Thursday, May 22, 2014

Our First Home

A long time ago, when my husband and I were newlyweds we moved into a single wide trailer. My husband had made the decision to buy a trailer rather than rent an apartment in town. Truth be told, I didn't know if it was the right decision to buy a mobile home, but we'd signed all the papers and the trailer was now ours. Maybe I'd been wrong to question it.

We brought all our wedding gifts home and deposited them helter skelter everywhere. Wood paneling, old carpet, a conglomeration of appliances, and some inherited furniture. We called it good, and here we were.

We soon discovered the trailer had leaks. There was water damage in the bathroom and the kitchen - actually most of the rooms. The roof was made of tar and it hadn't been kept in proper condition. There was no shed. We found out the first winter that the pipes would freeze if it got too cold leaving us without water. (This happened every single winter that we lived there). Greg would usually preemptively heat the pipes, but on the days when we didn't think about it or we weren't home he would have to crawl under the bathroom out in the cold with a torch and reheat the frozen pipes while I angled a space heater at the pipes from the inside. 

My husband who was already rather handy was quickly becoming more and more proficient at fixing things. Owning our own home right off the bat was a lot of responsibility and not always fun, but at least it kept us from being bored. 

He built a shed (you can see it in the background here), the second year that we lived in the trailer. The shed proved to be very convenient as we started to fill our home and required more storage space.

We had adventures. One day on a whim I decided to paint the spare room that we used as our computer room. I went to the store and purchased a lovely shade of blue paint. I went to work painting the room. I had bought a gallon of paint and as I neared the bottom of the gallon I realized that I wasn't going to have enough paint left to finish the room. I made the trek back to the store to purchase some more blue paint. When I came home and began to paint again it quickly became apparent that the blue I had bought the second time was *not* the blue I had bought the first time. I panicked. So, instead of going back to the store I decided to use other shades of paint that I had in the house and embellish the walls a bit. When my husband came in a little while later this is what he found. (That thing next to his name is a four leaf clover folks). He's my lucky guy. I'm sure he felt uber lucky to be married to such a talented artist.

I'm sure you can imagine his surprise (horror). I knew how terrible it was, but it took me a long time to admit it. I can be a bit stubborn. 

We began looking into buying houses a couple years into living at the trailer. We quickly realized that we still owed too much on our home and that we were stuck, so to speak. At that point we decided to start making improvements. 

The wood paneling was so dark. We decided to brighten it up a bit with some paint (a neutral normal shade this time). I bought some light colored blue and white curtains and hemmed them up. It gave the living room an airier feel. We needed to start enjoying living there as it was going to be a while longer before we could move. 

(Before paint).

(After paint). 

We found out I was pregnant with our first child. We were going to bring a baby home!!

 And then we did. Little teeny Rowan.

One day when I walked into the kitchen I glanced at the sink and growing out of the water damaged area surrounding the sink was a mushroom. There was a mushroom growing on our counter. Needless to say, it was time to do some work in the kitchen. Greg worked really hard to replace the counter in the kitchen, paint the cupboards, and put up some new shelves.

Below is the finished product. As you can see from the "For Sale" sign we were still attempting to sell our home. Now that it was more homey, though we weren't as desperate to get rid of it.


Right outside we had a black locust tree. Every year in the spring it would drop hundreds of those brown pods pictured above in that big pile. I cursed that tree. I hated raking up those pods every year and I protested that for all the work that tree required it certainly didn't put out enough shade to make it worth it. 

What had once been the heinous blue room was repainted a couple years later and became Rowan's room when he moved out of ours. He still remembers this room as being "purple" although it was more of a wine shade. Wine? Purple? Those two colors are the same thing to a little boy.

 For all the work that the trailer was the day we moved out was really sad for us. We lived there for almost 8 years when we finally moved. We sold it for a mere 2,000 dollars - a fraction of what we had purchased it for. We had fun and fascinating neighbors that we enjoyed. There was a community pool that we were able to swim in whenever the mood struck us. We had our own appliances, garden, and space. It really was a good home.

The other night Greg came home and told me he had bad news. I braced myself not knowing what to expect. He looked really forlorn and to be honest I was really worried. "Our first home is gone, Mel."

During the time that we lived in the trailer park the management had started replacing all of the old trailers with newer models that they would rent out. It appeared to be pretty profitable, and it also "cleaned up" the general look of the trailer park. Just by yanking the older homes and adding newer homes it put a new face on the park. Funny thing is that after we moved out of our first home a couple months later we ended up back in the trailer park renting one of those newer homes as an interim stint before we were ready to buy.

(Seraphine laying in the grass with the rental trailer in the background).

Warrick honing in his climbing skills.

 Rowan, flying.

After renting the new trailer for a year we were able to purchase our current home. I love our home. It is amazing and what we've always dreamed of having.

I cannot forget that first home, though. The home we were newlyweds in. The home we brought our first child home to. The home we laughed, played, and cried in. The home I planted my first garden at with flowers from my great grandma's garden. The home that I disliked for so long, but ever so slowly grew to love... deeply.

I drove by today. I wanted to see it. The shed was still there. The flowers were still there. The tree is still there too. Our first little home was not. Where all of our first memories were made now lies a barren patch.

I'm not going to lie and say I didn't cry. All of those firsts, how could I not? Yet, despite my sadness and the nostalgia I know that those memories will remain. Our family began in that little place, but it has continued and grown elsewhere. We have new memories to make. I'll never ever forget that silly little trailer and all the adventures we had in it. I'm so thankful and happy that my husband bought it. It really was a wonderful place.


  1. Lovely, nostalgic post - that blue room was something else! Reminds me a bit of an orange bathroom we painted a couple of houses back!

    1. An orange bathroom! Awesome. I'd love to see it.

  2. Sigh, so many memories of your first little home. I both remember this place so well and feel like it was a million years ago that you lived there.

    1. Yes! I agree with every single thing you said. Driving by was so weird. Seeing the flowers I planted made me feel like there was still a piece of me there...

  3. Hi, I found you on TMB. :)
    I loved reading this post. Wow, that blue room (!) and the mushroom (LOL!) - great stories!! :D
    I'm sorry your first home is gone. Our first home, a two bedroom duplex, is not far from our current home and a family lives there who have done atrocious things to the outside, and who knows what on the inside! It's hard...but, life always, always goes on! <3

    1. Thanks, Valerie! I'm so glad that you stopped by. It's always so strange to see someone else living in a home that was once yours. I loved that (when the home was still there) every time I drove by they still had the red curtains I had sewn for the kitchen up in the windows. It made me feel happy. Kind of funny how we leave little bits of ourselves everywhere we go. :)


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