A is for...

is for... Avenue

When I was growing up I lived on an Avenue, 21st Ave. in Gary Indiana to be exact.
For 18 years of my life, before I went off to college, that yellow house with brown trim with the mulberry trees in the back was my home.
My parents bought that house in 1983 a year before I was born. It had three bedrooms and they filled it with six children (three boys and three girls.) Everyone had room to grow and life was great. Life was much better than the rat infested apartment they moved from.
Five years after they moved into the house they added three more daughters. Now there were 6 girls sleeping in one room and three boys in another.
It wasn’t until I was 16 that I finally got my own room. Though I had to forfeit it on holidays when my siblings came to visit bringing at least 20 of the 40 nieces and nephews I had.
There were so many family holidays celebrated in that house that were crowded. We could only invite just the immediate family. There was no room for cousins, aunts or uncles. There were also many knock out, drag out fights in that house as well.  My favorite was when my brothers fought over a game of Monopoly. I don’t think that we played Monopoly after that.
This house was special to us and my mother cherished it even after all nine of us had flown the nest and were making it on our own. My daddy didn’t care that we never said “Mom and Dad’s house” It was always “Momma’s house”.
Three years ago my mother died suddenly right before Mother’s Day 2010 and we all were devastated. We all gathered at her home talk about her and reminisce about the special moments we all shared with her. We all agreed we would try to have family reunions at “Momma’s house to keep us all together.
So, we were all sad when, after having the house in our family for 30 years, it was taken away from us. It was no longer our home. After my mother passed away we discovered the person who sold them the house sold it to them illegally. Apparently it wasn’t theirs to sell.
So with grief in our hearts we packed my dad up and said goodbye to the only house I had ever known. It still makes me sad to think about it.
It hurts not been able to go back home to see my mom in her kitchen cooking like she loved to do. No more family holidays in that house. My fear is without that house it makes it more difficult for our family to unify again.
My mother and that house was the glue that held us together.
With them both gone, what is going hold us together now?


  1. Donnee,
    What an emotional post. The home brought such fun memories and then such grief.
    I hope your family makes a new tradition of getting together for special occasions at a new location. A location that will bring fresh new memories to your family and future family members.

  2. Donnee, what wonderful memories you have of your growing up years in that house. I can imagine it's the same for each of your siblings. Those kinds of memories make it hard to stay away from each other. I'll bet someone will step up and organize a reunion, and you'll all be together again, basking in those treasured family memories.
    Thank you.

  3. I hated the day I found out my parents sold my first house. I felt as though that was my only real house as it was the longest I have stayed at, and it was where my first memories were made. This is going to sound weird, but I still occasionally drive by the old house when I'm visiting friends in my old town, Hanford, and reminisce about all of the good times I had in that place.

  4. Thank you for sharing your personal stories. My initial reaction to your story is amazement at the positivity you convey; no self-pity such as I might indulge in. I do definitely relate to the sentimental connection to one's childhood home, regardless. I was the youngest of five children. Years of family strife, divorce, etc still does not diminish the emotional pangs I feel whenever I slip by the old homestead in South San Francisco. It had fallen into disrepair, but it was the only home I'd ever known until my mother had to give it up.The years do not assuage the hurt I felt when I came home from college for my first holiday only to be faced with the shock of a "for sale" on our front lawn. The bitterness I felt when I discovered my older brother's financial idiocy had ruined the family business and rendered my mother and I homeless remains to this day.

  5. I moved around a lot growing up, even though it was all int he same city, I never really got to feel the love of a single home. I remember hear you talk about the loss of your house and mother at the last WoK meeting, all the condolences in the world to you and your family. I hope the kids are doing well.

  6. I am amazed at your courage in sharing such a personal and touching story. I will raise my hand as someone who still drives by my childhood home. To this day, when I think of home, I think of that house, that kitchen. Lovely post.


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