27 February 2013
The Home Where I Grew Up
Situated in front of a dirt road, across from and empty lot that had a river running by it, was my childhood home. I grew up in this home alongside my mother, four sisters, and two brothers. I can remember every corner of the house as if it was yesterday that I lived there. The house is located in Michoacán Mexico, in a small town in the mountains called Coalcoman. The town was so small that everyone knew each other. It was a colorful town with dirt roads and bright colored houses. Most of the houses were made of brick and cement just like my home. At the end or the road that led out of the town in to the deep bush in the mountains was my house. Because the road also led directly in to the town, it was busy with people walking, riding their bikes and burros, and an old car now and then. As soon as you turned in to my street, your eyes would be immediately swayed towards my house, not because it was beautiful but because of the huge metal door that opened in to what I consider the living room, this was the main entrance. The door was the color of rust, it had beautiful designs made of twisted metal. It looked like a door that you would find at the entrance of an old cemetery or an old style mansion. The house was built on a high platform because when the rainy season started, the river next to the empty lot overflowed in to the roads and took everything on its path. A cement ramp was built right in front of the door, used to drive a car in to the house and momentarily convert the living room in to a garage. The house was built with brick and cement, it had four bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and, a back yard. It was painted white and looked as if it was unfinished like many houses looked in town. On the outside of the house, there was a young lemon tree that yellowed with fruit and gave away a sweet aroma. Next to the tree there were some flower pots and wood that we used to fuel a mud and brick stove that we built in the back yard to use when we ran out of gas. Large cracks ran from corner to corner on the uneven walls of the house. Next to the big door was a door that led in to one of the bedrooms, this room was converted in to a small store, we sold canned and dry food and drinks, an unpainted wooden counter greeted the customers. Our small store always smelled as if you were walking in to a bakery because of the freshly made bread delivered every morning by the town’s baker. Across from the store was my bedroom which I shared with all of my sisters and mother. We all slept on a king-size bed even though there were two other queen beds in the bedroom. An old wooden armoire was used as a TV stand, the small TV was only one square foot, it was hard to see but we lived with it because we were not aware that there was any better. On the wall that connected to the boys bedroom was a huge square shaped hole were a window was missing, this was used by all my siblings as a short cut in to each other’s bedrooms. We often got in trouble for jumping over the window. The fourth room was always kept locked, it was used as a guest room. We never bothered with it because it appeared to be haunted, we often heard chatter and laughter coming from this room, and it was reason enough to keep away. To this day I still wander if what took place there was real. The living room was empty, there was no furniture, we often used the red tile floor to slide around in soapy water when we were supposed to be mopping. It was like our personal skating ring. The kitchen opened in to the living room, by the kitchen, there was a huge metal and glass table that seated twelve people. I used to think it was unnecessary because there were only eight of us, but now I know that we had a big table because my mother wanted to have a place for visitors to seat and dine with us. The unattached counters in the kitchen were made of wood, and were usually empty with nothing but a ceramic jug of water to be seen. On the old white gas stove, you could always find freshly cooked beans, which were a staple at my house. In front of the kitchen is what you can call a sink, we called it a lavadero which means washer. The sink was a cement slab with a small cement pool built next to it, were we collected water to wash our clothes and dishes. The bathroom was next to the sink, it had blue tile throughout, there was only a toilet on one corner and a shower head that delivered little water and got the whole bathroom wet when used. The living room and the sink marked the end of the living space and the beginning of the back yard. There was no door to the back yard, the living room was connected to it and from there we could enjoy the blue sky while washing dishes, on the down side, when it rained we had a lot of mopping to do. A tall brick wall surrounded the back yard giving it the feeling of being outside while still inside. We often used the back yard as our second kitchen, we used to eat there when we ran out of gas, using wooden slabs as a table and metal cans for chairs. My mom would cook us dinner in the mud stove we built with our own hands, the stove still stands to this day. The memories of this house and the time I spent there with my siblings are one of the greatest memories I have of my childhood. Growing up in this small town, in this house, allowed to me have a sense of freedom. Since I grew up without the craze of electronics and toys, and even experienced hunger, I was able to grow up in to an individual that appreciates life and the little things that most people think of as miniscule. I can positively say that growing up in this house shaped me in to the person I’m today.