It was the first house I remember, but I still wonder if it was ever really home. And yet nowhere else I’ve lived has ever fully been my home either.
The duplex was a cookie-cutter match for the dozens of other houses in the neighborhood. My parents were the first owners of the house, built in 1963. My sister was nearly two and I was four when we moved out to what was then the edge of civilization. Cheap housing sprung up in a cornfield near a brand-new mall just beyond the commuter suburbs ringing Chicago, and my parents inked a mortgage on their slice of the American Dream.
We lived on one of the three triplet cul-de- sacs directly off of Home Avenue, named Home Circle, Home Court, and Home Terrace. (The subdivision’s developers appeared to be a little short on creativity when it came to street names, understandable considering the speed at which they were building houses in this neighborhood crawling with young Boomers.) Every house two parents in it; dads drove to the city to work, moms manned the home fires, and free-range kids roamed from yard to yard in a pack.
We lived an apple-pie existence. One of the perks of living on a cul-de- sac was the endless baseball game that went on all summer long. During the school year, we walked to Mark Twain Elementary, then home at lunch for the standard meal of PBJs on Wonder Bread, a side of Fritos and a Flinstones-imprinted glass of orange Hi-C. [Read more]