This Friday the Golfer and I will have been married for 16 years. For a big bulk of those years, our lives were slightly unsettled due to my husband’s career change which moved us to the west coast. In our married lives we have lived in six homes (two of those homes being condos, but we will call them homes just to make things easier.) Some of these homes have been good, a couple I loved, and a couple I hated. They are all a part of our story.
One of my best childhood friends, Kim, did a really cool thing over on her blog a while back. She spent a few posts sharing the homes that she and her husband had lived in and what their lives were like in each home. I loved reading these posts. Even though I knew the homes and the stories, I loved reading her perspective on how their lives and their marriage has progressed through each move. A few days ago I started reading the book Love the Home you Have by Melissa Michaels and she does something similar in her book talking about her homes and what she learned from each.
So now it’s my turn.
But instead of starting with the Golfer and I’s first home, I’ve decided to start with MY very first home. I loved my little house on Pickard Street and it is certainly part of my story that shouldn’t be left out.
My very first home that was all mine was a fabulous blank canvas that I took great pride in decorating all by my 23-year-old self. I was young but I knew what I wanted. The entire house was white, inside and out. Like I said, a blank canvas. (The pic above is an “after” photo.)
At the time I stumbled on the Pickard house, I was a recent college graduate living in a one-bedroom apartment across town. The Golfer and I were in a season of breaking up, getting back together again, then breaking up again. I had finally gotten a job teaching making a pitiful little salary. I found the Pickard house on a drive by. It was a Sunday Open House and by that evening the house was mine. (Technically, the house was my father’s. I was a first-year teacher and had no money. My dad graciously rented the house to me, all responsibilities for the house being mine.) Renting vs. owning aside, as far as I was concerned the house was mine to do with what I wished. And so I did.
My little Pickard house was simple. There were wood floors throughout, the living room and dining room I painted a buttercream yellow, my bedroom was a light mint green. I had a guest room and an office and one tiny bathroom. There were built-in china cabinets in the little dining room and after a while of living there, I got a wild hair to paint the inside of the cabinets a fun color. I had leftover mint green paint from my bedroom, so I used that inside of taking the time and money to buy more paint. It wasn’t the cutest, but my great grandmother’s Desert Rose dishes really did pop against that green.
The decor was sparse and a little mismatched, most coming from local antique stores, garage sales, and my mother’s hand-me-downs. On the outside, I put up black shutters, planted impatiens in the flower bed and put an Adirondack bench on the front porch that I actually sat in from time to time. The kitchen was small and had no dishwasher. All that took was saying something to my grandfather about how I was going to have to learn to wash dishes and, wouldn’t you know it, a few days later a dishwasher was delivered to my front door. Those grandfathers have a soft spot for us granddaughters, don’t they?
I was proud of that little home. I hosted a baby shower there for my step-sister (that baby, my nephew, and godson, is graduating from high school this year) and a wedding shower for Kim. I decorated my first Christmas tree there and graded papers there. I didn’t care that my refrigerator was the color of poop brown or that there was a huge hole in my lower kitchen cabinets after installing the dishwasher (both of which would totally drive me to drink today.) I earned my Master’s degree in this house and got engaged in this house. I was only in my Pickard house for three years, but those are three years that I am grateful for. I lived alone, had to take care of things myself, which I now see was great practice for the life I have now.
I try not to drive by my Pickard house when I’m back home in Norman. It’s too upsetting. The last time I saw it the yard was overgrown and they had painted the outside a horrible tan color and my black shutters were a weird shade of blueish purple. And of course, all I can think is, why did they do that to my house?
Because in my heart, the Pickard house will always be mine.