Friday, October 24, 2008

A Moveable Friday Five

There are places I'll remember
all my life, though some have changed
some forever, not for better,
some are lost, and some remain... -- The Beatles

RevGalBlogPals' Singing Owl is anticipating having her adult child and family moving in with Mom and Dad. So moving is on her mind:

This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.

Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?

If you have lived in less than five places, you can tell us about fantasy location.

I responded, on that blog, that I didn't think I had five favorite locations. But I'll share what I have:

1. My childhood home. I grew up in a hip-roofed stone farmhouse, on the family farm. I loved our house, especially the front porch; I even loved the quirks, like the cavernous crawlspace under the attic stairs and our mysterious kitchen "door to nowhere." (The grandparents had originally wanted to build an outside stairway, but for whatever reason that never happened.) I also loved the farm in its entirety -- the barn, the outbuildings, the pastures and fields. I spent a large chunk of my childhood simply wandering our property, observing nature and thinking my thoughts.

My senior-year dorm. Unlike many of my fellows, I lived on campus all four years of college; maybe because I enjoyed living in the oldest extant residential section on campus. The buildings had a palpable history; they were pretty, inside and out; they were cozy, quirky places to live, unlike the spartan Soviet-style newer dormatories; and residents took pride in place. My senior year -- thanks to my pulling an all-nighter in line to win the privilege of dwelling there -- I lived in an "alternative" residence hall, among these old grand dames of student housing, that had been retrofitted to accomodate communal kitchens on each floor, in lieu of a common cafeteria. This dorm tended to attract not only students looking for cheaper digs, but what we'd now call "crunchies" -- neo-hippies and other noncomformists who tended to be vegetarians or whole-foods aficionados. I hated my roommate that year (she was definitely not "crunchy"), but I loved my floormates, and my surrounds. If you're ever visiting Michigan State University and happen to pass Williams Hall -- give it a cheery wave, from a grateful Class of '83 happy camper.

3. Cadillac, Michigan. I can't say much about my rental accomodations...but for the most part I enjoyed living in the community of Cadillac -- which, sadly, is often treated as a convenient pit stop by vacationers speeding up to more glamorous resort areas in the northwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Cadillac has a wonderful city park system that includes everything from lakeside walking trails to wooded picnic areas to a band shell to the city Sound Garden where you can get your rhythm on via all manner of permanent installations. It has a good, utilitarian business district that includes convenient big-box stores, a few interesting boutiquey places and visit-worthy restaurants of all price ranges. They have a very nice summer music series at the city band shell -- lots of jazz -- and a well-regarded First Night celebration New Year's Eve.

4. Cold Comfort Cottage. My neverending home maintenance woes of my favorite things is sitting on the front porch, or in the wintertime watching the birds from the dining room windows. It's generally quiet and peaceful, the surrounding woods creating a welcome buffer from the rest of the world.

5. The Big House. I am learning to love the trees surrounding The Big House, although the woods isn't as accessible as that around CCC -- the ground is so uneven that you're constantly having to anchor yourself against a tree to keep from pitching forward into a humus-y divot...which isn't advisable considering the poison ivy that infests much of the wooded part of the property. (We are considering having our landscaping friend make a winding path through the trees for us, that we can cover with wood chips and keep cleared.) But the more I wander around the more things I notice, like a large, exciting (to me) colony of ferns that I can't identify. I am increasingly interested in improving the aesthetics of our backyard pond, which I love to walk around because it reminds me of my childhood exploring the marshes and ditches of the farm, and in getting some of the local birds to visit our bird feeding stations. I enjoy our patio. I absolutely love our front room, a small, bright room filled with antique furniture and memorabilia; if we have a "no electronic media" evening we like to sit in here. I like our dining room. I love the artwork that The Kids have given us, and our own contributions in the past three years.

Hmmm. I guess I do have five favorite places.

Bonus: My fantasy living location is in a vintage -- 30's or 40's era -- cottage, not necessarily in this state. Over on my food blog someone pointed me to her blog, all about life in her 40's-era log cabin, and it inspired me; ditto my cousin-in-laws' equally cute, cozy inherited weekend hideway up near Traverse City. I think dismantling these examples of Upper Midwest Americana in favor of the conspicuously consumptive, McSame McMansions now infesting our lake areas (wonder what's going to happen to them now, in the wake of the economic downturn?) was a mistake, and a loss.


Teri said...

I enjoy that cold comfort is on your list in spite of (because of?) all the neediness of it. :-)

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

We also wonder about the McMansions at "the lake" that cost millions and drive up the property taxes of all the neighbors. But I doubt that they are McSame, not if they are paying a lot to an architect to design them. Unless, of course, you mean same as in suburban same and unimaginative architects.

Having lived for real in a log cabin built in the early '50's, I got over that part of my earlier longing to have a log cabin of any kind. They are a lot of work to maintain compared to a house and each log gets dusty and they aren't as warm as legend would tell us.

Beth said...

Cadillac, MI. We drove through there on the way to my SIL's home near Sleeping Bear Dunes. My husband and I thought it was a pretty town; I'm glad to know it's a nice place to live!

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

I love big roomy porches on homes...just so inviting.