We moved to this particular house because while my mother was raising her five children in a 1300-square-foot, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom row house she was dreaming of acquiring a big old fixer-upper of a house that she could transform into her vision of a beautiful home.
Though someone else would doubtless have dubbed the 6-bedroom, 3-story behemoth on Byberry Road a teardown – it was already over 100 years old in 1961 –
When we finally did lay eyes on and set foot inside the house it was still in a rough state, but all that summer long every day my mother would load us children into the car and drive out to the New House where she’d work, steaming wallpaper off the walls, spackling and painting the walls, repairing the window frames and tackling all sorts of repair and home improvement jobs that most kids’ mothers would have no idea of how to do.
My brothers and I, meanwhile, with our 3-year-old baby sister in tow, ran around the new neighborhood meeting the new neighborhood kids.
Every day at lunch time my mother would stop working to fix us cold cut sandwiches, sodas and Tastykakes which we ate picnic-style on the bare wood living room floor, sometimes with a new friend or two whom we’d invited to join us. That was the best summer.
Still, my mother did what she could.
But in the end, for all the years we lived in it, the New House,
And it would be this person who would finally do with the house what my mother had always wanted to.
To be continued...