I loved this house. It had such personality, class and wisdom. Granted I was in 1st grade when we moved in and it did sit probably less than ¼ of a mile from a busy train track, but to me it was magical.
When you walk in there was a glorious staircase that made a C shape, four steps to your left, up ten more, turn right and up eight to the second floor. It was perfect for gentleman callers to arrive and then see you gracefully come down to great them, if you were not ten. All made of dark wood and fabulous banister, spindle and corner post assembly. I am pretty sure the entire upper floor was wood floors.
To your right was the parlor with pocket doors on both sides and giant magnolia flowers on the wallpaper. Above the double entry doors was an intricate pattern made of wood. Rumor had it that various people over time had been laid out in the room for visitation upon their passing. To me, it was the room with the TV, black and white of course. However, the TV was positioned in such a way, that if you were very, very quiet, you could creep down the stairs and sit and watch Emergency! when you were supposed to be in bed asleep.
Walking through the parlor would put you in the living room, with a non-working fireplace (at one time it worked, now not so much) and a giant picture window, the top with leaded glass and looking out to the back yard and the train tracks. When a train went by, the glass would rattle in its frame.
To the left of this room was the dining room, undescriptive to me except for being the place where birthday parties and family dinners were held. Many a fancy cake (my mom REALLY got into cake decorating at this point in my life) were had here.
The kitchen was noticeable for it’s being boring. It was a basic kitchen with a half bath off of it and an access to a small porch that led to outside. The only real memory I have of this kitchen was my father crushing grapes to make wine and my brother “helping”. They were mushing them by hand for quite a bit when a “bug” landed on my brother’s wrist and he freaked out. Waving his red grape covered hands with great force toward the ceiling to remove said bug. Spoiler: was grape skin and the marks on the ceiling stayed until we moved out.
Upstairs the majestic staircase ended on a hall but with a landing to the right. This was our toy room. I want to say there was a large window there and my adult self would have coveted it as an office. Master bedroom was to the left with a giant bay window that looked out on the road and to the right the magnolia tree. Down the hall to the left was my bedroom.
My bedroom also looked right out on to the giant magnolia tree. I remember two things very clearly about this room. I had a small AM radio that I would listen to at night, especially on Christmas Eve when I would listen to see where Santa was in his travels. I would run out many a 9-volt battery but I never remember my mother complaining, just quietly replacing it from time to time. The other memory is Charlotte’s Web. I had been devouring the book (as honestly I still do) and my mom told me, do not read any more tonight, wait until tomorrow to finish. Yeahokwhatever. I crawled into bed, read and read and finished it and went back downstairs sniffing back tears. And bless her heart, she never said I told you so, just help me as I sobbed out how the book ended and how it broke my heart.
My brother’s room was across the hall from mine. He was giddy as he could be as he was 6ish and loved trains. He also, as many kids do, had a problem with the T sound. So they were frequently Frains on Fracks. Thank goodness he was not fond of trucks.
Down the hall was a smaller, guest room.
And at the end of the hall was the bathroom, complete with claw foot tub. (if one wished to shower you could go to the basement; needless to say I never wished to shower). To the left of the bathroom was a staircase to the kitchen. As I child, I was convinced that this was some secret staircase (Nancy Drew anyone?); grown up me puts it together with the small bedroom and less than flashy kitchen and realizes it might have been servants’ quarters. Work adult me wants to find city directories and plat maps and see who lived there and how old it was.
Outside there was a garage, tire sandbox, tire swing and a warp around screened porch. There were houses nearby and actual neighbors.
An aside; this was my last house of my youth that had sidewalks and neighbors. With the value of hindsight, I think that is one of the reason the river house was so hard.
A popular craft idea at this time as to put masking tape on a used glass jar (mayonnaise, etc.) in very tiny overlapping pieces, then coat the whole thing with brown liquid shoe polish (I see I have just lost some of you), let it dry and it makes a lovely vase. I was going to make on for a neighbor, and she was elderly and did not get out much. But I was ten and I kept putting it off. One day, my mom told me I didn’t need to make X the vase as she had died. I felt so, so bad. I, to this day, feel bad. And I really do not procrastinate for very long on anything these days.
As you guessed, we moved from this house to the River House. It was then torn down, made into a giant steel shed (ok building but I am being dramatic) that was a BBQ joint and now a plumbing shop. That house was magical, and not just because I was able to watch Emergency! at age ten.