The house I grew up in was a parsonage. Which means the church provides a home to their pastor and is where the family lives. Today there are size standards and other requirements. Our house would fit in the garage of most other parsonages today.
This house is the cover photo on my book Parsonage Parables. It is where six of us fit and it was our home for thirteen years. It generated these memories.
The steps to the upstairs of the house were steep and narrow. At the top of the stairs was a landing with a bedroom to the right and to the left. One of our favorite activities was putting a pillow between our legs and sliding down the steps. It was a quick, bumpy trip.
The kitchen was amazingly small. When people sat around the table it was impossible to walk through the kitchen. There was a group of dad’s friends that would come to play pinochle and if you wanted to get to the basement, you’d have to go outside and around the house.
We had a black and white TV on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen. We would sit on the counters or table or chairs to watch Saturday night horror shows. Dark Shadows, Twilight Zone, and Mystery Theater were the ones I remember. Things are spookier in black and white.
There was a huge old safe in the basement. It belonged to the church and we would spend hours trying combinations to break in. Pretty sure the church was hiding gold, diamonds, and other treasures inside.
They finally put a bathroom in upstairs, otherwise we all shared one small bathroom. Of course my sister got a bedroom to herself and I shared a bedroom with my older brother. It was a cold bedroom and I remember sleeping together occasionally to stay warm. As we got older we had a window to the garage that made it easy to sneak out at night in the summer. Mom and Dad – we were simply gazing at the stars and giving God glory for all the wonders of creation.
Like most houses of the time, we had a long clothesline connected to silver poles. Yes, your tongue does stick to metal poles in the winter. Yes, it does hurt when you run into poles during tag. Yes, the neighbor did tie his Shetland pony to their clothesline.
My mother had African violets from grandma and they graced an east bedroom window. I remember when they brought my baby brother home, that he smelled good (that has changed however) and violets bordered his crib.
The TV room also served as dad’s office, mimeograph room (see www.parsonageparables.com/2014/03/07/mimeograph/), and storage closet. I believe the main reason families had more children was that parents needed TV remotes.
But I’m thankful for the family that fit inside. I am thankful for a parsonage which is a house which is a home.