Poor Mama is still having a hard time adjusting to apartment life…
It is a very different beast—and she is not used to it. When she and my dad got married in 1946, they very wisely took advantage of the GI Bill and purchased a house during their engagement. Granted it was a tiny two-bedroom “row house” just outside of the Philadelphia city limits, but it was a house. She always speaks fondly of that place where they started their life together.
By 1953, they had two little boys and I was on the way. So they went further out to the “burbs” and purchased a house in a new development called Chatham Park. It was 3 bedrooms with nice sized front and back yards. A garage was extra, but they felt it was important to have one. They found out just before settlement that that amount wasn’t included in their mortgage and they’d have to come up with the cash to seal the deal. Ever resourceful, my dad sold their car to pay for the garage.
Well, I arrived not long after the last box was unpacked and my younger brother joined the clan 14 months later. So the joint was full. When I was 6, my parents added another bedroom and a bath over that garage [they’d replaced the car within a year of moving in] so we’d all have more room to breathe.
Our family lived in that house until mid-1974 when my parents sold it to move to Jamaica. [My dad needed a relaxed lifestyle due to his health] By this time we four kids were on our own—two of us married and starting our own families.
My parents rented cottages on the island for 3 years and then continued that practice when they moved to St. Croix. It was there they bought their next house—which my youngest brother renovated for them. As my Dad’s health got more and more tenuous, he wanted to be closer to the Veteran’s hospitals where he received his care. So they moved yet again, buying a house in Venice, FLA.
When my Dad died 3 years later, Mom moved to California with my youngest brother—and helped him purchase a house. She lived in one part he in another.
Two years ago I had to make her come back to the East—and winters—because my brother basically kicked her out. So, here we are, sharing a 2-bedroom/2-bath apartment on the 3rd floor of a nice building.
But Mom is still not used to the fact that you have to put up with your neighbors noises. I guess I’ve learned to tune things out during my decade-plus of apartment dwelling. But even with her hearing aids out, she is aware of quite a bit.
For instance, our upstairs neighbors don’t seem to be cognizant of the fact that their floor is our ceiling and there are all sorts of scraping of chairs and thumping on the floor going on til the wee hours. The discovery that they have a cat cleared up some of the mystery as to what was going on ups there—but not all of it.
We also have the door slammers across the hall and the guy downstairs whose cigarette smoke drifts up through the heating system. And an assortment of other interesting characters; I look on it as good character study for my acting and directing.
Well, maybe I’ll win the lottery soon and I can buy us a nice rancher somewhere…
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