Good-Bye to Our Family Home

June13

One day last September, our Mom took ill and had to make a visit to the hospital.  Little did we or she know that she would never return to the home where she had lived for 58 years.  At the onset of her illness, we were so focused upon ensuring that she got better, I for one never really thought about the house. Mom isn’t completely settled into a new place yet.  She went from the Concordia Hospital to Deer Lodge and is now at the Misrecordia Hospital waiting for a space to come open for her at Concordia Place.  But it was apparent, pretty much from the start, that Mom wouldn’t be able to return to her home.  So we’ve been busy over this past winter and spring getting the house ready to sell to another family.  Possession date is July 1 and we have been taking turns spit polishing it up for the new family.  This past week, I tackled washing the windows and had what might have been my final walk through.

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This is the bathroom that 8 of us shared when my 5 siblings and my parents all lived together at the house.  This sometimes meant drawing the shower curtain if you were in the bathtub, so that someone else could use the toilet.  My fondest memory was of perching on the toilet to watch my Daddy shave in the morning.  He was a careful shaver and loved the ritual, mixing up a warm lather with his real horse hair brush and shaving so close that his skin looked blue to me.  I can recreate the feel of his wiskerless face against my cheek now, even though he has been in heaven for 17 years.

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This was the room that my two oldest brothers shared until a new bedroom was built for them in the basement.  They had two single beds that each straddled a wall.  On Saturday mornings, my twin brother and sister and I used to wake them up and then climb under the covers with them.  We would have pirate ship fights with them and toss all our stuffed animals back and forth and take hostages of each other.  After the boys were moved into their new room downstairs, this became my very own room-quite a feat with 8 people living in a 4 bedroom house.  Perhaps this is the reason why my family always teases me that I was spoiled.  I will admit it, I felt spoiled (and deeply loved).  Somehow my Mom and Dad found ways to make us all feel this way.

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This is the hallway from the bedrooms to the kitchen and living room.  Before I had my own room, the twins and I all slept together in a double bed.  I don’t remember there being an issue with space, but I do recall how it was so hard to fall asleep sometimes with two little monkeys in the bed with me.  We would giggle and have so much fun, until…….we would hear my Dad’s feet hit the hallway floor coming towards our room to tell us to hush up and go to sleep.  As soon as we heard that first foot fall, we would suppress our giggles and pretend we were sleeping, but we weren’t fooling our Dad.

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For many years the only TV in the house was in the living room and I remember watching Bugs Bunny cartoons at lunch time and Bonanza and the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights.  I also recall “reserving” the TV to tune into my favourites of the Paddy Duke Show and then the Flying Nun.  Christmas morning was so exciting in this room with heaps of presents everywhere and Christmas cards hung on strings adorning the walls.

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Neil Campbell School was a half block down this back lane and from grade one on, we all made the trek on our own.  I remember being instructed to run as fast as I could (for me that was never fast at all-bottom heavy, you know) down this lane during the Bay of Pigs crisis. It seemed like only days later that we saw the announcement on TV of the assassination of President Kennedy while home for lunch hour.  A day or so after that our naughty dog Pepita, who liked to chase cars, was run over by a truck in front of our house while I was across the street borrowing a cup of sugar at the Dyer’s.  So there was sadness too.

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And last but not least, this was the kitchen, the heart and soul of our home.  Mom always had a pot of soup or stew on the go and I learned how to make cinnamon buns and pinch perogy edges, standing at the kitchen table.  Sometimes dinner was pancakes or spaghetti with tomato soup poured on top.  Other times though, supper was steaks pan-fried in butter, thick and juicy pork chops and more corn on the cob than you can dream of eating.  Mom would spend all day making doughnuts to feed the paper boys of the neighbourhood because the bin where they collected their papers had been placed on our back drive.  My Dad loved to cook too and made amazing baked ham and pizza with “thin crust” before anyone ever thought about thin crust pizza.

If the walls could talk, they would speak of constant cooking and consuming, TV shows and record playing, people coming and going after school and hockey games and drumming gigs and theatre school, of reading books and naps on the couch and my Dad who always watched TV by lying right in front of it on the floor.  The walls soaked up all of our giggles and laughter but also the tears of heart-breaking sorrows and losses.  It was a good house.  It was our house.

Kath’s quote:  “Love grows in small spaces”.  Quoted from some country song I heard long ago.

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Love that is all.

 


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3 Comments to

“Good-Bye to Our Family Home”

  1. Avatar June 18th, 2014 at 8:56 am Marilyn Thorlakson Says:

    The walls of this house provided physical shelter, but the people within are the true treasure and the memories will remain among the family members forever. May the new owners have as remarkable history as your family has cherished.


  2. Avatar June 18th, 2014 at 9:18 am Kathryne Says:

    Welcome here Marilyn. I remember everything about your Dominion St. house.


  3. Avatar June 5th, 2015 at 8:36 am Today I am 60-Part 1 | Winnipeg food blog Says:

    […] From birth to age 10, I lived in two houses with my Mom, Dad and two adoring older brothers. One was on the 300 block of Linden Ave. which I have no memory of at all. The other was two blocks to the east in a neighbourhood where homes were being built for the growing families of post-war. Ours was very much like the rest of the houses on the street: practical and well-built without evidence of lavishness or luxury. The house on Linden remained our home until this time last year when we emptied and spruced it up for a new family. I wrote a blog post entitled Good-Bye to Our Family Home. […]


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