Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.
I was lucky enough to live in the same house from the day I was born, until the day I moved out of home at eighteen. It was a big, Edwardian house in the suburbs. It had twelve-foot ceilings, and one of the widest central hallways of any house I’ve seen. It went through several changes while I lived there; walls were knocked through to make a bigger living space, linoleum flooring was ripped up to show off the floorboards. The most pertinent change for me, was the time I painted my bedroom. My bedroom started out with white walls and glossy dark red trims; ceiling rose, picture rail, skirting board, window frames and door. I have no idea who did the colour scheme. I didn’t like it.
I was slightly older than twelve, probably more like fourteen, but for the purposes of the exercise we’ll pretend that’s the same. After a period of strenuous negotiation between my parents and me, we settled on a colour scheme for my repainted bedroom. The ceiling would be pale yellow, the walls mauve, and the trims would be purple. I don’t think most parents would have agreed to these colours, but purple is my mum’s favourite colour so I was pretty safe. We also took the opportunity to rip up the weird, brown, seventies-era long pile carpet so the look was completed with pine floorboards.
During the painting of my room, I was moved into the front ‘formal lounge’ to sleep. This new room was much bigger than my bedroom, but it needed to be – it had a piano, a stereo and a set of antique couches from my great grandmother along with all the stuff from my room. It was also right at the front of the house on a main road.
For whatever reason, probably laziness and general busy-ness, it took us a long time to get the new paint job done. When it was finished, I loved it! I was the envy of all my (admittedly not many) friends for years, and my first boyfriend thought it was pretty cool too. The only other person I really knew who repainted their bedroom was my second boyfriend, Damien, who painted his bedroom black. He was a goth. He thought it was so cool, but I couldn’t help wondering how they were ever going to repaint the room if anyone else ever wanted to live there. He also had luxurious blood red velvet curtains and lots of candles and skulls. He may have been a vampire, come to think of it.
But I digress. My mother, father and younger sister lived in our house for a long time after I moved out. They only moved when it had to be sold as part of my parents divorce in my twenties. I have a lot of fond memories of that house, and a lot of memories that I think I have, based on photos that are in the collection at mum’s. There are embarrassing photos of me in the sea green bath with several other children, or sun-baking and mud-pie-making in the garden. And other memories like the ducks, the dogs, the guinea pigs, the cubby house, the big cyprus tree that fell over in a storm and destroyed the back verandah, the box on the front verandah for deliveries, the porta-loo we had while they redid the floors, and the other tree at the back that was struck by lightning once.
Since I left home, I’ve lived all over the place. I’ve lived in Wave Street, Queen Street, Heyington Avenue, York Street, Glenferrie Road, Alexandra Avenue, and where I am now in Richmond. Seven places in twelve years. Maybe I’m making up for never having moved as a kid, who knows, but I do know I’ll always remember the house I grew up in.