Almost Home

The next house was the last house of my youth. We moved during the sixth grade. We stayed until after I went to college.

The house was in a subdivision. It was about 7 miles south of Coarsegold. It was a good balance. There was plenty of space to roam. But also houses and friends close. There was a creek behind our house. I still remember the first time I went to the creek. I walked to the back of the property. There was a gate. I walked through the gate thinking about how nice it was to have a gate. Our yard was completely fenced in. Not all the properties on the street were.

The name of the subdivision was Indian Lakes. The streets named after various Indian tribes. The street we lived on was Navajo. Another street you drove on to get to our house was Modoc.

I spent a lot of time down at the creek. It was smaller than the river. But it was still an adventure. Upstream it crossed a road and there was a lake. Downstream it passed near a house of a family friend. Well, when we moved in the house wasn’t there. From there it left the park. I followed it a couple times. There was a dam, but no houses until the highway.

Near the highway was a strange area. Rumor said it was the former location of a zoo. I spent time wandering all over the area. I once also found an old cemetery.

There was an area to the south of the development. When we moved in it was undeveloped. They started to develop it as we lived there, and now it has houses. Once while riding my bike in this area I almost ran over a rattle snake.

I could tell a lot of stories about this time of my life. And of course most people I know now have no idea. But, the people I knew then had no idea either.

To the north of the development was a sporting clay course. It was the first job I ever had. But it wasn’t active when I found the course. I remember walking to work once. Along the dirt road there were two ant paths. I wondered how ants got along. I picked an ant from one path, and put it in the other. The ants attacked it.

Almost 400 words into this chapter and not a word about the house. From the time of moving there, until moving my memories are outside. Sure, I remember some things about the house. And we will get there soon. But most of my memories are outside, and alone. I lost my sister as a friend, and the few friends I made.

I don’t know how many times I walked around the “block” in the development. It was much longer than a common block.

The house was a two level home. On the second floor was mother’s room. A place I feared. Not with a fear of respect. It was more confusion, disgust and avoidance. Her bedroom took up half the second floor. It was an A frame, so it wasn’t as big as it sounds.

The bottom floor had a living room, and kitchen. Above these was open space to the ceiling. There was big windows. Great for light, but we never cleaned those windows. Many things weren’t cleaned.

Under the stairs was a closet. And it later was my brothers bedroom. He was young at the time. It was the only space he would have gotten. My sister’s bed room was on one side, and mine the other. There was a short hall, laundry opposite our rooms. At the end was a bathroom. Upstairs mother had her own bathroom. I don’t think I ever used her bathroom.

When we were young we used to surf down the stairs. There was a long set, a landing and a short set. We used a crib mattress to slide down the stairs. At the landing was a stained glass window.

The house was set back from the road. A gravel driveway came down along the side. It ended behind the house. There was a satellite dish in the yard. But it was never used by us. The gravel in most of the driveway was small. In the back was some bigger rounder rocks. I remember using them like baseballs. (Not in a game with other people, just hitting them.)

In the back of the house was an area of woods. When we first moved to the house my sister wanted to make the back corner away from the gate our secret land. Like in Bridge to Terabithia.

I played with small cars in the backyard. And got pointlessly upset with my brother for disturbing them. And my sister got pointlessly disturbed when I made a “road” to the secret kingdom.

The first hole I dug was in Ahwahnee. It is a bit of an odd thing to do I guess. But I dug a hole in the back yard. Maybe two foot deep. I got bored quick I guess.

One of the first memories of the backyard was a tree. We thought we would build a tree fort. As younger children me and my sister both climbed a lot of trees. As we got older at the house, some ideas changed. We didn’t want a tree fort, or a secret kingdom.

I don’t remember if mother built the compost. But there was one in the backyard. And I know we added materials like leaves and grass and food. And mother may have used some of the soil in a garden she planted at least once.

There were two big pine trees in front of the house. Like us my brother was a climber. He climbed those trees a number of times. There was a small flat area with pea gravel. There was a wooden patio, porch. And a sliding glass door. It opened to the kitchen. A border of rocks lined the flat area. With one small step, where a path led to the street.

On my bike I would ride down the path, and around the trees. When we moved in there were flowers.

This is the house referred to as “the dump” to a new neighbor. Workers in the school office told her this when she enrolled her kids. And it was a dump. I don’t know why, but it was almost always a mess. Though I tried to keep my room clean.

At one point we had the classic two TVs. The one which works sitting on top the one which did not work.

My room was interesting. I covered my walls with posters. When I moved you couldn’t see wall. On my wall were the faces of young female actresses and singers. Like Candace Cameron, yes I had a big crush on her. And a number of others.

We lived her for so long because mother was buying the house. But it was always too much for her. Little things just never got taken care of like they should have been. Woodpeckers would hammer on our roof for months of the year. And she would yell, “get out of here.”

Which made us think she was yelling fire. But when she was yelling fire, we thought she was yelling “get out of here.”

Oh yeah, my brother set her mattress on fire. No, she wasn’t in it at the time. She called the fire department but I put it out with a bucket of water. The fire department did come. They threw the bed out the window. It stayed in the yard for months.

This might be the longest chapter so far. But it covers a long period. Almost six years. I have never lived in the same place six years since. I don’t know if I ever will.

But I did have some friends at this house.


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