The House I Grew Up In (bitch).

December 5th, 2010

I suppose that some of you may be wondering why I added that (bitch) to the end of the title of this article.  Well, it has to do with ending a sentence with a preposition.  I suppose I could have entitled this post ‘The House In Which I Upwards Grew’ or “Grow Up in This House I Did” or “The House Where Up I Did Grow” but none of those options seem to convey the direct simplicity of the title I chose which is ‘The House I Grew up in”.  Sadly, that title ends in a preposition which is just about the only rule of grammar I find hard to break.  Simple solution?  Add bitch to the end of the sentence.

Many of you may be familiar with the brilliant birthday card which inspired this solution.  No?  Well it goes like this…

Friend – Where is your birthday party at?

Birthday girl – Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.

Friend – Where is your birthday party at bitch?

As recently discussed in the comment section of this blog, I have adopted adding the word ‘bitch’ to all my sentences that end in a preposition so that I no longer have to awkwardly re-word them.  Of course, adding the word ‘bitch’ tends to lend a different kind of awkwardness to my writing, but it is one that I am much more comfortable with (bitch).

Moving ON!

After six years on the market, my parents have finally sold their home of thirty plus years out in Goodland, Kansas.  They are relocating to be closer to their grandkids.  It will be nice to have them around more, although I will miss my visits to the High Plains as I really do think it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

My mom designed this home during my tender formative years.  I remember the thick rolls of plans lying around our little house in town.  I remember her discussing her dreams for this home with my dad, builders and draftsmen.  I remember my parents dragging my sister and I out to look at several possible sites for the house and mostly I remember the summer before we started building when this lot was four acres of weeds and my mom in her rapture to get things started would haul my sister and I out to pull those weeds.  Now I realize that she was really just looking for an excuse to visit her building site and dream about her future house, but at the time I acquainted home building with physical, sun scorched torture and I wasn’t a very big fan of the idea.

My dad planted the evergreen trees that line both sides of the driveway and it was the job of my sister and I to water these trees.  We had to stand by the trees and wait for the wells that my dad had dug around each tree to fill up and then we had to move the hoses to the next tree in line.  Waiting for each of those wells to fill up was mind numbing.  While the water slowly filled the wells, all my vitality slowly drained away.  I had television shows to watch!  I had Nancy Drew books to read!  I had day dreams to day dream!  Why am I standing here getting beaten down my the western wind and the glaring sun while my childhood ebbs into a hole in the ground?

But look at those trees now!

I helped to grow those trees!

Me!

ME!!!!!

After admiring my trees (bent sideways in the frigid wind) we enter the foyer of my mom’s house.

It looks into the music room where Jack is playing the piano.

Around the corner from the foyer is a huge walk-in pantry and then you enter the kitchen.

This is my mom’s kitchen.  She remodeled it a few years ago and I kind of miss the way it used to be.

But don’t tell my mom I said that.

That door by the kitchen table opens to a little bathroom which led to many of the more awkward moments of my teenage years.  I had a boyfriend that invariably had to ‘go’ in the middle of a meal at our house.  We would sit at the table, forks paused, eating ceased while he relieved himself in the little room.  Then he would come back out and we would all pretend that we had heard nothing.  It’s the sole reason why the bathrooms and the dining room are at opposite ends in my house.

The kitchen over looks a sunken family room.  You can see a bit of the spiral staircase that heads to the basement.

Also off the kitchen is a massive laundry room with a center island, three closets and a sewing desk.

You would think a room like this would produce a crafty daughter.

But no.

Quite the opposite in fact.

Also off the kitchen is what my parents call a solarium.  As far as I know this is the only house in the world with a solarium.  I don’t even know what a solarium is, but I do know that it used to be a patio until my dad enclosed it several years ago.  My parents aren’t big on windows.  There are only eleven windows in the rest of the house.  So this is where you go when you want to adjust your eyes back to daylight before stepping outside.

Let’s go back to the music room and hear Jack play some more!

When I was in the fourth grade, we moved into this house.  Two years later, my dad had to move to Dodge City to salvage a part of the family business that had fallen apart.  Of course my mom was not very happy to leave her brand new house, but once we got to Dodge City, our whole family loved it.  It was a much bigger town with lots more to do.  Both of my parents got very involved in a church there.  I tried out for a coveted position on the Dodge City drill team and won a spot.  My sister and I made some very close friends and then after two years, we were informed that we were moving back to Goodland.

My father had fixed and then sold the business in Dodge City.  In the meantime the person to whom he had sold the business in Goodland had managed to almost ruin the company and could no longer make the payments to buy the business from my father.  So back to Goodland we had to go.  My dad once again, turned the flailing family business around and we settled back into our new/old house.

My dad felt kind of bad for taking my mom away from Dodge City because she really loved it there.  So he bought her the baby grand piano as a consolation prize.  None of us can really play the thing, but it does look good sitting in the room.

Across the hall from the music room is the formal dining room.

And then you hit the bedroom wing…

This was my room – except it looked totally different when I lived in it.

For one thing – all the Andy Gibb posters are gone.

This is the little Jack and Jill bathroom that connected my room to my sister’s room.

There are no locks on the doors, so we got in the habit of opening the drawers to keep the doors from opening on both sides of this bathroom.  We frequently forgot to close one of the drawers when we left, so you invariably slammed a door into a drawer when you entered this bathroom.  Then you had to squeeze your hand past the door and inch the drawer shut so you could get inside.  My mom had wallpaper put on the ceiling of this room.  I really thought that was extremely creative.

But mostly this bathroom was the scene of many bloody battles between my sister and I as we got ready for school each morning.  We beat the crap out of each other with our hot curling irons, blow dryers, brushes, and hot rollers.  Most of the trouble seemed to come from having only one outlet and far too many beauty implements that needed to be plugged and heated.  Oh the peace that a single powerstrip would have brought to this home.

This is my sister’s room.  It also did not look anything like this when we lived here except for the bedstead.  If you can picture a room full of furniture, wallpaper and carpet to match it,  you would be a little closer to what it used to look like.

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These are the two dorks that used to beat the crap out of each other every single morning of their lives.

But look at our hair!  Were not the daily beatings so worth it?!?!?!?

This is my parent’s bedroom.

And their bathroom.

My mom chose turquoise and chocolate brown for these rooms.  She would always say, ‘chocolate brown’.  It was never ‘dark brown’ or ‘smokey brown’ or ‘deep brown’ always ‘chocolate brown’.  I still think that ‘chocolate brown’ is one of the finest colors on earth, not because of chocolate part, but because my mom made it sound so beautiful and stylish whenever she talked about it.

And then we traipse all the way back across the house and head down to the basement.

Please to note the fab fire pit.

My sister and I watched Saturday morning cartoons starting at 5 am from this very fire pit for the last years of our childhoods.  We piled up blankets and pillows in the center of that pit and watched the tiny far away screen thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

The bar from which only a variety of coke products were ever served.

And then it is back upstairs and out into the wide, fresh air of the western plains.  You may remember this scene from a certain Grey Gardens fashion show that occurred a few years ago.

I will miss this old place, but I am glad my parents are moving closer.

Goodbye old house.

Comments

  • Shelley:

    Sad to say goodbye to such a fabulous house. I loved reading about all your memories in it. So glad the conversation re: prepositions/bitch moved from the comments to a post! I was proofreading my friend’s son’s paper this morning & resisted the urge to add “bitch” to the end of many sentences!

  • Nancy:

    Oh gosh, I can so relate to this post. The last time that I walked through the house where I grew up (bitch) I had such a lump in my throat. The porch where shy high school boys kissed me goodnight while my dad flipped the porch light on and off….the rec room where my sweet sixteen disco party was held…..the fireplace where our Christmas stockings hung…the hallway where school pictures took up every available space….the phone on the kitchen wall, the only phone in the house, and we had a PARTY LINE….the stairs where we posed for prom pictures in our Gunne Sax dresses and feathered hair…. the living room where my brother, then my sister, then me…introduced our parents to the ones we’d marry. So much history, and my parents chucked it all to retire to Florida. On the rare occasion that I return to my home state, I still drive by and I’m immediately transported back to some pretty wonderful times. *sigh*

  • Spiderjohn:

    O.K….. you don’t like to end a sentence with a preposition, but you can write, ” it was my sister and ( I’s ) job to water these trees.” ? Why did you that for ( bitch )?

    • Rechelle:

      As stated in the article Spiderjohn, the ONLY rule of grammar that I attempt to adhere to is the one regarding ending a sentences with a preposition. Other rules of grammar bother me not.

    • bPer:

      I agree, SpiderJohn. I was gritting my teeth through all the “my sister and I”s. Way back, I learned an easy trick to figure this out – just remove the other party and see if it sounds right. So …

      My sister and I went home. My mother greeted my sister and me.

      is right because, if you remove the other parties, it reads:

      I went home. My mother greeted me.

      Aren’t pet peeves annoying? :)

      βPer

      • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

        I feel successful in life if I correctly use “its” and “it’s” 100% of the time, and spell correctly 99.9% of the time.

        Of course, “bitch” can be used anywhere and in any form.

  • Martha in Kansas:

    I’m greatly bothered by the driveway. The black part is the drive, but what is the grey part for and why does it swoop around a tree and end suddenly in what appears parallel to the black driveway? I am sorry that none of those sentences end with a preposition, so I’ll just add (bitch).

    • Rechelle:

      I have to agree with you Martha. The abrupt end to the circle drive is very disturbing. All I can tell you is that the black asphalt driveway used to be gravel and must have been much wider therefore meeting up with the cement circular driveway. When my dad got it paved, he must have skinnied it up (bitch).

  • RB:

    Oh my. I couldn’t possibly be the only child who figured out how to do the chores AND still read, can I?

    For example, watering the trees. One hand is available to hold the hose, the other balances the book. (Sometimes the water overflows, but the tree doesn’t mind.)

    Even as a grownup, I still do this LOL! If I have to stir something constantly on the stove, I lean against the counter, stir with one hand and hold the book or magazine in the other. I switch hands when they get tired of their assigned tasks.

    I have now pass this information on to those who need this genius solution.

    • RB:

      Oops, that should read:

      “I have now passED this information on . . .”

      • Rechelle:

        RB – Where were you and your stellar advice when I needed you?

    • Martha in Kansas:

      I used to vacuum and read.

      And I could reply to my mother’s endless chatter and read. Her intonation gave away what the right response should be.

  • Nancy:

    RB –
    Actually it should read “I have now passed this information on, bitch.” Geez, pay attention!

  • Deborah:

    I would have died for a window seat in my bedroom. Such sweet memories.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    I love the fab fire pit.

    My sister, who is 2 years my junior, and I also shared a Jack and Jill bathroom. Luckily we each had our own electrical outlet. We would not be alive today if we would’ve tried fighting with curling irons and hair dryers. I once received the business end of my dad’s belt for putting her in a headlock, while she and I were play-fighting, when she was 13 (bitch.)

  • rozdabiker:

    nice house……I would have enjoyed growing up there……it looks like the equivalent of growing up on on a golf course………

    • Rechelle:

      It was kind of like growing up on a golf course… except no golf course.

  • Regarding the birthday card; My daughter gave me that card years ago and it remains on my refrigerator to this day. She knows when anyone says, “Where are you at?” that it screeches by me me like fingernails on a chalk board. That’s why I particularly loved your “House in which up I grew” or whatever. Anyway, thanks for providing my favorite daily read. My friend Cheryl Unruh led me to you.

    If you’re ever close to Ellsworth with time to spare, stop by for a visit. We have endless numbers of blogging stories to share.

  • Great post! 1.) only recently I told a friend, “I’m going to stop ending my sentences with propositions.” I have a decent grasp of English, but for some reason PROPositions and PREPositions got cross-wired. But dang, was I popular.
    2.) I can so relate to the house you grew up in (bitch), because we are in the process of buying the house I grew up in (bitch). My mother also designed the house, including all the 70s amenities their budget could afford.

  • jalf:

    Can I just say that this (bitch) business is really ruining some golden opportunities for talking like Yoda.

    I mean, “Grow up in this house I did”? I wish everyone talked like that.

    I mean, talk like that, I wish everyone did.