A young friend (McMansion-child) of my daughter’s walked into our then house and exclaimed, “Oh, this is the smallest house I’ve ever been in!”
It probably was. Our house was built in 1920, and from then until the end of the Second World War it was the local house women went to have their babies. Apparently labour wards didn’t exist in hospitals back then, they’d just pop down to the local mid-wife’s abode. Our lounge room was the three-bed ward, my eldest daughter’s bedroom the delivery room. New mothers stayed for TEN days! (The mind boggles how the midwife managed the washing, and cooking … )
Our chirpy young visitor was correct in her real estate appraisal, and we added a second living area and indoor/outdoor deck on later. But I was often comparing us against the Jones’s mothers with their architect designed, well-appointed homes at my daughters’ school, trying not to. It was an affluent suburb, and we didn’t have a ‘normal’ house. But I discovered it was a blessing, a good lesson in life – march to the beat of a your own drum, ie don’t apologise if your drum is smaller, or different, or a bit quirkier. Are you happy with your drum? Well, then …
Besides, did other, fancy homes have –
1. – a tree house?
2. – a flying fox?
3. – feral Cabbages roaming the garden?
4. – a kookaburra window made by arty brother-in-law?
5. – not a man-shed to die for, but a man-shed that refused to die.
6. – TWO shower-heads in the shower? (it was like that when we bought the house, I swear!)
7. – wonderful neighbours? (You know who you are :))
8. – ghosts? We didn’t either, but we should have!
9. – a frog pond whose inhabitants made ‘other’ neighbours complain, and hardly any visiting children fell into.
After renovating and narrowly avoiding an owner-builder-style divorce, we moved to Canberra. Our current home is a plain-Jane type home. I now write in my spare time, so poor Jane is neglected, incontinent during wet weather and has annoying wool carpet which collects stains, but she’s comfortable, and my husband makes wonderful wine in the cellar.
Unfortunately said husband (please note – I said the wine was wonderful, not the husband,) has stamped his different beat on to Jane, and the neighbours are talking, but I’ll keep that story for the next post. I never said the beat of your own drum had to be embarrassingly eccentric.