Tuesday, January 21, 2014
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?