Wednesday, February 9, 2011


My memories are always defined by either what I was wearing when the event happened or by what house I was living in. We play that game all the time. “When we lived on 5th St – do you remember when….” Or “Which house were we in when such and such happened?”

One of my favorite things is/are houses. I know it’s a weird thing, but I love them. It could have to do with my having lived in a total of 13 different ones and having spent long periods of time in at least six others.

Every once in awhile one of the homes pops in my head for no reason at all. Then I remember.

I feel like each house has a spirit and that makes it a home. Most of the houses we moved into were not the home they became by the time we left. I miss them all as though they were a dear friend. I know that is so strange to hear, but some people do this with cars, I happen to do this with houses.

Today I remembered Lincolnwood. (yes, I have names for them- usually the street they were on, but sometimes something else gives them their name)

This house was not one of mine or one that I ever lived in. I visited it about two times per year as a child until I was in my teens. It belonged to my grandparents. This house had such an effect on me. I swear it is the house that is responsible for my love of vintage design, clean lines, modern for its time and class. It was a classy house. I’m not the only one it affected either. I hear other people talk about it with as much love as I have had for it.

Yes, the things in a house help to make it a home and this is the case here too – that’s my all inclusive. I know if I were to go to this house right now, it would not be the same at all. It was sold a long time ago and not too long ago we went to look for it and I couldn’t even find it, the street had changed so much.

This is a 1940’s brick two story in the suburbs of Chicago, but it was so much more than just that -

Lincolnwood was:

A mail slot in the front hall closet that you had to move fur coats to get to. This made the closet always cold in the winter. The resident Schnauzer and I loved to hear the mail hit the stone tile.

A piano in a room surrounded by hand painted art, expensive statues, Moreno glass, and low, firm couches with matching drapes. The piano bench was a light blue needle point.

A kitchen where the refrigerator and dishwasher were part of the cabinets and you couldn’t tell where they were. The freezer always held cartons of Hagen Daz chocolate chocolate chip.

A vibrating fur covered pillow on the couch, and lots of hand-held games in the den.

A walk-out basement with a REAL bar (working sink and fridge). Frothy looking drinks made from wax. A giant Marlin hanging on the wall. A pool table often covered in hundreds of different fabric samples. My great Granny in the basement (full) kitchen making streudel. A closet inside a closet inside another closet where all kinds of treasures were hidden.

A towel warming rack in the upstairs bathroom. Pedestal sinks and giant laundry chutes on every level.

A bedroom that led into another bedroom that was made all of wood with built in dresser drawers and cabinets. Vintage Barbies with fur coats, purses and glasses hidden inside one of the doors.

A giant tree in the backyard with a wrap-around bench.

A secret entry from the side yard into the breakfast room where a vintage highchair was kept.

Every morning complete silence from the occupants until after twelve giving me hours upon hours to explore…….

Someday I’ll tell you about the Centennial House where Murder was in the basement and a real Circus was erected across the street……


Oilfield Trash said...

Great post.

That is something that I have thought about multiple times before about places I lived.

jlink said...

I had tears in my eyes just thinking about this house. I can remember such details about it, too. The box of costume jewelry, sleeping on Grandma and Grandpa's bed if Granny was snoring too loud when I went to bed, Gretchen, Pepperidge Farm cookies and windmill cookies, always deli ham and cheese (when we were eating pimento loaf), Aunt Joan's 8-track player in the basement, trying to picture my dad actually living there, and allllll sorts of other wonderful memories. Last, but not least, playing "Button Store" with you in the basement with Granny's buttons. I love every time we are able to get together! Love you!


Kelley said...

I love this post. I like old houses. Really, really, really like them. I loved the descriptions you shared of the house that you have so many memories of... I liked taking a walk down memory lane with you!

The Reckmonster said...

You are lucky to have such nice memories of your grandparents house. My memory of my grandma's house is filled with laughs, chuckles and guffaws: egg-carton lampshades, half a barbie doll with a crocheted dress on as a toilet paper cover, a taxidermied statue of a king cobra and a mongoose in a fight in the back room (aka "junk room), and the strong stench of layered years of cigarette smoke (she was a chain smoker). Once a year trip to grandma's was too much. I wish I had a fond memory like yours! Treasure that!!

Kate said...

This is such a neat post. I felt like I could almost see the house, but even more I got a sense of how it felt to be a little girl visiting. This would've been a great weekend spotlight post. I just love it. :)

Cheeseboy said...

I love the idea of writing about houses from your youth. This was so well written and I can picture everything perfectly. Except the towel warming rack. Not sure what that is.

I lived in one house until I was 18 and a senior in HS. When my parents moved us, I sat in my empty room and cried. An 18-year-old crying. I loved that house.