April 30, 2009

My House is Me and I am It...

"My house is me and I am it.  My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams."  

Famous words from Mr Plumbean.  He lived on a very neat street until a big orange splot was dropped on his roof by a seagull, (no one knows why), and this event set him in motion to create the home of his dreams.  And then all his neighbors did the same.  It's a great story!

This is a favorite of ours by Daniel Pinkwater.  I have been reading it for years.  The house we are currently in (since being married to T we are on home number 8, but who's counting) has a lot of personality.  We nicked named it the 'personality house' when we were back in the looking stage.  There was also an Elvis house, a teenagers in the basement house, cat under the covers house, and so on and so forth.  We went with the 40 yr old sturdy personality house with a great yard.  It looked like all our dreams.  We hope to be here for the next 6-8yrs.  Come visit!

People seem to judge you by the house you live in.  I was recently chatting with an old acquaintance on facebook and she said she remembered me during my youth by my laugh and my big house.  Nice of her to share that with me ; ) We did have a big house indeed, but please don't think I was spoiled.  Our house size was a direct reflection of our family size.  When my parents married they combined 2 families to make 9 children.  Then they made 4 more of their own (I'm the first one of that 4).  We each had our own bedrooms. Something my parents thought was important in a large family.  So with bedrooms alone we had a big house.  One thing that bothered me though was when classmates from school would ask where my house was and when I told them, they'd say-"Oh... You live on snob hill."  Seems the further up the hill you lived, the snobbier you were.  The 'Tree street' residents were considered beneath us 'snob hillers.' But not by me.  I preferred them to my neighbors actually.  I recall feeling kinda snubbed by people on the hill (go figure!?).  Even my Young Women's leader was a bit stand-offish.  

I recently read a blog post by a pretty famous blogger who shall go un-named.  I knew their family growing up.  A very nice family.  Since they were from lower ground I figured they were probably having a hard time paying for school lunch and stuff.  Imagine my surprise when she told of the Christmas presents they were accustomed to receiving as children.  Four wheelers and baby grand pianos (?!).  Santa was much more generous to those tree streeters then he was to us living on 1550 East!  What a misperception!!  My plastic blow up barbie furniture was looking pretty sorry in retrospect.   Then there was the girl who was never caught wearing the same thing twice and lived in a mansion, yet their family filed for bankruptcy.  You just never know.

The last house my current family lived in was in Iowa.  It was while my husband was doing a fellowship at the University of Iowa and it was pretty nice.  The neighborhood was nice! (snob field so to speak-no hills there). We were just renting it for a year though since we weren't going to be there for long.  We had no right to brag.  Still, the rich perception was there.  I will never forget the reaction of a young married student-wife when she first visited me in my home.  She went ga ga and goo goo, and verbalized just how much she liked my house.  I reminded her that it was a rental.  I could almost see the dollar signs in her eyes and her hopes for the future since her husband was in law school after all.  I wondered if I was the same as her when I had been in her shoes 8 years earlier.  I was a bit embarrassed for myself.  

One of my kids really misses that neighborhood and speaks of it often.  It could be because he had his own room then, but I think there's more to it.  There's nothing wrong with our current neighborhood, but it's not snob hill/field by any means.  And we like it that way.  It fits us.  This Middle Boy has high aspirations in life.  Has to look just so, is always seeking the next big thing he can buy to make him happy, etc.  How do I instill in him the truth of where happiness lies?  Keeping up with appearances is just a big hassle!  Perhaps if I repeat this to him enough it will sink in.  Maybe I will just give up and count on him to support me in my old age.  If I ever do move in with him in his rich neighborhood someday, my plan is to spread dandelion seeds all over the neighbor's lawn!


Kristina P. said...

Maybe they are able to splurge because they aren't spending so much money on a house!

I totally agree that looks can be deceiving. Look at how many large homes are being foreclosed on.

Kelly said...

That is a very good point KP

LaRae said...

Thanks so much for your post. I too was raised in a big house, and was referred to as the rich girl, but in reality we had a lot of money problems. You can't tell the inside from the outside! I also hope my children will understand that happiness does not lie in having or buying things!

Dallas said...

You write the most clever and greatest blog post. I really enjoy reading about what is on your mind. I agree completly with what you have to say about homes. You put it so great. Anyway, I am glad you have kept up on blogging sense your hubby came home. Keep up the great work!

Bee and Rose said...

Another fabulous post, Kelly!

We love our older home in our established neighborhood. We have four acres, privacy and a fantastic well built brick home with large rooms. We love it!

We name our houses too! This one is called "the ranch" or Casa Milagros. Our first house together was called the "Crack House" because the stucco was always cracking! People thought we did that because we must live in a bad part of town. lol!

literaqueen said...

Knowing the neighborhood of your Iowa rental quite well (and I love that house, too, and am sad it's now been flooded twice), I have to say it's a terrific neighborhood because of the people in it.

Anecdote on a certain child from that house a few years ago (who will remain unnamed but was, oh, about five at the time): I was babysitting while parents were househunting in a large Midwestern city. Said child and I went on a walk around the neighborhood. We passed a GINORMOUS house that was for sale. Child looked at me (note that I was just finished with dissertation at this point, in huge student loan debt and getting ready to move out of state to an academic job) and said, "Why don't you buy this house and stay here?" My response: "Honey, I can't afford it." Her response: "Well then get a job!" Yeah, perspective.