This house is located on Oakland Street in Urbana, Illinois. It was the last house I lived in before we moved up north to the Chicago land area, the north end of Kane County. The house was made out of concrete blocks and was strong. There were tile floors in all of the rooms and the walls were cold to the touch in the winter. My brother and I slept in the back bedroom on bunk beds. I had the bottom. That worked well for us until one morning I woke up and the clothes I had left on the floor were covered with ants. I called my mother and after she told me that “this is what happens when you leave your clothes on the floor!” My father came home from working on the Ice Cream truck and she spoke to him and they changed our bedroom from the back bedroom to the dining room in the front of the house. I no longer had the luxury of the bottom bunk I had now been relegated to the top bunk, which I hated. It was always hot up there and I could never sleep. I could however hear the bells and reindeer hoofs on the roof. This room we moved to was where the TV was. We never watched TV but it was somehow important and when my Uncle Roy came to visit from Chicago, my father and he tapes three colors of cellophane across the front of it to make the people in it seem like they were in real color. I would never laugh out loud at the two of them. I just agreed that it looked better until they realized that it was a joke and they laughed at themselves. It looked totally dumb to me, but they were happy. I never wanted to leave the house and never wanted to move here, but I never went back. Except to visit once in a while. I was only 6 so what would I know?
I planted my first flowers there. My mother bought me a package of Astors and I carefully planted them by the tree on the left. I don’t know where I got the idea from but I loved how they looked on the package. I remember squatting down and pushing the dirt to the side and then covering up the seeds. I watered them and let them grow. This house had many things to explore.
Especially the big old dilapidated barn across the road. It was forbidden to go there but I could not resist. When no one was looking I went over there and climbed on the old floors and imagined how the cows were, where they ate and where they stood. There was no roof on the building and barely anything left, but I knew it was a barn.