Just because it seemed like an interesting topic, I took a few moments the other day to calculate how many places I have lived through the years.
My childhood was a stable one; the home I grew up in is the one my dad still lives in. When I was probably 10 or 11, my dad added on to the house, expanding the kitchen area to include a dining room and putting in a ‘utility room’ where my mom had her sewing machine. That room, through the years, also saw the extraction of honey from the hives my father had, was turned in to a bedroom for my maternal grandfather during the years he lived with my parents, and then became more of a ‘catch all’ room and a secondary TV viewing area.
I was born in the town next to where I grew up, about five miles between them, and I went to the same school from kindergarten through high school graduation. It was a really small town in upstate New York, remember, and all grades were in the same school. That has since changed, but my sister, brother and I were at the same school throughout our entire childhoods.
After I moved out of my parent’s house, my first apartment was up on a hill on the outskirts of the town next door. It was a converted woodshed and had its charms. Such as the gap between the floor and the door that would allow snow to drift in when the wind blew at night in the winter. Yup, it was drafty, tiny, had the smallest refrigerator in the history of the world and a bathroom that rivaled any on a commercial airliner. But it was my first taste of independence as I worked two part-time jobs and lived on my own.
I only made it through one winter there, though; it was up at the top of a hill and I just didn’t like the snow and ice driving. That meant a move ‘into town’ to be closer to work and I just have had the good luck to find some really unique living arrangements over the years.
In that part of New York, a lot of the homes were large, colonial style houses that were later broken into apartments or had a business downstairs, apartments upstairs.
I have lived over a dentist’s office, above an optometrist’s office, and, in the last location before I made the move to California, had an apartment in a converted carriage house. There were five or six apartments in the carriage house; where they originally stored the horses and carriages back in the day.
When I first moved in there, I had a double level apartment, with kitchen, living room and dining area with the bathroom on the first floor, a loft like area upstairs for the bedroom on one side, office on the other. It was a great apartment but turned out to be way too much room for me. I basically lived just in the downstairs while a couple of guys who worked together were down the hall in a much smaller studio apartment. With the blessing of our landlord, we decided to trade. Moving day was good; we didn’t have far to go.
Mix in a move to another city about 35 miles west for a couple of years and, from the time I left my parent’s house to when I moved to California, I lived in seven different apartments. That was over the course of about a dozen years. Since arriving in California, the number is the same, seven, if I am remembering them all. At first it was just me and my cat; later, I got married and inherited two young boys that came along with my husband. Then we added our daughter and like many families, we moved a few different times.
The point is that each move, each apartment, each home rental carries with it a lot of memories; some good, some bad, but all add up to what makes your life uniquely your own.
And now, with a son-in-law, the ultimate goal is to have him build me a mother-in-law yurt in their future backyard, wherever that might be.
I’ll keep you posted.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.