Travels with Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
With four kids on board at the time, apartment living was becoming very uncomfortable and impractical. Al and Ann set out to buy a house. Aside from needing a larger living area, the only other criteria for Al was to have a house in a setting where he could go out his back door and call his neighbor an SOB, without him hearing. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have any idea who his neighbor(s) would be. It was a matter of principle, privacy, and maybe a little foresight on Al’s part that it was likely he wouldn’t like the people who were planted near him.
So, this goal was sort of achieved when they bought this house in a small town in 1964. He only had one next-door neighbor, and a few neighbors farther away. So, if he said anything out his back door that he really didn’t want anyone to hear, he would have to whisper. Turns out that he liked his immediate neighbor, so there were no drama sessions focused out the back door, that I know of, anyway.
We lived there for 9 years. All 8 of us. Little Matthew arrived, and my maternal grandmother came to live with us. The house was small for that size family….3 bedrooms, and ONE very small bath. The 3 boys shared a room, Mary and I shared a room, and Grandma stayed in a little closet-like room on the first floor next to the bathroom. It was cozy. Her little bed and a small dresser fit. It was so small though, there wasn’t even enough room to change your mind in there. But she was happy to be with us. And we were happy she was there.
The farmer’s widow who sold them the farm house had more property to sell. My parents bought two more acres up the field, near the woods with the plan of building a new house. We moved out of the little farm house, and into a huge, (huge to us!) brand new house in 1973.
The old farm house was rented out for years to a few families, then demolished in 1988. I was sorry to see it go. It was my childhood home.