The House on the Corner

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Our House.”

We had a house on the corner, so there were two entrances. The first set of stairs from the one street led up, passing by a bed of snowy white Sweet Williams followed by a small lawn of grass. Then you passed through the entryway of whitewashed walls into the brick patio. To the left were rose bushes hugging up against the wall. If you looked down to your right there was a small patch of dirt. We tried growing carrots there. Unsuccessfully, I believe, due to my impatience and lack of understanding of how things grew. There was green jutting up above the surface, therefore the carrot should be underneath. Continuously I would prematurely pull up these green stalks only to be confused by the missing carrot which I had expected to be there. Walk across the patio, up three steps, and through the front door. Welcome home.

To the right were two steps with a railing leading down into a den. The only thing I remember here is the enormous arched window showing us a view of outside, letting sunlight stream in. But if you didn’t go down the steps into the den and went straight, you would be taken down a hallway. Then into an open room which left an array of options. Turn to the right and you were facing the door to the bathroom. The counter top was where my older sister put me when I scraped my knee. She gave me a band-aid and some Nilla wafer cookies.

Exiting the bathroom and turning left was my godmothers room. There was an electric piano in there. And her cat, Tigger, who bit me once on the hand. But like the Nilla wafers it only took a kiss and a sticker and all discomfort was forgotten. Across from her room was my other godmothers room. I remember a bunk bed in there. If you left her room and turned right, walked 7 steps and turned right again, there was a door. This led upstairs to our families room. We occupied the second floor of the house. There were windows at the top of the stairs. Through these windows I watched thunderstorms with my brother. We would count the seconds between the rumbling and the flash of light. The same window I tried climbing out of when I dropped my toy in the rain gutter below.

In the far left corner of the room was a red futon on the floor, behind it off white plastic shelves. I had shared this futon first with my older brother. Then with my younger sister. Our parents bed was in the far right hand corner. But they must have been close in distance because I remember trying to jump from their bed to ours every time the floor turned to lava. Back down the stairs, and through the hallway, when you get tot he den turn right. Here was the kitchen. There are pictures of Bru, our akita-chow mix lying in the doorway with me asleep on top, protecting our domain.

The kitchen was built long-wise. When you entered to the left was the table and a booth. The table would double as a mock surgery area for all the splinters we would get. The light above the table could be pulled down to give our dad extra light for the tweezers to pull out wood shards from our skin. Underneath the booth was a storage area and we were amused by what we could find underneath. Then there was the counter tops and cabinets. A rotary phone was hooked to one. The same phones that have the 15 feet of curled up wire so you didn’t have to be attached to the wall. The cord we all tried untangling at some point or another. And the stove in the back right corner. At the end of the kitchen was the other entry way. The one my mom came in after work, where I would run and tackle her in the biggest bear hug since it had been ages since I saw her that morning.

Out the door and you were at the top of the flight of red stairs. Halfway down the stairs were another set of stairs leading to the back patio. Here is where we had 10 feet of a grapevine. This was also where we hung our laundry out to dry. Running and hiding between the hanging sheets while occasionally sneaking a grape. But back to the stairs. At the bottom was an asphalt patch. The same one where I split my head open. And then there was the sidewalk. A sprawling gnarled tree offered shade and climbing entertainment for us. The tree where my siblings put me up into and I was scared to come down until offered candy.

Home continued throughout the neighborhood. With the horse stables down the street and our neighbor Max whose yard and garage we would play in. And then just behind the horse stables, the LA river. The kind of river you don’t want to play in.

When I went back a few years ago it had all changed. The tree was gone, torn out of the ground. The roots that used to pop out of the sidewalk were missing, and a newly paved sidewalk was in its place. The house was boarded up and fenced off. But that house, where I spent the first eight years still stays in my memory.


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