I lived in a place prior to the first house. I was told this by my parents but that apartment rests in a part of my memory I don’t have access. The home I do remember was owned by my maternal grandparents. It was a greenish color with 4 levels. You had to walk up a ton of stairs to get to the house. I on the other hand preferred to take the dirt path that was between the railings of my grandparents’ house and the neighbors to the left. I imagine that is because I always wanted to do things differently but that is for my parents to confirm. Regardless I thought it was more fun than taking the steps. To the right of the stairs was a three level bush/tree garden. Least that is what I call it. I used to like to play there.
When you got to the top of the steps you entered through a metal gate and into a side yard but there was no grass. The outside of my grandparents’ home was made up of colorful concrete squares. I want to say they were pink and green but sadly I cannot say for sure. As a current homeowner my guess to the concrete slabs was for easier maintenance and for cleaning up after three doggies. I distinctly remember my grandfather hosing down the areas surrounding the outside of the house. Sometimes when I smell a hose being sprayed my smell sensories take me back to that place in time even if no memory materializes.
There were two entrances into the house from the side. The first door lead you into the front porch that belonged to the first floor apartment and the second door brought you into the stairwell that lead to each floor. My whole family lived in the house I am sure at one time or another. There was also a second gate that divided the front and back yards. I believe this was to try and keep the dogs from getting out but that didn’t always work. They were smart doggies.
In the backyard is where there was patio furniture and a clothing line. A kiddie pool would be brought out for the summers for me to swim in as the grown-ups sat around. It was just me and my little sister for like 6 or 7 years. I imagine the age difference between my cousins and I is part of the reason we are not very close. I sadly do not have a best friend cousin. I am the oldest of 13 grandchildren on my mother’s side and the oldest of 6 on my father’s. I see some from time to time, but the holidays, particularly just Christmas Eve, is when everyone generally comes together. When my grandmother was alive we got together for all the holidays but it is dwindling as years go by. It makes me sad but that is not for this memory.
I can only remember very little about the front porch. It was muggy and a tad bit like a storage area but there was seating. When you walked into the main side door you were in a hallway with an upward spiral staircase that climbed to the first, second and third levels and stairs to the right that lead to the basement apartment. I remember my great grandfather living in the basement and then one of my uncles. I remember my uncle have an extensive comic book collection and also a super Nintendo! My great-grandfather also lived up in the 3rd apartment and he usually always had chocolate in the refrigerator. He used one of the rooms as a sitting room. Least I assume so because there was only a chair in there. I don’t remember much about the third floor. My family lived on the second. Maybe both apartments looked the same and my memories just melt them into one?
The house was on a road that inclined. We were on the lower end of it. Down the block was a luncheonette that my grandparents owned. I remember across the street was a pharmacy/shop? I remember they had those cheap plastic toys I always wanted. I think someone in the family worked there. I don’t remember much about neighbors. I think the ones directly to the left were older couple. There was also a friend of my aunt that lived on the block with her son. I don’t think we were friends. I never made friends easy.
I am starting to realize now that most of these memories were from our return to the home after moving back from Florida. I was 5 when we first left this house. Let me double back then and think harder…
Things I specifically remember that may or may not be accurate
- I remember being in a crib and my mother coming into the room saying Happy Birthday to me with excitement in her voice
- The scar on my arm came from being under the crib and scratching myself
- I went to the YMCA for pre-school and I was always nervous when the bus was dropping me off. I was terrified that it would miss my stop so I used to remind the bus driver where my house was. This is 100% true I can still feel the terror. I am pretty sure I annoyed the driver.
- My great-grandfather would be waiting for me to get off the bus and my grandmother used to watch me
- My great-grandfather had cold chocolate
- I had a plastic table tray with side pockets. I remember using it one time while eating cookies and watching cartoons. For some reason I remember getting in trouble with my grandmother. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be eating the cookies? Was I somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be?
- I had a fake guitar that I liked to play with
- I remember watching the Fischer price VHS Grown up Today, Things that go Vroom, and it’s a Dog’s Life. One of the songs still to this day gets stuck in my head!
- There were three dogs, Sandy, Mandy, and Rocky but I think Rocky came later? They would often get free from the gated yard
- My grandparents apartment had a long brown dining table that took up half the kitchen
- I remember having mirror closet doors and a really big stuffed animal that a dog peed on
- I remember one day the tile ceiling fell in my sisters room I believe she was not in there
- I remember doors that went from the ceiling to the floor
- I don’t remember any people I may have been friends with prior to moving to Florida
I was hoping to remember more but I don’t want to force memories and end up making things up to satisfy my need to remember things
How far back can you remember?
What is your first memory?