Monday, November 08, 2010

The house that built me

This is the house that built me
But unlike the song...
I can go back home to Wisconsin any time
and touch this place and feel it... 

... and recall the hours washing dishes... playing the old upright piano out on the screened-in front porch... pretending I was Donna Reed or the Beave's Mom in my basement playhouse... scurrying down those dark, damp basement steps for our nightly Schwan's ice cream, and screaming up every step, fearful that some-thing would grab my ankles through the open staircase. Oh the places our little minds go.

I would tell my brothers make-believe stories from across the hallway, never knowing whether they were still awake. Finally Mom hollering up the staircase to finish up the story and sure enough, the boys would already be asleep. But that didn't stop me from finishing the story.

I pretended I was Audra from Big Valley, Rebecca from Daniel Boone, Billy Jo from Petticoat Junction... and I wanted to be Janet from the Lennon Sisters

The storage room next to my brothers room was filled with winter coats, seasonal clothing, Christmas decorations and piles of Life and Look magazines. I remember pouring over the copy of President Kennedy's assassination... and reading for the first time about Richard Speck systemically murdering the nine Chicago nurses in 1966. This 10 year farm girl could barely comprehend such a heinous crime. My innocence was forever shattered.

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom, 
is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar.

Peaceful Easy Feeling (the Eagles), Country Roads (John Denver) and Diamond & Rust (Joan Baez), just a few of the songs that I spent hours learning to play in that little back bedroom

I sang all the time in that house. And I mean all the time. Some of the songs I sang as a young girl was Tammy Wynette's D-I-V-O-R-C-E and It's My Party by Leslie Gore. I wanted to be Carly Simon, Karen Carpenter and Olivia Newton John. Music was my constant companion.

I would spend hours practicing my bassoon throughout high school. Wondering why I didn't choose the oboe... would have been so much easier to lug home each night on the bus.
(image found on google. Clic to enlarge and see how beautiful the bassoon is)

Loved sewing and knitting and crocheting for days on end. 
And watching The Lawrence Welk Show every Saturday night and The Wonderful World of Disney and The Ed Sullivan Show every Sunday night.
Coming home from school to fresh baked loaves of homemade bread on the counter...  along with pies, crisps and cobblers.
All 8 of us (Mom, Dad & 6 kids) shared one bathroom. So at times we were grateful for the optional two-seater outhouse. But not so much in the winter.

Oh the hours ironing hankies and pillowcases while watching Days of our Lives during the summer months. I can still smell the freshly laundered clothes as we ironed in the living room. (anyone remember sprinkling clothes from the pop bottle?)

I would scrub the sinks every night after the supper dishes were washed and towel dried... always pretending I was the Ajax white tornado lady that flew through the air. Only I flew from the kitchen stool.
And when I dusted, I was the Pledge lady... always wanting the furniture to be thickly covered in dust like in the commercials. But my Mom wouldn't have it.

I dreamed of becoming a singer, an actress, a designer and a mom.

Yes, I pretended a lot and I dreamed a lot... 
in the house that built me. 

And it made me who I am today.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, Linda! Wisconsin seems like such a lovely place and your farm and home are beautiful! What lovely memories. Thank you for sharing!
Beautiful! : )


( PS.. I'm you 'neighbor'.. I live in Gilbert )

Sharon Larson said...

I wish I had grown up with you! The two of us would have made a great imagination team for sure. You are so blessed to still have that home to go back to. It helps keep those memories alive. What's especially wonderful is that house that built you also built quite a few other precious little lives. Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, you brought me back to things I did as a kid also, ironing watching tv with the sprinkling bottle. Life was much simpler and full of great memories. Thank you

Sandy @ RE said...

Loved this post. You are beautiful!

Diane Fay (littlealma) said...

Just stumbled across your blog tonight - (not sure how exactly), but LOVE the mitten valence, and also all of the other posts I have read - and I also am from Wisconsin, "On Wisconsin!!!" I am from Cedar Grove, a little Dutch town north of Milwaukee - just wondered where you are from?! Will have to come back later sometime, when it isn't 3 am, before Sunday church!

Hugs from Michigan - Diane

Dianna said...

Just found this post, and I love it! So many of your memories are memories that I have too - only I grew up in Virginia! But I watched the same tv shows, played an upright piano, loved the same songs. And I was also seriously shaken by the murder of those nurses. I even remember talking to our pastor about it...

Just discovered your blog, but I am really enjoying it!