Oh, the house we lived in when I was twelve. I’m not sure I can stop with just the house. I loved where we lived. It was in Aston, Pennsylvania. I never could quite keep it straight whether we lived in the Old or New Ridge (Green Ridge). There were houses being built on our street (Crystal Road), but not very rapidly. Houses were built as property was sold, so it was probably the “New Ridge.”
We lived one block down and across the street from the firehouse at the top of the street. Our house was a square bungalow. It was a one-story house with a cellar and an attic. The house was what was termed a “stick-built” house. The base was cement. The exterior was an ugly faded gray-green. I can’t remember if we had carpet or not. What I remember about the living room is the flamingo pink walls that were there before my mom married my step-dad.
My mom loved knick-knacks, glass, and all things ornamental. The end tables, coffee table, and what-not shelf with the sliding glass doors were blond wood, I’m guessing almond. The front door faced Crystal Road. It was banked on one side by two side-by-side windows draped with white curtains motifed in green leaves and spring flowers. Our sofa (or couch) was brown and plain. To the left of the door and facing the street was a small room. It had been used as a “catch-all” room until Mom and Dad brought me back from Illinois. Then it became my bedroom. I was nine then. When my little brother outgrew his crib Daddy decided to have the attic made into two bedrooms–one for me and one for my little brother. The stairs he had built were pine. He contracted that work but put up the plywood walls himself. Mom had triangle shaped glass shelves in the corners to hold her vases and knick-knacks. The low-slung cabinet with the sliding glass doors held the engraved brandy snifter with the artificial flowers. Our neighbor across the street had given it to them on their wedding day. It said, “Herman and Letha Lipsius, August 5, 1958.”
When my little brother was about a year old my parents hired a professional photographer to come in. The pictures of our little family were put on a Viewmaster type slide reel. The package they ordered contained the slide reels (I forget how many), the viewer, some 5×7 photos and a large 9×12 portrait of my little brother and myself. It was hung on the wall opposite my parents’ bedroom which was on the right side off of the living room. A large television sat on the floor in the corner. Its exterior was walnut brown with gold colored trim. The knobs were the same gold color in the middle with a brown stripe around the outside. Back then, all televisions were viewed in black and white.
The front porch was cement with two metal chairs, each with a flowered cushion, which my dog, Frisky, chewed up when he got loose one day. Our yard was fenced and sloped. Dad had a sidewalk put in the first year I lived there, and he taught me how to ride a bike. We had a cinderblock garage with a door on the front. Johnny (the boy who lived across the street) and I used to play 7-Up on its side. He usually won. We also ran sprint races in the yard, jumping over Mom’s flowers. Sometimes I would trip over the fence bracket she had around them, bending it and crushing the flowers. Then I was in trouble. The porch was painted green and bordered on each side with bushes that I enjoyed jumping over from the porch.
My mom loved flowers. We had two pink Rose of Sharon bushes, irises, hyacinths, and daffodils. The flowers were planted along the fence. There were African violets in the house. There was a peach tree in the yard between the house and garage, and a crab apple tree outside of my parents’ bedroom window. The Griffiths, who lived next to us bordering Concord Road, had a lovely lilac tree, which donated many bouquets to my mom. Mrs. Griffith gave me permission.
The bathroom was between the living room and kitchen on the right. Dad had a white cabinet in the kitchen that had two doors on the bottom, two drawers above that, a shelf, and two drawers above that. What I liked about the cabinet was the sifter that was built in, right in the center of the cabinet. You could set a bowl under it, pour in the flower, and it would sift right into the bowl. They don’t make cabinets like those any more, at least not that I’ve seen.
The walls of the kitchen were white. The stove was black. The double sink was white and there was a counter where the dish drainer sat. The cabinets for the dishes were above the sink area and off to the right toward the back door. They also were white, as was our small rectangular table. The back door faced Roland Road (the spelling has been changed to Ronald, I think).
Around to the back side of the house were two big green doors that had to be pulled open and laid back. They were the entrance to the cellar where stood the washing machine. We had no dryer so clothes were hung on the clothesline, regardless of season. We had baseboard heat and the wooden drying racks inside the house could be pulled out to hang wet clothes on rainy or snowy days. I loved our house. We had many happy times there. I miss the old neighborhood and our neighbors.