Daily Prompt: Our House
We moved a lot when I was a child. Renting was like that. If someone wanted to buy, we would have to move. The last time we moved, I was six-years-old. My father carpentered for a living besides trapping, skinning beaver, lynx, and squirrels. Father called himself, a jack of all trades but master at none.
There wasn’t any electricity in our town in 1950-1952. All the work on the new house was hand done. No power tools, nor saws, nor cement mixers. I can’t imagine it now how anyone could build a house with hammer and nails, a hand-saw, pencil and square, and a cement mixer. A few other tools, like a couple of different sized screwdrivers, a screen for shovelling sand through for mixing cement, and spades to shovel out the basement. Everything was done by hand. Even the well.
My memory of it all is a bit blurred but I do remember moving into the house before it had windows installed. We had no choice. Someone bought the house we were renting and we were given a date to clear out, so that meant living in a house without windows. I remember thinking how great that was. The air blew right through. But then it got chilly at night, and one night a storm came along. Mother nailed some sheets and blankets to cover some of the windows so that we didn’t get wet.
Soon the windows arrived. Everything smelled so new and clean. One day, on my sixth birthday, mother threw a birthday party for me and invited some of the children I would be going to school with. What an exciting day that was. When the party was over, I still was wearing my Sunday best dress. The basement walls had been freshly tarred so that the cement walls wouldn’t allow water seepage. Mother had gone with my little brother to visit my Grandmother across the tracks. I stayed home. Father and some helpers were finishing up for the day. They brushed tar with old brooms onto the outside walls of the basement. Later, they would fill in the space with dirt by shovelling until it reached nearly to the base of the basement windows.
I was daydreaming whilst I scoped the piles of dirt next to the basement. Wouldn’t you know it? Somehow I fell into the five-foot cavity. I wasn’t worried about getting hurt at the time; I just knew I would be in big trouble for going where I had just been told not to go. I looked at my dress splattered with tar, the smell reeking and suffocating.
I crawled out, crying loud enough so somebody would hear me. My dress was spoilt. And I didn’t have many. Maybe two or three.
Soon, mother came home. I couldn’t very well hide. She would smell me if I went inside. What could I do? I had to just face her and the talking to I would receive. Good thing it was my birthday because I would have gotten more than a talking to, I believe.