The House, Part 1

I mentioned before how I spent some time living in Grandma and Grandpa Medved’s basement, and a short time in a little rental house in the 1200 block of S. Santa Fe.  I have no memories of the rental house, except for seeing some old 8mm movies that my mom and dad had.  I remember one scene where I dropped an apple or something into a bowl of water.  My dad would stop and reverse it and make the apple jump out of the pan and back into my hand.  It took me until I was about 13 to figure out how he did it.  I wasn’t very bright in some areas.  Now I have vivid recollections of living in Grandma’s and Grandpa’s basement.  One still follows me through life, and I have a recurring nightmare about it five or six times a year.   I still haven’t quite sorted it all out, and I’m going to do a whole story on it later so that maybe someone can give me some insight.  It’s not a bad memory.  Let’s just say it’s a confusing one.

There’s another memory that’s kind of hazy in my mind, and my mom and dad can probably clarify this.  I seem to remember trying to ride down the basement stairs in a cardboard box.  I think it relates to a scar I have on my upper lip.  I also seem to remember it being a really dumb idea and my sister Julie was smart enough to talk me into it to see how it worked out.  See a pattern forming here?  I wasn’t very bright in some areas.

I think I was probably 4 or 5 when my mom and dad bought The House.  They still live there.  What it looks like today bears little resemblance to what it looked like back then.  If my kids saw a picture of what the inside and outside looked like when we first moved in, they’d think that the Klopeks lived there.  It could have been used in any decent B grade horror movie for the house where the creepy stuff happened.  And in reality, there are a few creepy things that I remember.  Well, maybe not so much creepy, but a little mysterious.

It’s 2 stories with an unfinished basement, a detached garage, connected to a storage shed, connected to the coolest place a kid could ask for.  My mom used to call it a summer kitchen.  We just called it ‘the doll house’.  It was probably 12 feet by 14 feet, tongue and groove floors, tongue and groove walls, tongue and groove ceilings… was like a wooden masterpiece.  It had 4 windows, one on each side.  One  side happened to be connected to the shed, so that window actually looked from one building into the other.  The only other features were a build in set of cabinets with glass doors that was big enough for me to sit in.  I know this, because one time I climbed into the cabinet to see if I could fit.  I could.  I could even pull the glass doors shut.  I found out that the latch would actually close even if you were inside the cabinet.  It took me a bit of time to figure out how to open it up.  It got a bit hot and stuffy.  The pattern forms even further.  Did I mention that I wasn’t too bright in some areas?  Oh, there was another feature.  The wooden door up into the attic.  The attic where I hid my best stash of dirty magazines.  The dirty magazines that my sisters found and hauled into mom and dad.  Yeah,  I looked at dirty magazines.  Yeah, my sisters can be snitches.  Yeah, you know who you are.  I still love them.  They were probably just trying to save me from future carpal tunnel syndrome.   I still look at dirty magazines from time to time, just so I don’t miss any new trends.  Sorry.

The back door was basically the only door that young Bojon kids were allowed to use.  Front door was for company.  Back door was for kids.  To this day, when I go to visit Mom and Dad, I almost always go to the back door first.  We never locked the back door until after 10.  Someone might want to get in.  In fact one time someone did.  I think it was a drunk guy.  He just walked in the door.  Someone at Grandpa and Grandma Medved’s house saw him go in and called my mom and dad.  He left.  No harm, no foul.  Now if this happens today, expect swat teams, bomb sniffing dogs, and Dr. Phil to be involved.  Different times.  Way different times.

The house was a lot different back then.  When you walked into the backdoor, the kitchen door was to the right, and that’s about all that’s the same now.  This room was and is still called ‘the porch’.  The basement door was a huge wooden door set into the floor.  You’d have to lift the door up to see the steps.  If you went down the stairs, someone could shut the door and you’d have to come half way up the stairs and then reach up and lift up the door.  Unless the person that shuts the door decides to sit on it, turn out the light and scare the crap out of you.  Thanks, Julie.  That trick always worked on me.  To the left of the trapdoor was the staircase that went up to the 2nd floor.  My dad eventually walled off the stairs and opened them up on the other side of the wall where they are.  He also took out the trapdoor and put up the wall and door that are there now.  One thing about my dad.  He wasn’t a carpenter or a plumber or an electrician by trade, but he never saw a project that he wouldn’t tackle.  He and my mom did a lot of work to make the place what is now.

The kitchen was the center of the house.  It was that way in a lot of houses in Bojon Town.  It was where people talked and had coffee.  Where the bills got paid.  Where problems got worked out.   I remember waking up and going down to breakfast and the bathroom line.  There was a better than even chance that someone would be there.   Grandparents.   Uncles.  Aunts.  Cousins.  I remember Grandpa Barnett being there almost every morning having a cup of coffee before work.  There was always a good breakfast before we started the day.  Eggs, potatoes, toast.  That’s still what I eat.  Old habits die hard.

I’m out of time today.  Lots of projects to work on.  This is one of my favorite projects, and there is much, much more about the house.  See you in a few days.  And to my family and friends, thank you.  I didn’t get to see you all on Thanksgiving, but I’m thankful for every one of you for being in my life.


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