BY NORBERT RUG
Our house is a very, very, very fine house. (Crosby, Stills and Nash & Young, 1970)
Ours was always the place to go. All the kids in the neighborhood would assemble at our house to play. My son had a friend that would stay with us for up to a week at a time during the summer. He lived two doors down. I really can’t blame him though. He was the youngest child in a family of several girls.
They weren’t a wealthy family that believed in handing down clothing. There wasn’t a lot of money for clothing and by the time it came to him, he was the lowest person on the totem pole. Sometimes his shirts buttoned the wrong way (right over left), sometimes his coat zipped up in reverse (same thing) and one time his underwear was a pair of pink panties.
We had the kids down the street that would help me wash my car whenever I did it. Our freezer was always filled with freezie pops and there was always a fresh container of lemonade in the refrigerator. One time one of the kids went home to use the bathroom and we heard their mother yell out the window “Go use the Rug’s bathroom.” I guess it was only fair, we were feeding them and they were sleeping here so I guess they should use our bathroom too. I’m just glad they moved out before any of them started college.
I liked to mess with the kids and I think they all loved it. I actually had one of the neighbor kids convinced that there were little tiny alligators living in our birdbath. This was also the neighborhood fix-it-shop. I repaired many bicycles over the years.
One year I had a car that was going to the junkyard. I gave the neighbor kids hammers, including a sledgehammer and allowed them to go postal on the car one at a time. I had rolled down all the windows and told them any glass was off limits including the headlights. I also gave them some cans of spray paint so they could decorate it.
Years after my children left, the grandchildren started arriving. They used to stop over after school until their parents got home from work. They would occasionally come over to Nana’s and Papa’s house for a super sleepover. The living room would look like an emergency shelter with four or more kids sleeping on the floor, in sleeping bags. You had to carry a flashlight if you needed to go thru the living room at night so you didn’t step on anyone.
But times have changed and Donna and I have gotten used to being alone. About once a month, our twin seven-year-old grandsons will have a sleepover though. Other than that our children and grandchildren will stop over for an hour or so just to visit and that’s about it.
This Christmas however we have received the best present ever. My oldest daughter recently sold her home and had to move out of the place she has lived in for twenty years. She has bought a new home but hasn’t closed on it yet. Because of this, she is temporarily between homes. Soooo she is domiciled at our house.
It gets better than that though. Her daughter that is in a pre-professional ballet company in Denver, Colorado will be coming home for a visit. She is a born dancer and it is semisweet to see her pursuing her dream. It is nice she has found what she wants to do in life but I just wish it wouldn’t take her so far away from us. She will also be living at our house. She has a second daughter who will be living and sleeping with us also.
It is a good thing that about a year ago we added a first-floor bedroom suite complete with a walk-in closet and a bathroom. We are now officially out of bedrooms. I can’t imagine five adults living together with only one bathroom. We would have to post a bathroom schedule on the door. I can only imagine our old, old water heater straining to keep up with the demand and the sink full of shampoos, conditioners, and lotions.
That doesn’t mean we can’t put up more of my family though. We do have 4 recliners in our living room, a walk up attic where the super sleepovers were held in the summer and plenty of floor space.
I know it will be only a few short weeks before this arrangement ends. The granddaughters will be going back to school and my daughter will be moving into her new home. Once again it will be just the two of us, the way we started our lives together. But, for now, it is great to have a house full of laughter once again. I am just going to sit back and enjoy it.
Norb is a devoted family man. He blogs at WhyWNY.home.blog.