The House I Lived In When I Was Twelve

Published on May 24, 2019

When I was twelve years old I was still living in the house in which I had grown up. I lived with my mother and my grandfather. The house was located “downtown”.

Now, when I say downtown that essentially means that it was located on the main street of my town (Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, Canada). While it was technically where many of the stores, restaurants and services were located it certainly was not the “downtown” that most people would picture. But it was nice being close to whatever action might develop.

It was a pretty small house. But we didn’t need much. My grandfather had his own side of the house, which was essentially its own self-contained apartment. When I was a young boy my great-grandmother lived there.

Yup. At one point there were four generations under one roof!

After she passed away, he moved in there and I took over his room. I don’t remember how old I was but I was fairly young still.

It’s quite amazing how vividly I remember that house. Like, really vividly. My mom and I moved out a couple of years later, into a house with her long-time boyfriend (whom she is still with, I’m happy to say). My grandfather stayed in the house then ended up — quite foolishly — selling the house and renting the apartment he’d been living in. Yeah, I don’t understand it either. I would still visit him sometimes, but I think the memories I have are from the years that I lived there.

For the sake of documenting it, and practicing my writing, I’ll describe it. Feel free to skip this part, dear reader, if it gets too boring. Actually, let’s make a list of the top aspects of the house that I remember (or enjoyed):

1. The Unfinished Basement

Oddly enough, though I’ve never been much of a “handy” man or much into the traditional “manly” stuff, I was a kid who loved to get into stuff and get dirty. The basement was the perfect place for this. Many people in the US (and certainly California) can’t relate to having a basement. But as a child, this place was both a freaky area and a wondrous imaginarium.

I remember the smells: the oil furnace, freshly-painted buoys, sawdust, mustiness and dirt.

My grandfather was always pretty willing to show me how his tools worked and let me watch what he was doing. He had outlines of all his hung-up tools, so that he’d know exactly where to put them back. I always found that super amusing. He once made me a DIY Plinko game, which may be the nicest thing he’d ever done for me.

2. The Wrap-Around Concrete Patio

It wasn’t really a patio. I can’t think of a better word right now. Looking at the house, on the right-hand side there was a cement walkway that wrapped around the back of the house. I spent a lot of time playing there, climbing up and down while swinging on the pipe handrail and just hanging out with friends (and GI Joes).

I would lock up my bike there and remember the disembarking process where it felt like in one smooth motion I got off the bike, parked it and opened the door on the side.

Oh yeah, there was a door there. I totally just pictured it. Wintertime was especially fun on that walkway. It would get super icy, which was fun for a kid to slide around on. Icicles would develop on the handrail. I remember eating them.

3. The Living Room With Huge Picture Window

Living “downtown” like I did, that window looked right out onto all of the hustle and bustle of Cheticamp. Honestly, at that time, it was a pretty happening place. Now? Not so much.

When I was a kid, though we had video game systems (Genesis…what what!) we spent a TON of time outside…and really enjoyed it.

Mostly, we rode our bikes — everywhere! So that huge window was a great way to spot someone who was worth catching up to. Especially when they were cute girls that we had crushes on. Let’s be honest, when you’re twelve years old you start to look at those older girls and they become that object of…well, desire I suppose.

Heck, were they to even know our names (which, looking back, they probably did…small town, remember?). The downside was that people looking in could see everything. Including nose-picking. What? I was twelve! It comes with the territory.

Well, there is more I could say about the house but I think I’ll leave it at that for now. This post is long enough.