Monday, June 02, 2008

Childhood Home

21 S Monroe.


As you may have guessed by my very descriptive title, this is the very house that I spent 13 glorious years, and where my parents currently reside in Troy, OH. Much has changed since we moved into this house all those years ago and I wanted to scan some before shots and post them as well, but I ran out of time... Maybe I will do that some other time, as the transformation is amazing.

The house is old. Real, real old. When we moved in, it only had 2 fuses, that blew constantly. You couldn't run the heater in the bathroom and turn on the curling iron. The landscaping was AWFUL, and we dealt with more overgrowth, weeds, poison ivy, and out of control bushes than you can imagine. But that was hardly something my parents had to think about when they moved in. When the house was bought, the bathroom was the first to be remodeled. I was looking at a picture, and guys... this bathroom. Well, it's no wonder my mom insisted that it be finished before we moved in. It had a claw foot bath tub and toilet with a window over it. When we moved in, the kitchen and "dining room" were two separate areas, but the kitchen was opened up to the bathroom. We have a picture celebrating my brother's birthday and though we sat at the kitchen table (the dining room was full of evidence of the demolition going on in our house: a torn down wall, ladders, a weird book shelf we were using to store food because we didn't have cupboards, tools, plastic to try to keep the dust in control, etc.) the bathroom door was open and there is a toilet in the picture staring right at us. My mom and I had a pretty good giggle over that.

The house was initially a 3 bedroom house. The "master" bedroom connected to the bathroom through a door that has not been removed completely to accommodate a laundry room, but in those days, my parents built a wall to cut off the great room that was across from the "master" and turned that into their room. The old master turned into a baby's room, office, another baby's room, the office, then my room, and now houses the washer and dryer (that sat in our kitchen for YEARS) and my brother. He likes to tell people that he lives in the laundry room, and it will probably be an emotional scar he bears for years to come. I look forward to it. (One day it will be a story similar to the Shiny Blue Mumu for Halloween, that will bring my mom to tears every time we tell it.) Speaking of walls being built, my dad built a wall across from the bathroom to give it more privacy.

We spent years with UGLY pink carpet that was somebody's leftovers when they carpeted the house. The linoleum in the bathroom was also extra from someone. The rest of the house had wood floors, and I wish we would have kept those...but they were covered in hunter green carpet that was popular in the 90s. The whole house was also covered in layers and layers of wallpaper. When we sanded the trim the dust was TOXIC. Basically, the house on the inside is unrecognizable to what we moved in to.

The back of the house has changed traumatically as well. As you see in the picture, there are two doors that lead to the outside. The one on the left used to be a window in the "dining room" (where my dad tore down a wall and place counter-space and cupboards) and the other door lead out to a large carriage house. Yes, a carriage house. The hitch post was even still there when we moved in. My dad built a make-shift wall in the middle of the carriage house and one of the large, swinging doors lead to a storage space that wasn't insulated. The door walked out into the other portion of the carriage house where we stored the horses, I mean, we actually put our washer and dryer there. In the winter my mom had to leave a space heater running and "tuck them into bed" so the water pipes didn't freeze. She usually did this before she tucked us children to bed. Once the carriage house was torn down (we helped with that!) there was nothing but a pile of rubble for a while. There was talk of building a laundry room/play room but that would cost too much. We put siding up (the old shingles were disgusting!) and opted for a deck. Now, my dad had built a deck outside the back door (the one that used to be a window) years and years ago...and we decided to extend it, and add railings and stairs. I helped build the deck that turned out to be amazing.

After all that has been done on the house, the one thing that has NOT changed (with the exception of getting a new furnace and a bigger fuse box) is the basement. It still is dirty, and smells the same. And it gets creepier the older I get. I swear the stairs get steeper too.

Yes, that is a dirt floor. And that is the step/ledge we sat on during a tornado watch one night. Amy and I tried to pretend like we were really terrified, and we brought stuffed animals down with us, ones that we needed to "save" and really, they weren't very important. My parents had to carry us from the bottom of the steps to the ledge because that bottom part was flooded well past their ankles.

Also, to be noted - the debris that you are looking at in the top of the picture is a pile of dirt that was directly under a secret passageway/stowaway in our "dining room." It had a cellar like door that could be opened and I think I was told that it was used as a sort of refrigerator at one point, because the cellar was able to keep things cool. We found stacks of newspapers of insignificance (at least, I couldn't convince my parents that the rotting old newspapers of the past were significant) and they were disposed of. I don't even know what the dates were - if they were older than the 1980s, I'm really upset we threw them away.

There are a few things to note in this picture. #1 - the newer beam that is cut out of the right side of the picture is a support beam, that I am pretty sure is being sustained by the piles of dirt, rocks, and debris that is surrounding it. It is also the support beam that was directly under my bedroom/laundry room/Bradley's room (or whatever it was at the time). Now, I've always thought that maybe if we could clear out the piles of dirt, rocks, etc. then maybe we would find something worth money. Perhaps buried treasure. Since I am also fairly convinced that the house could collapse if we decided to dig, we have not done so. #2 - It is pitch dark in this area because the single light bulb, dangling from the ceiling like in an old torture chamber of some foreign film, burnt out and you can't see anything to change it. At least, I wouldn't go trying to change it in the pitch black. There are all kinds of spiders and creepy things down there! #3 - The stone wall that you see in there is the Coal Pit. It is where they used to shovel coal into the house so people could feed their furnace. The coal shaft/door is now used whenever my brother is locked out of the house. He kicks it in, finds his way through the darkness, and then kicks in the door that is at the top of the treacherous stairs.

I LOVE this old house. We have modernized it for our own purposes, and of course, had I been in charge, I would have done things differently. Very differently. But, I enjoyed growing up here and it's central location made it very easy for us to run around town as though we owned it. We could get near to anywhere on foot or by bike. We walked across the street to the library, weren't far from the levy, the Square, the pool, the park, the school, to our friends' houses, and back again. The Strawberry Festival parade would always bring people from church to our house in order sit on our porch and use our bathroom. Living across the street from Dunaway's (the Irish pub) always made for a good laugh whenever a drunk would come and attempt to ride his bicycle home.

Even though it is small - four bedrooms and one bathroom is hardly enough space to fit seven people - it was comfortable. We even fit my uncle's family in for a time - 13 people in that house! Can you imagine? It was fun, let me tell you. I still don't know how we did it.


  1. I am assuming this is your childhood home, the home you grew up in, but don't know for sure because you promised an explanation and so far, you've broken that promise. I hope you are enjoying home! Are you still there?

  2. Yeah, hurry up with the explination already.

  3. Okay, that was a fun tour of your home! I want to see before and after shots though, to really get a feel for it. And I CANNOT believe you stuck 13 people there; I refuse. I think you're lying and if you're not, I am even more upset. But wow! It's so fun to see where people grew up!!

  4. Haha. during that tornado i think me and dad spent most of it upstairs looking for "Brownie" b/c it was lost and i refused to go down there without him!


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