. The house was rather small, as most city houses are. The house met our needs for a specific period in time and then we outgrew it. From my understanding by reading the info sheet, the same person that purchased the house from my parents still owns it to this day. I am not sure of the reason for the sale.
It was a fun trip down memory lane and I’d have to say if you ever have the opportunity to see the house that you grew up in (assuming it isn’t the one you live in now) go and do it! You never know what kind of memories it will trigger. You may not be able to go home, but you can certainly remember it fondly. Here are a few last minute photos that didn’t fit anywhere else…
Thanks for the memories 979 South Main!