I was complaining about my house yesterday. The first floor windows are dreadful and in serious need of replacement. It was so cold in my office that I can see my breath.
Then I was reminded that I grew up in a six-room, one-bathroom house with four brothers and sisters.
Until I moved into my unheated bedroom in the basement when I was twelve, I shared a room with my brother, Jeremy, and my step-brother, Ian. Ian slept on a mattress that we shoved under my bed every morning so it wouldn’t be in the way.
I only moved into the basement after my parents went away for the weekend, leaving us in the charge of my evil stepfather’s mother, who was less than observant on many matters. While she watched television in the living room, my brothers and I moved my bedroom furniture into the basement without her ever noticing.
In fact, it took my parents three days to even realize that I have moved into the basement, and only then after noticing me come through the basement door one morning to use the bathroom.
“If you’re willing to freeze, you can stay down there,” my mother said.
During the winter, I slept in long underwear and had to pile no less than six blankets on top of me just to stay warm.
Eventually I began leaving the house through the hatchway (called a bulkhead in Massachusetts), thus eliminating almost all contact with my family during my final two years at home.
This is what the house looks like today.
Almost nothing has changed since I moved out when I was eighteen years old.
It was small and rundown and full of wonderful and dreadful memories, but I loved it just the same and still do.
How dare I complain about those office windows in my nine room, three bathroom, walk-in-closet palace.