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Entry date: 3-28-2022 - Place I have lived - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

For awhile now, and I wish I could say how long, I’ve wanted to write about the places I’ve lived. Not the towns, because that would only really by three, but the actual apartments, condominiums, etc., I have lived in. I had this idea that I would go around take pictures of the places as they are now and cobble together whatever pictures I have of them and make some sort of book about the history of my domiciles.

I don’t have any inkling if this would be interesting to others, although I do feel it could be helpful to those, who like me, have always wondered exactly where they belonged.

I think this idea was spurred on by a conversation I was having with some friends where the question of how many places have you lived came up. When it comes to geographic locales, many of my friends and family have me beat. I’ve only lived in Phoenix, Berkeley, and Columbus, Georgia. The latter of the three was only for about seven weeks, but I technically did live there. I’ve spent almost as much time in Rangeley, Maine, at this point than I did in Berkeley (which was about six months) and Columbus combined, and if I did the actual math, it’s probably pretty close, but I’m not sure I could count living there.

We do live well, though, when we’re in Maine.

But the question of how many places I have lived echoed in my brain for a while, and I had to count. I know my parents had an apartment around 12th street and Maryland, I think, when I was born. I will have to ask them about this, of course, but I remember my dad showing me where it was a long time ago when we were driving by. I have no memories of this place at all, other than what I just shared, and that memory had nothing to do with living there. (1)

We then moved to an apartment near just east of the frontage road for I-17 and Devonshire. I do have memories of this place. I have pictures of myself playing in the courtyard, for example, and I can remember there was a large (at least to tiny me) picture window that faced said courtyard. If I close my eyes, I can kind of see the interior of it, too, but only a vantage point just outside of where I assume was a small hallway that led to the bedroom(s?) and a bathroom. This could also be from seeing pictures of myself at the time. (2)

I need to ask questions.

The third place I lived at was a house my parents purchased on Encanto near 43rd Avenue. We had neighbors named Ralph and Shirley, and I got my first dog when I lived there. His name was Fred and I loved him. I think I was four, maybe five, when we moved there, but again, I could be wrong. It was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house and my room had fire engine red carpet. I remember this because I was allowed to pick my own carpet color.

In the mid-1970s, this was perfectly normal, I suppose. I remember the carpet in the front room and down the hall to the bedrooms was grey. I remember this because I dropped my bowl of raviolios on the carpet and it made a stain. My dad was freaking out about it because of what my mom would think when she got home. I probably knew, at the time, that things were bad between them. Fuck, of course, I knew. Most of my memories of that house are bad and involve them fighting with each other. (3)

When they got divorced, I initially lived with my mom. We moved into a tiny apartment off of 12th Street and Northern. I remember watching the 1976 Olympics there with my mom on a small black and white television. I had just finished second grade. The age of my students now. Weird. As I write this there are so many feelings coursing through me. I have several students in my classroom who are missing a parent. (4)

I moved back in with my dad after about nine months or so with my mom. We lived in the house on Encanto for a while and then my dad sold the house and we moved to an apartment on 12th Street and Butler. Hillside Terrace was the name of the complex (and may still be). We lived in C-5. Coincidentally, a friend of mine, Dave, also lived in C-5 there several years later. We lived there until I was in eighth grade. I have lots to write about this place. (5)

During those years, my mom lived in a couple of places. I kind of count one of her homes as a place I have lived because I spent so much time there. It was in Paradise Valley on a road called Joan De Arc. This is a place I will have to revisit when I write more in depth about my homes, for sure. (5.5)

When I was in eighth grade, my dad decided to buy a house. It was the right move for us, I realize now, and he needed to have his own place. He was building his career up and it was time. There is more to this story, too, that I don’t want to get into here, but I will, I promise, but we moved out to 47th avenue and Charleston. If you don’t recognize the name, Charleston is between Bell and Union Hills, just off Grovers.

Because I had spent my entire elementary school career in the Madison district, thanks to my grandparents living on 7th Street and Desert Park Lane (I will count this as #7), the decision was made (with my input), that I should stay with my friends and graduate from eighth grade before I switched to a Deer Valley Unified school which was the district we moved into in 1983. 4714 West Charleston (8) is another story I must tell.

To be continued.

See you tomorrow.

This is a terrible image.

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