Homes continued


So I guess I'll continue on with my narrative on homes I've lived in. I left home at 17 to attend BYU in Provo, UT. I lived on campus in Heritage Halls and had the happy accident of living in a two person apartment rather than the typical six person apartments. My roommate was a stranger at the time but became one of my dearest friends. Dianne and I were a goofy pair but had a lot of fun that year and were adopted by a six girl apartment upstairs so I had lots of surrogate roommates for companionship yet space and quiet down in our private apartment in the basement. It was a great arrangement and in retrospect we never should have moved out. But it is commonplace to move off campus after freshman year so the next year Dianne and I ventured just south of campus to an apartment - now with four other roommates. Wahoo! There wasn't much out of the ordinary about either of these spaces. I guess those years at college aren't much about furnishings. We did make the space college fabulous by cutting up calendars and magazines and other "art" to literally wallpaper our entire first apartment. Should have taken out stock in sticky tack. Walls, ceilings, even a artistic nude on the back of our bedroom door which we thought was so rebellious and clever since boys were not allowed in our bedroom and couldn't be witness to her magnificence. I remember walking to the grocery store and carting stuff back in our back packs. I remember a lot of boys named Dave (this was of course before my husband entered the picture). I remember ever so many meaty conversations and frivolous conversations with roommates. I remember Dianne getting a lost a few times walking home :-) I remember jumping in with both feet and buying way more CDs than I could probably afford. Our bedroom had no windows so it was a fabulous place to take afternoon naps or just listen to really loud music (Dianne had a great stereo) with the lights off. Oh so many memories! I had my share of issues with BYU, but the year and a half I spent there was ever so much fun. Naivete and new found independence are a heady mix.

I left BYU after a year and a half to go home and work for a few months before marrying Dave. Yes, young - but this isn't the focus of my narrative. After we were married we moved into a lovely apartment on 7th South and 3rd East in Salt Lake. I was so happy to return to Salt Lake after almost a lifetime of being away. It is a city that I have an emotional connection to and still think fondly of (even though I have no plans to return). Our apartment was a typical one bedroom - nothing fancy or terrible. But it was still exciting and fun to have a real place to call our own. We spent a lot of time enjoying the city and the mountains. It's great living minutes away from a canyon hike. I remember going all out when we bought our first Christmas tree, and it's still the best one we've ever had. I remember the neighborhood Catholic community finding the Virgin in the knot of a tree across the street and the crazy traffic that ensued for weeks following. I remember walking to take the bus down on State street and enjoying the "colorful" people that shared my ride. After living in that apartment for an amount of time which I can no longer remember (1 year maybe? a year and a half? Less?) we smartened up and moved to the married student housing at the University of Utah, where we were both attending. It was ridiculously small and bordering on inhospitable, but it was CHEAP! We could also sell our second car since I got a job on campus and could just use the shuttles. There were hard linoleum floors throughout the 300 something square feet and only cinder block walls. No cooling and barely adequate heating. Did I mention that it was cheap? It was still a great little apartment and we chotchkied it up and enjoyed our time there. I remember making bookshelves out of cinderblocks and planks and thinking we were living the high life. There were lots of beautiful walks through the campus and the lovely neighborhoods surrounding campus. I love those old homes.

In 1999 we moved to Phoenix so Dave could attend graduate school. Being the logical people that we are, we plunked ourselves down right across campus and I looked for the closest job I could find. (And over 10 years later I'm still at GCC, that was one of the happiest accidents of my life.) Our apartment was a two bedroom with a decent amount of space on the second floor. It was pretty typical, but the grounds were decent and it was wonderful living across from campus. Thunderbird was a really fun time and we met some great people there. That was the apartment where we brought home our beautiful Tessa. I took her on long walks outside whenever she was fussy or needed to go to sleep. Thank goodness for gorgeous Arizona springs. The summer after she was born Dave got a job and we started in earnest finding a place to buy. Apartment life was fine, but we were ready for a house and in Phoenix it certainly was house buying time. Thank goodness we got in well before the bubble. But I'm jumping ahead.

We didn't want to go too far away because I was able to keep my job part time and I detest commutes. Dave's job was a bit East but not too far, so we just drove a bit north and found ourselves a lovely neighborhood at the North end of Phoenix. It was a lovely home and I still love it. It was small at 1,600 square feet, but the layout suited us perfectly. A big kitchen, a big family room, a den connected to the master. A lot of good space for a small house. Of course all that space has to be made up somewhere so the closets and bedrooms were microscopic. But it worked for us. In the seven years we lived there I made my way through it all with a paint roller and big ideas about color and perfectly painted straight lines. We pulled a few cactus from the back yard and rolled out a little patch of grass for our girls to play on. We enjoyed the weather and the low maintenance yard work (although I certainly wouldn't understand that second part until we moved to Austin). We made some fantastic friends and that certainly became the most enduring quality of our time there.

But in early 2008 we found out that Dave's company would be dissolving their Phoenix office and it was up to us to find a new job in Phoenix or pull up our roots. We had loved the idea of Austin for some time so we jumped at the chance to try it out. And found the most wonderful house. I truly love our house here. It is just shy of too big for us, lots of room for guests and all of our "stuff". The windows are fantastic and a big part of our decision to buy it. And what are wonderful windows without wonderful trees to look out on? I know I've gone on and on about my trees on many occasions, but they do give me a deep and true bliss. The yard is still something we are trying to get under control after living here a year and a half, but it is lovely and I'm glad for it. Our furniture still doesn't quite fit, but it's a house to keep so I don't feel a pressing need to rush. It has definitely become our own in the time we've been here. The neighborhood is beautiful and I love walking through it.

So there you have it - all of my little abodes over the years. Home is a sentimental thing for me as is the sense of a place. There are strong memories tied up with the physical sense of all the places I've lived. And I am grateful for each and every one and realize how fortunate I've been that they have all been comfortable, safe, and beautiful in their own way.


Anonymous said...

that's funny, I climbed the "Virgin" tree. You guys are almost like celebrities.

Katherine Darrow said...

I love your autobio writings! You make every little thing sound exciting, and certainly know how to appreciate the small joys of life.

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