I lived in one house throughout my entire childhood. It was on a rural Ontario farm and the adventures I had there were wonderful. I loved farm life and working in the barn and fields amongst the men folk. I also spent a lot of time helping my grandmother with housework and gardening.
My Dad and I didn't get along very well when I was young. Thinking back now, I think we were too much alike. We were both set in our ways and rebellious. We both thought we knew the way things should be done. Dad also had a trigger temper that would explode when we didn't obey him. I was determined to do things my own way and so we often clashed.
I met my childhood sweetheart when I was eight years old. We were just friends back then and had lots of fun skating, riding our bikes around the countryside and just talking. As we grew, so did our fondness for each other. By the time I was sixteen and he was nineteen, we were determined to get married and start our life as adults.
Mom was mortified. Dad said, You make your bed, you lie in it. And so on April 16, 1966, we were married.
Hunting for our little apartment was a lot of fun. We couldn't afford much. My future husband drove truck for a feed company. I worked in a factory making asbestos and fiberglass liners for school bus seats. I can't remember exactly how much he was making per hour. He brought home approximately $48 a week. I worked for 65 cents an hour.
We looked at several apartments and then one day we viewed an upper. That wasn't exactly what we wanted but it was cozy and cute and, most importantly, it was furnished. We had very little of our own. The rent was $65 a month - just within our budget.
Aunt May had a wedding shower for me and I got all kinds of useful things. An iron and ironing board, pots and pans, flatware, dishes and all of the things you need to start up a household. Back then the groom didn't attend the shower, but we were ecstatic with all the great things we were given.
The little apartment had a curving staircase. At the top was the hall with the living room directly ahead. If you turned left and went down the hall, the first room on the left was the bathroom. It was tiny. I mean really tiny. About 5 feet long and 4 feet across. You literally walked in, sat down or stood in front of the sink, did your business, turned on the spot and walked out. There was no bath tub. It was in a common area and was shared by the people who lived in the other half of the upstairs.
When you passed the bathroom in the hall, you came to the kitchen. It was approximately 10 feet by 8 feet. There was enough room for a table and four chairs. There wasn't a lot of room to move around. It had Barker board on the walls and was decorated in red and white. The landlord had gone to a lot of work to make that little kitchen cozy and warm.
Our bedroom wasn't big either. Probably 12 feet by 8 feet. Our three-quarter (mattress of 49 inches) bed was against a wall and on the opposite wall were two chest of drawers. There was just enough room to walk between the bed and the chests to crawl into bed. There was no closet, but there were nails on the walls to hang clothing.
The living room was the largest room in the apartment. It and the bedroom had hardwood floors. The kitchen and hall had red and gray linoleum. In the living room was two divans that were about the length of a loveseat. We had a small black and white TV and that was it. We were able to get two channels. Toronto and Buffalo. However, I swear we could get more entertainment on that little TV than we can now with satellite.
We were able to get a colored phone installed after a few months and we were so proud of that sage green phone. It was the kind you dialed and it matched the walls perfectly. That was a status symbol in our eyes. Not everyone was able to afford a colored telephone.
Our first major purchase was a cabinet stereo. It would play 33 RPM records or 78 RPMs. It also had an 8-track tape deck. We had no tapes but did have a few records. The AM/FM radio was a luxury. We paid $199 for that cabinet stereo and paid it off in installments. That's the first time we'd ever had credit and made sure the payments were in on time every month.
We lived there three years. Then, when I got pregnant for Michelle, we knew we had to find larger quarters. My brother was living in an old store that had been converted into apartments and there was a place available there. We gave thirty days notice (the norm in those days) and moved into the larger place. That meant buying a three room grouping of furniture on time. It cost us $400 for all three rooms and it was all top quality.
Though I've lived in a few apartments and houses over the years, I will always remember that little cozy apartment that was the first place I lived other than my childhood home. Though we didn't have much, we learned to be responsible adults. That apartment still holds many happy memories for me.
If you would like to join the I Remember When meme, please visit Speaking from the Heart. It's a lot of fun stepping back in time through our memories.