“Write about a place you rented.” - An exercise from The Writer’s Retreat Kit
The two-bedroom, blue-gray, small house on the corner appealed to me instantly with its big backyard, wood floors and windows inviting the outdoors to come indoors. The garage door opener on the attached one-car garage was a bonus, being a single gal who came home after dark at times and during inclement weather. The rent was within my budget as I embarked on solo life again from a floundering marriage.
It was a house that would become a home of light and hope with ample room to share with my two cats Rocky and Zeke.
Zeke – She was a bit psycho but lovable
Rocky at Christmas 1986 on Chantilly Lane in Houston, TX
I can hardly believe it has been 26 years since the above photo was taken. I distinctly remember the scene as if it were yesterday. Out of curiosity, I looked up the address on the Internet and found that it was built in 1955 (no surprise there), that its estimated value is around $250k and the current rent would be three times what I paid 26 years ago.
I have such fond memories of this comfy home:
- The backyard was enclosed with a chain link fence; I enjoyed chatting over that fence with the elderly lady who lived next door. I still remember her saying to me, “You certainly are a worker, always out doing something!”
- I installed a screen door on the kitchen back door and planted a flowerbed just outside that door along the side of the house.
- The trees in the yard shed their leaves each Autumn, and hours were spent raking those leaves. Rocky helped . . .
Can you find the cat?
- The tree that shed these leaves was ideal for playing kitty hide-and-seek. Rocky and I enjoyed many sessions of this fun game together.
- This is where Rocky exhibited his guardian traits, running to the door and growling whenever anyone came calling.
- This is where I used a lawnmower for the first time, initially a bit scared of it but soon maneuvering it with skill and confidence; the same can be said of an electric edger. I tell ya, I kept my yards neat and tidy! It was good exercise and good therapy for the mind and spirit.
- My living room became filled with plants, some rescued from my workplace and others from a wee neighborhood nursery which provided plants for office buildings. Once deemed unattractive, they were sold at highly discounted prices. I once rescued a group of 12 for $10! They not only recuperated but flourished in my home.
- Although having central heating, my home was cooled in the hot Texas summers by two window air conditioners, one in the living room and one in my bedroom. The master bedroom was huge, with two walk-in closets. Pretty nifty for a 1950’s home.
- There was a big window over the kitchen sink allowing me to watch squirrels and birds while doing dishes. I knew then I would always want a window over my kitchen sink wherever I lived. (To this day, our RV has this feature.) The kitchen was painted yellow, giving a light and cheery feeling to the room.
- A very 1950’s bathroom, it was tiled in pink, black and white. There was a gas wall heater for chilly mornings. Did I mention cozy?
Although not sounding like an exceptional dwelling to you, it was the first house I rented on my own. I arranged, decorated and furnished to express me. Two authentic Danish chairs in my living room were quite a find at an estate sale, coming home with me for a price of $40 for the pair. Cats, comfy furniture, plants flourishing . . . it became my haven and refuge during the time of loss of a relationship and the healing and blossoming of my spirit that followed.
Acquired as a necessity due to an ending – the ending of my marriage – it became a place of beginnings, of “firsts.” The first time using a lawnmower, the first house I inhabited on my own, the first time I bought a car by myself, the first of many subsequent solo long road trips, the first time I nursed myself through an illness (strep throat with a fever that caused me to be somewhat delirious) and the first time to nurse my soul and spirit through a great emotional loss.
After almost two years, I decided the time to relocate had arrived. Desiring to reduce my work commute and increase the distance between myself and my “ex” (he lived not far away and we would occasionally see each other in the mall, etc.), I reluctantly said good-bye to my special wee home, grateful to it for providing safe haven during a bittersweet period of my life.
Thanks for stopping by!
I am a Warrior.
The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.