August 26, 2014

Places I've Lived (Feeling Nostalgic)

I've recently shoot senior pictures for friends I grew up with, their kids now old enough to be seniors in high school.  Yesterday we shoot at Colby Park (the park my Grandpap would take me to when I was little.) 

Also, that's not a typo.  I called my Grandfather "Grandpap".  I don't know where that came from...

Anyways, I had an hour to kill before the shoot, and I realized I was near my grandparent's house and the first house I lived in.  So I decided to start a project I'd been thinking about for a while.  Taking photos of the homes I've lived in.  And other places of importance to my life.

First home (1970- 1975)

This is our house on Twin Lakes Blvd.  Technically, it's my 2nd home, because my parents were still in an apartment when I was born.  But shortly after I arrive, they bought a house.

I can remember the family room at the back of the house, where we watched tv and I played with toys.  The backyard was huge and our dog Snowball would dig deep, muddy holes (causing him to go from his beautiful white coat to muddy dog.)

This is where I once organized a "boycott your parents & run away from home" movement at age 5.  I got all my friends to bring their stuffed animals, loaded up a wagon, and headed off to live in the park at the end of our street.  My dad casually pulling up in his pickup truck to say, "hey, where do you think you're going?"  He might have even giggled before he rounded us up and sent us home.

I remember the house across the street being painted pick, with matching VW vans in the garage (hippies in the suburbs.)

This is where I played with a little boy around the corner who tried to get me to eat raw hamburger meat.  (I declined.)  Later that summer he accidentally shot himself in the head with his father's loaded gun.  He survived, but lived in a wheelchair and couldn't speak.

2nd home (1975- 1977)

(I googled our old street name from Bowling Green KY and found a pic of a house that looks sort of like the one I recall.  Someday I want to go to KY and see the house and other spot.)

We left Wickliffe in 1975, around the time my little sister was born.  I recall travelling with my dad in his van, driving through the windy roads and mountains in Kentucky.  I think my mom said behind with my sister for a short while.

On that drive, my dad told me about his family, like his great Uncle Hansel the pig farmer & moon shiner.  He showed me where the coal companies cut down hills and destroyed the land.

We were only in KY for about 1 1/2 years.  I recall the first winter, wondering where all the snow was.  I vividly remember a hay ride at an apple farm, getting to pick an apple off a tree and eat it right there.  It was the best thing I ever tasted.

I got to know my dad's Uncle John and his wonderful family.  My cousin Jenny Lynn (same age, same blonde hair) and her magical teenage sisters.  They wore halter tops and listened to cool music.   "Fly Like an Eagle" was once they played over and over.  There was a sister with Down's Syndrome that I really liked.  We were pen pals for years.  Her parents kept her home, and made sure she got to go to public school.  This was rare back in the 70's.

Uncle John was sheriff of Louisville, a big deal.  They had a fancy big house and an antique bed that you had to climb a step stool to reach.  We'd go over on weekends and watch "The Jackson Five" and "Donnie & Marie", make popcorn in the big fireplace.

But I was always homesick for Cleveland and my friends.  I especially missed my grandparents.  They visited once or twice and my Grandpap was obsessed with the little metal tee-pees that stood at the end of every street.  The area we lived in gave streets native american names (like Mohawk).  My Grandpap swore we could sneak out one night and sleep in one of those tee-pees.  I think my Grandma talked him out of it.

Kentucky was supposed to fix everything my dad thought was wrong in his life.  It was where he thought people were nicer and jobs were plentiful.  It didn't work out, so we came back to Wickliffe in 1977.

3rd home (1977-1978)

We moved back before finding a new house, so for a year we lived in these apartments on Euclid Ave, around the corner from my grandparent's home.  I could walk to school and then to my Grandma's after school.

It was kind of a junky apartment complex.  The kids were a little rough.  One older girl, nicknamed Cricket (because she was bowlegged) seemed to run the show.  She came up with all sorts of "adventures" for the kids in the complex.  Like taking her parent's match collection and teaching us how to catch the grass on fire.

This is where we meet a Chinese family, and I became friends with Linda.  We were the same age and same temperament (we liked to hide indoors, read books and look at her Dad's Beatles albums.)

One thing I recall was a small little bench in the woods where I loved to hide out, read books and chill.)

Throughout my childhood, I probably spent most of my first 8 years at my Grandparent's house then I did anywhere else.

Grandparent's Home (1970- 1995)

Oh, seeing this house yesterday, I couldn't believe how small it is!  When I was there as a child, it felt infinite.  There was a giant pine tree in front where I hid out.  We spent many summer evenings on the front porch when Aunt Helen and Uncle Chuck visited.  They came up every summer to stay for weeks.  Uncle Chuck brought home brewed root beer.  They had a can full of pennies and played cards and Yahtzee every evening.  Uncle Chuck was wild & funny like my Grandpap, and he had a tattoo of a Hawaiian lady that he got during the war, and he could make her dance!

In the summer I liked to explore the basement.  My friend Sherry would come over and we'd roller-skate on the cement basement floors, each of us with a mop that we pretended was one of "The Hardy Boys".  ( I liked the one on the left.)

When the weather turned cooler, I'd spend my days up in the attic, looking through old boxes of family photos (pics of my grandpap's family in Yugoslavia, pics from some war...)  And I'd read my grandma's trashy true crime novels.  I was probably 5 when I read "Helter Skelter", "Sybil" and a book about Ted Bundy.  That might explain a lot about me...

Grandpap's garage

This is where grandpap kept all of his tools and his red Camero (before his stroke.)  He had a large conch shell in front, and we'd sit out there and talk.  I recall me eating water melon and he told me if I swallowed the seeds a melon would grow in my stomach.  I might have cried.

He loved telling me about Yugoslavia from his childhood.  The family had chickens & sheep (and he loved to tell me about how they cut the head off a chicken and the body got up and ran!)

The back sun-room

This was added on to the tiny house after they bought it.  It was a beautiful sun room with my grandma's lilacs on the windowsills.  

4th home (1978- until I left for college)

We finally settled in to this house in Willowick when I started 2nd grade.  Another new school and new neighborhood.  I was excited to get the huge attic bedroom all to myself.  It was like my own apartment and all through school my friend's loved to hang out there.  My parents weren't strict so we could stay up all night watching horror movies.

This is the house I think of when I think of "home" as a kid.  We were there until my sister and I both graduated high school.  We were there with my dad and then my step dad.  

The photo above shows the 2 trees my step dad planted, as well as the front porch he built.  

I wanted to get a pic of the garage, because that's where my dad spent most of his time, working on cars.  He was a gifted auto mechanic and also did custom paint jobs.  He also loved to ride dirt bikes.  And before I was born he raced cars.  So the garage was his sanctuary.

Here's where I'm stopping.  Maybe someday I'll add more to this.  If I went through my decade in Columbus I would list 1 dorm room and around 10 different apartments.  Moving every year to another crappy, cheap campus apartment.

I guess I'll end this with my home today.  But I need to snap a pic!


Groundcat said...

Loved to read this (typos and all). We should take a weekend and document your Columbus dwellings.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this Jennifer!-Sladj