52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: #4 Home

I missed a few weeks of these due to the start of the new semester.

The house I grew up in was a third-floor apartment in a typical Boston style triple-decker. It was a long hallway with the parlor at one end and the kitchen and dining room at the other, with bedrooms off both sides of the long hallway. It was very noisy because you could hear what everyone else was doing, and it was near the airport so jets roared overhead all day long. I got pretty good at tuning things out.

It was too crowded. When I was small we had a parlor and a dining room and a playroom for all our toys, but as we got older and there were more of us, all the rooms were turned into bedrooms and we just had a kitchen and a dining room/living room as shared space. There was only one bathroom, so it was a challenge for everyone to get ready and get out to work in the morning. Things were always interfering or in the way: someone’s music was drowning out your TV, or someone’s project on the dining room table was interfering with dinner. At one point I was sharing a bedroom with both of my sisters. We each had a single bed and a couple of bureau drawers and a tall industrial-type metal shelf (spraypainted bright colors). All our stuff had to fit in that space if we wanted to keep it.

It was an old building with a neglectful landlord and things were always leaking or breaking. But it was affordable so we stayed and stayed and stayed. I even moved back in there for awhile when I ran out of money during grad school. I love living alone now because it feels so luxurious to have all my space to myself without interference. That probably sounds more antisocial than I really am — I do enjoy having houseguests and visiting other people! But I really love living alone.

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