This is the first in a series of flashbacks of my life…..

The first house I remember growing up in is an old house – a really old house – like it was over 100 years old when I lived there 30 years ago old house.  The earliest records of the house my Mom could find in the property records began in 1880, although they aren’t sure if that was the completion date of the house being built or not.  It was both truly wonderful and horrible to live there as a child.

I remember stories my parents tell of the first year we lived there.  I was only about 5 at the time we moved in, so while I remember what they are talking about, I remember the stories about that first year more than the actual events.


My Grandma talked about how she wept with horror at her first sight of our new house: “What has my son gotten himself and his family into?”  The house had old, cloth covered electrical wiring – hardly standard safety features – even back in 1980.  Some of the light switches were knobs that you turned to click the power on and click off.  There were clay pipes for the plumbing.  There was no central a/c or heat – just 2 massive brick fireplaces and gas space heaters.  There was no insulation in the walls or attic.  There was a huge 2nd floor balcony that was so rotten; we weren’t allowed to play out there for fear of falling through the floor – never mind that the railing was probably only 36 inches high.  I remember all of this, not from day one of moving in, but in the years afterwards of my parents trying to renovate and remodel this Grand Old Lady of a house.

The house had an old, musty, boarded up smell.  The floors creaked and groaned whenever you took a step.  The hinges on all of the doors squeaked and screamed.  The window panes rattled in the wind.  And the entire house shuddered as massive freight trains rumbled by, only 2 blocks away, at all hours of the day and night.

The house wasn’t without its redeeming qualities – even now, I can see what drew my parents to this diamond in the rough….

It had a huge, original, beautiful, keyhole stained glass window on the front with other stained glass windows scattered throughout the house.  It had the old, iron, claw-footed tubs in both the downstairs and upstairs bathrooms.  It had a winding staircase with a richly carved and decorated banister.  It had 10 foot ceilings and rooms that were each closer to 20’x20’ than the standard 10’x10’ you see on houses these days.  All of the doors were wide enough to accommodate full crinoline hooped skirts and many of them were sliding pocket doors.

And apparently, the selling price was cheap enough for my parents to take a leap of faith and go for the gusto with their grand plans of purchasing this house.  It didn’t take long for my own parents to question their sanity in purchasing the house.  They tell the story of sitting down to rest after moving the last box in.

They said they were sitting there (me and Brother already in bed), with boxes piled up all around them, the house creaking, groaning and shuddering and realizing how incredibly horror-esque the whole scene was….  Never ones to back down from a challenge, they set up the TV and couch, found the rabbit ears, finally found reception for a channel or two and sat down to watch some TV before turning in for the night.  Until they realized what was showing on TV……

The Amityville Horror…..

That’s it!  Time for bed!!!

Stay tuned for my next installment……

By the way – I am currently out of the country on vacation and will reply to any and all comments when I return.  Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read these, I hope you enjoy this series.