Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Place

 wedding
Newly Wed

Last night we were over at my parent's house watching old home movies. We watched some classics and then came upon a forgotten video...the first place that really felt like home for newly wed Eric and I. We'd each had our own places before marriage and then one micro apartment right after we were married (seriously, 400sqft folks), but this place, 808 1/2 W. Sussex, was our first real place.

The apartment was a two bedroom in the basement of a converted house, a 4plex. The linoleum floors were old and discolored. The carpet was a swirl of vomit colors that included: browns, red, off white, hints of purple and blue. We had to disconnect the fire alarm each time we cooked. We had washer and dryer hookups so we bought our first set at Goodwill for about $30, they mostly worked. For the first year we lived there an older woman named Eloise (she pronounced it EEE-Loys) lived above us. She regularly flooded various parts of her home which then rained down onto us. Next door there was another older woman who was a bit of a nudist, also a bit senile I suspect. Eventually two developmentally disabled women moved in above us and they were friendly,a  bit loud, and they threw their cat litter into my small "garden" space.

Watching the video Eric and I were aghast (not really) at our decorating style. We had none. We didn't know about mid century design. Heck we didn't really know about design at all. Not to mention that we were beyond broke at that time. We couldn't afford to collect real art. So our walls had prints and posters. Our furniture left much to be desired. We had a pair of thrifted easy chairs in the living room, no couch.  A bed that had been rejected from a hotel, it was so uncomfortable, my back aches just thinking about it. Our kitchen had a thrifted table and some mismatched chairs. Our gigantic computer sat on top of a laminate computer desk. Our wall of CDs (remember those) held a place of honor.

Yet, there were still touches of us in there. Plants lurked near every window, sitting in some not so cute Marjoliene Bastien pots that I had gotten for free (because of some chips) from my work at Hallmark. There was art on the easel. There were musical instruments. A rehabbed coffee table was prominently featured. Our phone and answering machine (remember those) sat on top of a revamped thrifted console table, painted a mint green. I had made curtains for each room. There we were, just young and beyond poor. We were in college and we were in love.

We laughed about that house. Only we will ever really know how much that house meant to us. How much we went through. How poor we were. How much we laughed. How much we grew up in that hideous subterranean apartment.

What was your first place like?

6 comments:

Sarah and Josh said...

Great post today! You've got me thinking back to our first married apartment. Perhaps next week I'll share...

On my way Home... said...

Oh man. Our place was an old beautiful home that had been sadly renovated into 6 apartment complexes. Smells of pot and cigarette smoke were frequent. Noises of fights and make-up sex were frequent. We had our own flood. The attic apartment had a broken pipe... which ruined 5 of 6 apartments in some way. But it was home. First 3 yrs. It allowed us to collect vehicles with the big parking lot (including a full size bus) :) And the most important thing- we were able to get out of debt and save.
We had great windows, lots of sun. 1 bedroom, a dining area, and living area, kitchen, bath, and 2 small closets. But we had a front door and a back door. It had a wonderful clothes line outside.
All our furniture was hand-me-downs or makeshift. We had no couch, no real bed. The stairs was too narrow to get a couch up to the second story apartment we were in. So built one out of cinder block, wood, foam and pillows. Our bed likewise. It worked. Some of it we still use. Actually cinder blocks and boards were our book shelves too.
My kitchen was so narrow I could reach everything standing in one place.
We had fish.
The apartment was in a great location- 2 blocks away from the bank, post office, library and grocery store. We rode our bikes a lot.

affectioknit said...

That was such a cute and fun post! Our first place was in an old mansion that had been converted into apartments...The Man was still in school so it was close to the university...and across the street was a lovely park where in summer they put on Shakespeare plays for the public for free...The Montford Park Players...it was a tiny furnished one bedroom apartment...but we had a lot of fun there...thanks for reminding me to remember it...

~Have a lovely day!

elizabeth said...

we started in a 4plex also.
with a little old lady next door who smoked like a chimney. her name was darellyn. i rode the bus to my job. ben drove our one vehicle. we started to figure out who we were going to be. we spent a lot of time by the Big Lake. we saved quarters during the week for ice cream on saturday evenings. then there was a robbery at the gas station a block away. and a shooting another block away. we thought we should move to a different location . . .

Marie Roxanne said...

418 38682242My place was in a basement of an apartment building, it was cheap because it was illegal. It was supposed to be lockers but the landlord converted them into "bachelor" apartments. Our bathroom was just awful. It had a toilet and shower stall (so think of a closet space... and put a toilet and shower in a closet side by side...) The "bedroom" had the bed, that's all that could fit. The kitchen was another "closet" space so basically no cupboards. Living room was "decent" we had a couch and room to walk around it!

Victoria said...

My first apartment with Sean's father was the top floor of an old Victorian home in Daytona Beach, Florida. Of course we were no where near the beach! In fact we were 300 ft from a train track and the intersection of a street..ding...ding...ding!! It was furnished...I remember the old grey sofa with the boucle upholstery, ugh. We had a cute bathroom though, with a claw foot tub. I totally decorated it and it was my first foray into home improvement...the beginning of a lifelong love. At night, we could hear roaches in our kitchen (hey, it is Florida!)We would joke about them playing basketball with the tin foil. When we realized that the previous tenant...in expressing his anger at the landlord, had poured honey down the baseboards to attract..ugh, roaches..we moved...to a very cute place by the beach of course.

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