Rooms in houses where I lived

One of my son's classmate's parents told me she'd be spending the first couple of weeks after school ended moving out of her house, in with her in-laws for a couple weeks, then into a new house she and her husband had bought. Made me think of how much I despise moving but also how many different places I've lived. Since high school it's roughly a dozen, not counting changing dorms in college, sometimes mid-semester.

Every place I've lived has had things I'll remember about them - sometimes it's a moment that takes place in the house (the living room of my house senior year in high school, for example, my high school graduation party being there and also coming home from college for one night to watch Game 6 of the 1997 World Series with my mother in that room). But also, it's physical things about a room. These are the memories I have of some places where I lived.

The first time I saw my father's new house in Shelton the day we watched Christian Laettner make a last-second jumper against UConn in the East Regional final. Before that he lived in a contemporary house closer to my mother, in Guilford which had a loft with a strange attic crawlspace and an equally odd crawlspace in the basement. My brother and I found an old radio (had to be from the 1930s) that we never got to work. I think my brother still has that radio. I lived in the basement in Shelton which was finished at some point while I was in high school, then new walls added, doors... it has always been changing. My father put the house on the market a couple years ago but took it off a few months later.

I'm not old enough to remember my parents living in rentals in Old Lyme and Clinton, but my mom's first house in Madison was where many of my first childhood memories originated. We didn't get out much - my mother's car couldn't drive more than 20 miles before it broke down and aside two family trips with my dad, we never went farther than Old Lyme, East Haven or Middletown. The house had an "utility room" which was right behind the living room. Half the room was taken up by the water heater. It was an odd design because the room was too small for any purpose. Couldn't even throw a sleeping bag in there. We kept our pets, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters in that room.

While I was in college, my mother moved from her second house in Madison (where I think I spent the best part of my childhood, the teen years) to Old Saybrook. Before my mother moved in there, my girlfriend (future wife) snuck down and watched UConn basketball games there on a small color TV we took out of my dorm room. We also had a Super Bowl party there before the house was lived in.

After college, I was the hermit. Lived in two different parts of Milford, both right by the water. Lived in a creeky wood-floored house in Cromwell which may have been an orphanage where my wife's relatives once lived, then to Old Wethersfield to a house that had the nicest three-season perennial garden I've ever seen and some very interesting finds in the attic.

Last month my father took down the pool at the house in Shelton. He's looking to sell the house and move down south next year and retire. It occurred to me; that house is the one I've called home for the longest (albeit for just a few short periods). I stayed there during summers in college, between apartments after college and during the freak October snow storm that left my house without power in 2011. We've heard that he'd move before and seen plenty of remodeling. It looks like it's for real this time. Most of the neighbors I knew in that area have moved away. The interior of the house has had new appliances many times, new flooring and even new walls in the basement, but it's still familiar... where the spot in the upstairs hallway that makes the loudest sound when stepped on in the night (when everyone is sleeping), the door that doesn't shut all the way to my sister's bedroom (unless lifted when the door knob is turned). Although my two sisters, my brother and I never actually lived together in the house at the same time, we're still family and this was still part of our childhood (and young adulthood).

I'm sure in time I'll look at the numerous photos I have of that house, from the inside, and reminisce the same way I do about other places I've lived. When I stop to think about the layout of the rooms or textures of the floor, I'll start to think about the things going on in life at that time. When I was in Shelton, it wasn't always for the best reasons. It was always a landing pad or an in-between place, but it was always there - even the last time I stayed there with my wife and kids during the snowstorm outage. It will be strange when it fades into memories captured in photos just like the other places I've lived.

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