Quote

Our House

imageFive kids

In response to The Daily Post writing prompt “Our House”

Our house, was a very, very, fine house, I thought. The center of my world….a small, white frame house surrounded by a picket fence sitting under a huge shade tree.  For many years it was a three-room house till Daddy added two bedrooms and a screened-in back porch to accommodate his growing family.  I played in the deep, soft sand with my brother and sister on hot summer days. Honey-colored pine floors warmed the rooms, walls covered in cedar paneling.  Yellow and green tiles in an alternating pattern covered the kitchen floor.  The stove, with a pan of left-over biscuits for snacks, its door propped up with a stick, stood at one end of the kitchen, the refrigerator at the other, while cabinets ran along the outside wall.  We all crowded around a red dinette set with a high chair pulled alongside.  Mother’s wringer washer and the big deep freeze were housed on the screened-in back porch that had been pressed into service as a makeshift utility room.  She suffered terribly doing her wash in the cold till the screens were covered with heavy plastic coated hardware wire and a space heater was installed.  Clothes hung on lines strung across that room on rainy days.  Our house was noisy with the shrieks of children at play, my mother’s laughter, and the joy of rowdy children.  It was unusually scattered and looked like a tornado had ripped through not ten minutes after Mother finished cleaning.

The house was cold in winter, hot in summer, though the big attic fan lulled us to sleep on hot summer nights.  On sunny days, leafy shadows danced on my bedroom walls and floor.  Sometimes on hot days, I napped stretched out on the cool pine floors. Other times, I slept on a pallet of quilts with my cousin when company stayed nights.

Mother got up before we did to light the space-heaters that inadequately heated the house.  We’d back up to the heaters and roast our behinds while our fronts chilled till the house finally warmed up.

A wonderful two-story barn filled with hay stood in the barnyard behind the house.  On rainy days, we raced out to play in the barn, never to be held captive indoors.  It was heaven to play in the stalls and climb in the loft to build forts in the hay.  On fine days, we were free to roam the pastures and woods.  We climbed trees and dropped off on the backs of cows dozing in the shade, for short but exciting rides.  Sometimes we were lucky enough to lure a horse close enough to a fence to get on his back and get a bareback ride till he tired of us.  My brother still has a grudge in at me for jumping off as the horse headed into a stall, leaving him to be scraped off by the low roof.  It was a perfect way to grow up.

It pains me that today that house is about to fall down.

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Dear Carlos

Dear Carlos,

Upon hearing that I have been married for forty-seven years to a loving man, your friend asked if I had any advice for a young person considering marriage.  I have no special expertise or qualification for counseling, except forty-seven years’ experience in my own marriage, but I will share that with you.

  1. Respect is imperative. Take the time to see how he/she treats parents and siblings. If a person is not respectful to their family, take your cue from that. Definitely meet their family. That alone will answer a lot of questions about your possible future together. Remember, any children you have may be more like either of your family members than they are like either of you.
  2. Shared values. Discuss your values and expectations. Religion? How will you manage your money? Will you have children? Will you both work outside the home? How will you share responsibility? These factors end relationships every day.
  3. Don’t expect marriage to be 50/50. You will both have to give 100% to make it work. It took me a while to figure out my husband didn’t want to talk things out once a conflict was over. It’s okay to say, “Give me a little time. I am still mad.” It’s not okay to punish or be mean-spirited. Let go of your anger as soon as you can, then put it in the past.
  4. Loyalty. You have to put each other first. We have each other’s back. We trust each other, not wasting time on jealousy and games. We are together because we want to be, not because we have to be.
  5. Make sure the person you love will be your friend forever. You have to be comfortable together, not forever trying to meet their expectations.  You need to be able to laugh and cry together to get through the good times and the hard times.

Best of luck.

Linda