When I was @ 11-13 years old, I lived in a house on the corner right across the street from my elementary school (Southgate). This was the house of plum jam, beef burgundy and candles.
This house has bittersweet memories associated with it. For one, it was the house my father rented after my parents split. Dad always made sure we lived in a house, never an apartment. He always made sure to be involved in the PTA and our softball teams. He was always involved in our lives when we were young, which I didn’t appreciate at the time. I always thought my Dad could be a bit of a butt when it came to discipline. I couldn’t stand being told what to do all the time. Looking back, I see that I’d probably be much the same way as Dad was.
Some memories include losing my cat Pearl by a passing vehicle, playing catch with Dad in the field behind our house, camping in the backyard and making, from scratch:
1) “Beef Burgundy”. Dad made this stew dish with beef that included a healthy dose of red wine. Years later, we asked Dad why he never made it again. He reminded us pesky kids that we complained to no end about not liking it!
2) Plum jam. Dad was mean. He made us pick up all the softening and rotting plums from the ground in the back yard before he mowed the lawn. We made plum jam from the fruit and gave it away to neighbors and folks at church.
3) Candles colored by melted crayons. Dad probably needed cheap stuff for us to do, so his creativity included yet another project to be done right at home. We used blocks of wax and melted them into little cups with a string in the middle and made our own candles. I never lit mine and it ended up getting lost in one of the many moves I continued to make in my life leading in to adulthood…
One funny thing I remember was Dad talking about how he could see out the bathroom window from the stall shower. He said he’d see the pastor of our church jogging past the house. Pastor Vern was his name. I remember in one of his sermons he spoke of how the best time he had to think was while he was on the pot. He sure knew how to get his congregation to pay attention!
Other vivid memories of this house include dodging the crossing guard because it wasn’t cool to be “babysat” and escorted across the street with someone carrying a portable “STOP” sign. Since we lived on the corner, I remember practicing my flute when the window was open and a passerby said “you suck!” which made me not want to practice anymore…