Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This Old Duplex

I've reached that point in the blogging where it's a bit of struggle to come up with stuff to write. Racking my brain for stories to tell, I've often reminded myself of the right side of this duplex on Wyandotte Ave. in Columbus, Ohio. This is the first home of my youth. I have a few faint memories of an apartment, and a house before this one, but nothing concrete. I've seen the pictures of the first two years of my existence in Georgia, but no memories. I don't even remember moving in to this duplex. I just remember being there.

It was nice cool old building with hardwood floors. It didn't have much of a yard, but it did have a sandbox and a cherry tree that I could reach from the back porch. My room was the attic at the top. I had the whole attic to myself. It was my domain. The only entrance was up the winding steps from the bathroom. It had one small window that you could see the city skyline from or launch Evel Knievel and his stunt cycle to thier death. It was the greatest bedroom any little boy could have.

Anyway, here are some of the remaining memories surrounding that duplex in my forgetful mind.

Our neighbor was an elderly lady named Margorie, I think. She often had some old guy visiting, I want to say his name was George. Every time we saw him he always made the same offer. "Would you like a rubber duck? What color would you like?" You might think "every time" would be an exageration, but he did ask every time. And every time he never had any rubber ducks. Never. In this day and age it would seem really creepy, but back then it was simply annoying. Why would he ask us for something he would never have? Why did he recieve joy out of this? Why did we consistently humor him?

One afternoon I went digging in our side yard with the dream of finding a fossil. To my suprise I actually found a human tooth. At first I thought perhaps I found a cavaman's tooth. I eventually came to my senses and realized that perhaps someone was murdered and once buried there. I kept digging and digging hoping to be able to find more teeth or maybe even a skull! I didn't find anything except my mother's anger for digging up her yard.

You know kids in the 70's you could trade in glass soda pop bottles for candy or baseball cards. There was many a weekend or summer day spent collecting bottles, taking them down to one of the stores and trading them for gobstoppers or baseball cards or Star Wars trading cards. Sure you can turn cans and bottles into recycling center and get cash these days. Back then there was no middle man. Those were good days when glass bottles could be used as currency. I found out much later that my Dad used to follow me each time to make sure I wasn't mugged.

There was time I learned that buttermilk was not the same as regular milk. Eating my cereal that morning I thought for sure I had poisoned myself on spoiled milk.

Making a shadow puppet of a dog on the wall, while singing "Hound Dog."

There were a couple kids that I played with on the block. The one constant kid lived next door in a hige white house. He was kind of an ass, and my parents didn't really like him. Heck, I didn't really like him. The thing was that his parents were one of the early adopters of HBO, so I made that sacrifice to see that old HBO opening with the cowboy hat and red shoe.

Only once did we ever have enough of a fear of a tornado that we actually holed up in the basement. Perhaps I should've been a little more frightened, but come on. We were camping in the basement. How cool is that?

I can't remember who gave it to us, but for a short time we had a stalk of sugar cane near the doorway to the kitchen. My parents would carve off a piece for our instant sugar rush. I was such a mild mannered kid, I guess they pumped sugar in me to see if I could ever become the crazy loud kid.

For a reason I can't remember I wanted to run away. I stuck a goodbye note in a metal tin on the dinner table. I walked about five blocks, came back, took the note out of the tin, and went upstairs to play with my Death Star.

Those are just a handful of a few. There's still the holidays celebrated there. The numerous dinners. The winter days helping Dad shovel snow. So on and so on. I think this house even beats the woods.


bobby said...

From age 8 to 12 I lived in a duplex that had been converted into a single (read: a wall was knocked down). I remember thinking how cool it was to live in a house with two bathrooms. (Pretty naive.) But for some reason, it didn't occur to me till much later how strange it was that my sister had a *front door* into her bedroom.

linz said...

This is not relevant to you post whatever, but I watched Goodness tonight and I loved it. So funny.

The Sound and the Fury said...

My early memories of HBO are of those huge silver letters floating through space with that creepy-assed "Final Countdown" sounding music.

I'd like to find a sound byte of that somewhere. Used to scare the shit out of me.