Sunday, May 3, 2009

The House on Rising

I spent my childhood on Scenic. At 14, we moved to Stuyvesant, a split level ranch that split and then leveled my family. There were a handful of non-descript college apartments, and then came Nipomo Street, the ramshackle converted train station in which Bryan and I lived together while in college. Napa Street saw us get grown-up jobs, even if we still treated the jobs like an after-school special, licking the ice cream off our wrists before we went out late into the night. A brief stop on Filbert until we moved to 38th Avenue, living the city life, and then 41st. 41st, a house of firsts: the first house we bought with the hallway where Bryan asked me to marry him. We made Zoey in that house, brought her home. And then it was Rising.

I thought the name of the street was prophetic. Rising Road. Our new address held the promise of good times with its 2 car garage and beautifully landscaped garden. Our guest house, Bryan joked about the inherited birdhouse in the back. I laughed. Of course! Our guest house!

And then at Christmas! The tree will go here! I remember turning around and around in the large empty living room after we had bought it, like a kid with a bag full of candy, cramming imaginary gumballs into my mouth already hungry for the next. And the front porch! Perfect for jack o'lanterns! When we unpacked our boxes in the kitchen, I just knew this was the house in which I would make my own soup.
This past weekend I packed up the Cuisinart somebody gave us for our wedding. Discard plastic film before using, the blades still in the box. It's funny how houses have personality, how they can define an era. I will always wonder what would have happened if we had just stayed in the funky Scenic house of my childhood. Surely my parents never would have gotten divorced? Because Stuyvesant-- Stuyvesant was a house divided, a 3 bedroom with separate pool house and black out curtains that sealed off the sunlight via a bone colored remote control. No family could have lived through Stuyvesant without falling apart.

But that was then, and this is now. My family. For the next 30 days we have no house keys. And I have to wonder how I will look back on these past few years. Remember when we lived on Rising Road? I might say to Bryan. Or to Zoey: Ah, yes, that was when you were little and we lived on Rising. I wonder what the conversation will be about, if she will remember it, the black and white linoleum kitchen floor, or the vintage wallpaper giraffe in her room. Maybe one day I will ask Zoey about her earliest memory, and she will surprise me by conjuring up the pyracanthus tree in the backyard. I remember how I used to push the berries into the wooden knots on the deck, and when she says that maybe I will remember the way the sun felt from that angle beneath the tree, the warm smell of yellow. Or maybe I won't. The thing is, with houses and time, you just don't know. You have to wait, and look back, just a quick glance and it all becomes clear. Yes, I will tell her, that was at the house on Rising, that was the house where we learned what was important. And grew stronger for it. At least that's what I hope. Now, from a day when I have no key on my keyring.


hej said...

Your words break dance in my heart.

jen said...

Zoey will amaze you with what she remembers. And it won't be sad when she does--it'll just be a sweet memory.

Geordy and Pete said...



Description: Well written site that provokes laughter and fun-in-spirit. A MUST READ for any young mom or writer-wanna be.

Contains Adult Content: No
Written In a Foreign Language: No

Categories: Best Humor Blog, Best Parenting Blog, Best Pop Culture Blog, Hottest Mommy Blogger

Tags: writers, mommies, trendy

sooooo confused.
pretty sure you have been nominated for 2009 awards

sorry to confuse you too!

Geordy and Pete said...

go here :

if you put in :

into the search term it should all come up?????

yep indeed. we in australia.

love reading you.

morning feeds wouldn't be the same without you.


Geordy and Pete said...

sorry to hound you but I just want to get this right!

good luck!

Oh Brother! said...



Bro (who remembers the house I first met YOU :)

Anonymous said...

Of this I'm sure: your new home will bring with it every bit as much joy and adventure, even though it's rented and not owned.

Claire said...

Tears rising.

So beautifully said. We also are in housing transition. It can be tumultuous at times, but the husband, my girls, and I are together for it, so it makes it okay.

Best wishes for all your new living conditions!

Aartee said...

Great post...It's funny the things we associate with the places we live...I think my favorite to date was my apartment in college :)

Richie Designs said...

you're not homeless or key-less, you're just having a really long sleep over.

Complete with building tents and smores I hope.

Congratulations on your new adventures

Visual Vamp said...

Another door opens darling - no key needed.
Best of luck with the move.

Visual Vamp said...

Another door opens darling - no key needed.
Best of luck with the move.

topsyturvydays said...

That was just lovely. Very well put. I have a tear in my eye.

I'm always refering to old houses with the kids. I don't think I feel settled were I am now.

Here's to the keys in your future.

michele in Raleigh said...

great! Your special little family will create memories anywhere you go. When I was in college in Chapel Hill I lived on High Street... also very prophetic.

Michele in Raleigh said...

great! Your special little family will create wonderful memories wherever you find yourselves. When I was in college in Chapel Hill I live on High Street... also prophetic.

Sarah Danielle: Jeune Marie said...

Did you make that wall paper giraffe? That is the coolest.

Weitzell4 said...

Thank you. We are currently negotiating an offer on our house that I don't want to sell, in a neighborhood I don't want to leave. This brought tears to my eyes.

Michelle M in KY said...

Oh Susannah,
Visual Vamp said it best "no key needed".
Can't wait for the next street and the next set of memories to start unfolding.
Transition can be difficult but, at least you know who and where holds your heart. That my dear, will NEVER change! Continued good luck to you. Your posts make my day!

moseyalong said...

We have pondered doing exactly what you are doing. We do love our house, but don't love the mortgage payments or INSANE property taxes. When I think of life with or without it, there's a tiny part of me that feels relieved when I imagine living somewhere cheaper with less responsibility and stress. Arrgh.

Your home is where you are, though. Right?

Molly said...

I lived in the same house for the first 20 years of my life and felt like I lost a part of myself when we moved. But I learnt that a house doesn't define you, your family does. Petuniaface will smile as sweetly no matter where you live.
Good luck for your homeless month!

Petunia Face said...

Thank you all. I swear this was just me saying goodbye. Soon, I will stop posting eulogies to my old life. Soon, I will be over it. :)

Sarah Danielle--I wish I could take credit for the giraffe, but no, I didn't make it. It's from a company called INKE--google it. I would find it for you but Zoey is sitting on my lap and playing Barbie walks ver the bridge onto the keyboard right now. But they have the best stuff. She also had a vintage wallpaper monkey in a blue pattern. I might have to splurge on one in her new room.


Sarah @ said...

She'll probably surprise you with what she remembers. What I remember from my parents' first house still surprises them =)

Blues said...

I really like this. I'm a little obsessed right now with houses, and the many houses I've lived in, and what they mean and why my sense of home is only found in memories of houses no longer lived in. I love this post because it's the exact opposite of that and gives a feel of happy memories but home being where you are.