Twelve.  My thirteenth year.  It was the best of years, it was the worst of years.

My early years were spent in the Bay Area.  Then at 12,5 years of age, I relocated to Sacramento.

It was difficult to leave friends in sixth grade.  Most of us had been together since kindergarten. We pledged to remain friends forever across what we saw as a great divide (just under 100 miles).  But it didn’t happen.  I moved and spent the next nine months trying to fit in to a new school and community.  They carried on with their lives, my vacant seat eventually filled with someone else.   I became a memory in that place.

Our new home was a tract house.  Thanks to Abraham Levitt our home in suburbia was an affordable cookie-cutter.  It had the same 4’x6′ patch of lawn in the front of the house as every other house in the 10-block neighborhood.  A Platanus occidentalis (or American sycamore) was plonked dead center.  The front door opened into a large section, half of which was the living room, one-third of which was the dining room and a sixth of which was the kitchen.  A fireplace cut the total area in two, providing a divider between the lounging space and the eating space.

A passage led off to the left from between the living room and kitchen. Two small bedrooms were situated on the left side of the passage with a small bathroom on the right.  Then, at the very end of the hall to the right was the master bedroom with an en suite bathroom.  All of the walls were white.  The low ceilings were popcorn spackled.  There was wall-to-wall shag carpeting in various hues of brown.

Only, our house was different to all the other houses in the tract.  Where everyone else had a two-car garage, we had a rumpus room.

The two steps down into this chilly, black-and-white tiled, over-sized room set the space apart, as if the room were in another galaxy.  The biggest room in the entire dwelling, this land became my sister’s and mine.  We had to put up with water pouring in through the crack between the south wall and the floor.  (After the first flood, we learned to leave nothing of importance on the floor.)  We had to wear extra clothes and pile on blankets in the winter.  We had to sleep under thin sheets, flapping them to regulate airflow and to frighten off mosquitoes, in the summer.  No matter.  It was ours.

Despite all the hardships (puberty in a new place, a river running through my bedroom), there was also joy (new friends, my own space).  And this strange new building slowly became home.

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Today’s assignment:  Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve.   Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

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