1. I came into consciousness living in a single-wide trailer in rural South Arkansas, just down the street from my kindergarten. I shared a room with my baby sister.
2. After a year or so, we moved to another single-wide trailer on a hill by Dixie Food Mart. I had my own room, but I would often wake up lying in front of the box fan that blocked the entrance to my parents’ room. I still have trouble falling asleep if the fan isn’t running at full blast.
3. When I was in the third grade, my folks moved us into town, to a brick house on Herron Drive in El Dorado. I got a huge room with green shag carpeting and a dock on a lake. It was like a playhouse.
4. In the fourth grade, I moved to Little Rock for a brief stay in a two-story townhouse. Mary and I bunked together again.
5. My family moved right back to the same house on Herron Drive sometime after our first blizzard in the city.
6. In the fifth grade, we moved back to the hill next to the convenience store. We settled into a log-cabin-covered double-wide trailer this time.
7. After my sister and I were damn near killed by a rope swing with a wooden seat that hung in the front yard, Mom and Dad broke the house into two pieces and hauled it out to a big grassy lot in the country. I was in the sixth grade, and the house still sits there today.
8. In college, I moved into a dorm room at Pomfret Hall at the University of Arkansas (Go Hogs!). I shared a room with a stranger from Texas. She watched me pierce my own ear and taught me how to shoot tequila poppers.
9. In the summer after my freshman year, I paid my first rent ($100 a month) to live on the living-room floor at a college buddy’s apartment.
10. For the first six weeks of my sophomore year, I lived in Pomfret Hall again, alone this time. Peanut butter toast with honey was a staple of my diet.
11. Then I fell in love and moved in with my new boyfriend practically on the second date. We lived in a huge house on a hill, and I paid something like $200 in rent for hardwood floors and three bedrooms.
12. When that was too much money to pay, we moved into the basement apartment of said beautiful house. I paid a mere $40 a month, but the place gushed water every time it rained.
13. Just after I graduated from college, I lived in my friend Brandi’s guest bedroom for two weeks.
14. After that, I rented my first solo apartment. It’s still the biggest place I’ve ever lived in alone. For $350 a month, I fit an overstuffed couch and loveseat in the living room. The bedroom had space for an entire furniture suite, including a princess bed, a gigantic bureau and two matching end tables. I even had my own washer and dryer. But for all that space, it was kind of a sad setup. Mothers moved their three kids there after their fathers suddenly disappeared on them. Newly immigrated Mexican families slept seven people on the living room floor while they looked for work at the nearby chicken plants. It was just a tough place to be.
15. To lighten things up, I painted my next apartment a pale shade of pink. It came with a bathroom small enough that you could shit, shower and shave all at once, but the place was a favorite. It ran about $300 a month. Mary lived there with me for a while, too. That always makes a house feel more like home.
To be continued…
Monday, April 11, 2005
Houses and homes, pt. 1
In honor of my new tiny-but-expensive apartment, let me just recap the history of my dwellings.