I grew up on a typical street in the 1960s in Brooklyn, NY. I lived in the same 2 bedroom house for my entire childhood until I left for college. The small, but uncluttered house was home to my parents, my little sister and myself. Once you walked up the 7 brick stairs, you immediately stepped into an eat in kitchen with yellow, orange and black plaid wall paper. There were 4 vinyl brown swivel kitchen chairs, surrounding a round walnut table. Underneath the table, was our toy apricot poodle, who waited patiently there so that she could get fed scraps of meals from my father, as he had a soft spot for this dog.
Next to our kitchen was the living room, with green shag carpet and a green plush velvet couch, covered in plastic. There were 2 high back velvet flowered print chairs across from the couch and in between there was an oblong marble table. The piano, which I played (but not very well), was on the far end of the living room, flanked by 2 candelabras. Above the piano was a beautiful oil painting, done by my favorite uncle, who was a Canadian Artist. The sheer white curtains, barely shielded the room from the intense sunlight, that would stream in and discolor the carpet and the couch. The view was onto one of the most pleasant streets any child could hope to grow up on.
The pick and black tiled bathroom was an eyesore, with black and white square floor tiles and pink fixtures. One bathroom, 4 people. Imagine that! We never locked any doors in the house. To this day, I still don’t see the point of it. Knocking was key. The pink and black stall shower when it wasn’t being used, stored the laundry basket and portable clothes dryer, which was used during the winter, when the weather was just too cold to hang our wet laundry outside.
The 2 bedrooms were a little further down a rectangular hallway. My room, was shared with my sister, who was quite a bit younger than me. Our blue paneled walls, surrounded red shag carpeting. My side was the right. Her’s the left. The fake wood wall shelves that hung above our small desk were filled with little blue smurfs. Hundreds of smurfs. My parents bedroom had green painted walls and a light shag carpet. The big room looked empty, as there wasn’t much furniture, until later years when they purchased a dark wood, used bedroom set from a neighbor that was moving.
Most of our time was spent in the kitchen. Funny to think that we survived without cell phones or computers. We actually talked to each other during dinner. We had dinners together almost every night.
After dinner, we would sit on our porch and so would most of the neighbors with their children. Many of these children, I’m pleased to say are still in my life, some more than others, but the contact with many has kept up over the years. The block was an extended family, as I didn’t have many close blood relatives. We would be playing hit the penny or stoop ball or drawing hopscotch boards on the sidewalk, only to be washed away by the rain.
The house was filled with love and the block was filled with real lifelong friends. That’s my most favorite memory.