A New House

March 23, 2020

We moved a few times because my parents were renters.  It didn't bother me too much because home, for me, was Grandma's and Grandpa's.

My dad graduated and got a job teaching at a new high school -- Highland High.  They also bought their first house at 249 Teal Avenue.  It was close to dad's new job and not far from where mom taught.  (She taught at Hawthorn Junior High.)

The house was one of three brick homes.  It was the center one.  On the left was a red brick home with a couple who had two girls.  On the right, a yellow brick home with a childless couple.  In front of our house a big barley field owned by the church.  There was nothing else in the immediate block, but across Hess Road was a drive-in movie theater -- the Thunderbird Drive-In.

The house had 2 small bedrooms upstairs and an unfinished basement.  Mom and Dad would take the bigger bedroom, and the smaller one would be for the baby.  Dad created a room downstairs for me.

We moved in while the construction workers were still working on the house.  For a little boy, it was fun to watch them use their powerful saws and put up the studs.

There were 4 rooms in the basement.  The largest, was going to be a game room with a ping pong table.  The next one was my bedroom, followed by my Dad's library, and finally, the laundry room.

One day I was in the laundry room and there was a big black extension cord on the floor.  It must have had a break in the insulation.  I grabbed it to pick it up and felt a sensation, the likes of which cause my entire body to lockup.  I couldn't let go and I remember the sound coming from my mouth.

"Ah-ah-ah-ah," was all the sound I could get out in a stuttering cry.

My mom must have heard me and rushed downstairs and started to cry and call for my dad.  He came down stairs and seeing me being electrocuted, yanked the other end of the cord from the socket.

The cord had to be pried from my hands, and I just sobbed so much I shook from head to toe.  Mom just cradled me in her arms hugging me tight and telling me how I could have been killed.

I didn't understand how the construction workers could touch the cord and not get shocked.  I never got shocked touching the vacuum cleaner cord, why this one?

The next time the construction workers were at the house I remember my dad chewing the guy out for (1) leaving it plugged in, and (2) not replacing it.  He then showed the guy the bare wires coming through two layers of insulation - the outer black rubber layer, and the inner red wire.  (I remember seeing a red and white wire under the black as he bent it open.)

It was the shock of my life.   Literally.

The Yard

The yard was small, and dad wanted to fence in the back yard.  So he built a cedar dog-eared fence and painted it with linseed oil.  The neighbor to the right made fun of him for oiling the fence, but dad was convinced this fence would last longer if he oiled it.

All around the house were galvanized window wells with yellow-white gravel in the bottom.  The rocks were about the same color as the house.

To the left of the driveway, Dad planted a Ponderosa Pine.  He would comment that one day it would be taller than the houses.  (He was right.  When we went back for a visit years later the tree was HUGE.)

He bought a swing set for the back yard.  That was exciting because all the parks Grandma's neighborhood had swing sets and there were no parks around our new house.

It was a new house and a new era in our family.

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