Week 4: Home. Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?
This challenge runs from Saturday, January 22, 2011 through Friday, January 28, 2011.
I’m jumping in a few weeks late, but here goes!
This is a picture of the house I grew up in, as it looks today. This house was built 1960-61 by my father, who acted as his own contractor. This meant that all the specs were at least a bit above the requirements. The plumbing was top grade.The wiring (Daddy was an Electrical Engineer with a degree from Georgia Tech) was too, and in the attic, the wires are laid completely straight, and labeled. In the Master Bedroom is a panel of toggle light switches which control every light in and outside the house, with one big Master Toggle, where Daddy could turn off all lights just before going to bed.
The family jest was that when Daddy called for the city to come inspect at various stages, the city guy would say, “Aw, Mr. Powell, you know you just want to brag.”
The house is on the side of a limestone hill, and the foundation in the front right corner is tied to the bedrock, meaning it has not shifted down the hill since construction, as so many even well built houses in Huntsville are wont to do. When we moved in, Mother insisted it be painted blue, her favorite color. Later on, we repainted to a deep brown with a goldenrod color on the trim. For many years, the front door was bright red, in the tradition of protection and good luck.
When we moved in, on the right property line and on the left by the driveway were two large, very old, cedar trees. The massive tornado outbreak of April 4, 1974 ripped both trees out of the ground (cedar trees do not bend) and laid them across the front yard. The same tornado twisted the house just a little, and the chimney leaked ever after that. Similarly, the house is a little closer to the street than those on either side, because Mama and Daddy wanted to save a particular Black Walnut tree just outside the master bedroom window. Five years after we moved in, lighting struck the tree, but it did not fall on the house. Daddy saved the wood and made some items from it such as a nut scoop.
The house has a basement rec room and a cellar. The cellar, when I was small, was large enough and empty enough for me to roller skate in on rainy days. Later it filled up with Daddy’s wine making equipment.
The kitchen is in the front, an unusual design, because the back, where the living room and dining room are, has a beautiful view of downtown Huntsville. I used to sit on the back porch, watching the sun set as Mother cooked supper, or at night looking at the stars and listening to the cicadas and crickets.