Rhode Island Home Memories

Mint Water Brook Lane, Portsmouth, Rhode Island (Temporary Stay)

My second cousin, Isabella, her mom, Dawnie, and I Christmas 2003 at my Aunt Judy’s house.

I’m omitting the house number as my family still lives in this home.

My aunt’s house that used to be my grandmother’s house.  Google didn’t recognize the address but that’s ok.  If you drove down this pothole studded dirt road, you’d find the place easily enough.  There aren’t a lot of houses on this street.

I will try and find more information about my aunt’s house for you after I discuss the issue with my family.  However, I will give you the information I already have now.  My grandmother had six children: Paul, Roger, Dennis, Judy, Michael, and my mom, Dawn; my Uncle Paul served in Vietnam and passed away last year; my Uncle Roger died when he was seventeen; and my mom passed away at thirty-four from lung cancer.  My grandmother also passed away from lung cancer; I believe she was seventy-one when she passed.  I was serving in Iraq when the I got the news of her passing.  My grandmother had a bit of a tough life; she was born fourteen years after her second brother and her mom, my Meme, wasn’t particularly close to her.  She put my grandmother in an orphanage twice when my grandmother was young; I have no real memories of my grandmother as she died when I was still young.  I think I was nine or so when she passed.

I don’t know the square footage of my aunt’s home but it has undergone changes over the years.  The home used to be surrounded by potato fields when my mom and her siblings grew up in the house but I can’t recall what’s around it now.  There are three bedrooms upstairs (one of which has a skylight) and I remember playing a lot of Mortal Combat with my siblings upstairs.  The downstairs porch that was an add-on was later turned into another bedroom.

I think of Christmas when I think of my aunt’s home.  We had a number of family get-togethers there. The staircase situates itself well to be the backdrop for the Christmas tree.  When you open the door, you are greeted with the stairs immediately in front of you (I KNOW….totally against the functions of Feng Shui but that’s the home’s design).  There is a octagon shaped window as you walk up the stairs on your right.  Downstairs, you have the living room on your left with the kitchen and combined dining space directly behind.  There is a single bathroom off the dining space with a laundry area; granted, it’s not my ideal home design to have a bathroom off the kitchen.  And the closed in porch now extra bedroom.

16 Bourbon Street, Portsmouth, Rhode Island (1997-1998)

My twin, Jennifer, my Uncle Paul, my grandmother (mom’s mom), my mom, and my older sister, Leslie at our 16 Bourbon St. home (Portsmouth, RI)

My family’s split level home; this one was quite the family favorite.  This four bedroom, one and a half bathroom, 1,276 sq. ft home on .37 acres was built in 1978.  Out back, there was a tri-level deck where my dad once killed a rat in the garage can using one of his golf clubs!  Haha.  But that house was pretty wonderful.  The backyard space was comfortable and fenced-in and my dad had space to attempt a tiny garden; the wild rabbits loved the kohl rabbi my dad planted and we had Blue Jays frequently in the front yard.  We had a Red Maple out front, too.  My sister, Leslie, and I thought the older guys that lived in the nearby apartment building were cute.

This was the home we lived in when my Uncle Den was promoted to Police Chief and my parents threw him a party.  This is the home where all my sisters and I got the chickenpox and my parents got us a dog out of pity.  Haha. We all thought our parents had gotten us a bunny because the dog has these long ears; turned out, we got a Basset Hound that we later named Buddy.  He got along well with our first dog, Smokey, from our California days.

When you walk into this home, you enter on the main floor; you walk into the living room with the dining space facing you, stairs to your left, and the kitchen off to the right of the dining space.  On the other side of the staircase, you have a short flight of stairs that leads down to the second level (a bedroom and half bath on this left). Going down from this level, you enter the recreation room that has a laundry space attached to it and a small utility room off of the laundry room.

My grandmother later left our family to live down in Florida with her boyfriend, Lew.  I was lucky enough to visit them in their home after my first deployment in Iraq.  My grandmother’s boyfriend absolutely dotted on her and it was great when they would work out a visit with me while I was attending Florida Southern College from August 2002 to May 2003 (prior to becoming a Marine).  My grandmother never became a “computer person” so when I went to visit her, we had quite an interesting time.  We would watch the home shopping network (one of her favorite activities after her cancer left her frequently bedridden) and I watched “Gone with the Wind” for the first time with her.

Pleasant St., Portsmouth, Rhode Island (My parents bought a home!) (August 23, 1998-the present for my family)

My twin and I in our shared bedroom post high school

My family still lives here so no giving away the house number.

This raised ranch has undergone some changes over the years as has my family.

This is my family home.  According to Zillow.com, it was built in 1962, is a 3 bedroom (there is a downstairs room that is currently used as a bedroom), 2 bath, 1,366 sq. ft home that sits on 0.47 acres.  When my family went to look at this house, we actually got to meet some of our neighbors, who we are still friends with today.

I was a high school freshman in 1998.  My twin and I lived in the downstairs room, which is technically not a bedroom as it doesn’t meet the code for bedroom height.  There is a laundry room downstairs that also has access to the two car garage.  We’ve had several holiday dinners at this home although I haven’t been home in years for the holidays.  Last year, I was back there interning with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service but left in the middle of November.

The holidays I remember most are still the last ones I had with my mom before she succumbed to lung cancer on June 9, 2000.  That last Thanksgiving we had taken a video of our time together; she had already lost her hair at that point so it’s still pretty upsetting to see those images because they don’t truly represent the woman my mom was back before cancer.  She had written journal entries to each one of us in our own composition books and mine mentioned how happy she was that everyone had pitched in that year.  I made an ice cream pie I learned to make in my culinary class.  I do think this is one of those times where we really tried to make it through the holidays with very little complaints.  Christmas was also the same; it was particularly touching when my mom broke down in tears over my twin’s excitement with her Christmas present that year, a parakeet.

Mom’s last Christmas with us.

My family has changed over the years after my mom’s passing on June 9, 2000.  My dad remarried and my step mom, Sue,  and my step siblings, Kyle and Kaitlan, moved into our home. Over the years, my dad and step mom have done several projects to improve the home to include painting, updating the flooring, and putting in the new deck out front.

Little Bit and I sitting on the new front deck my dad built (Nov. 2011)

The home suits everyone a little bit better now that my older sister, my twin, and I have moved out and the house isn’t so crowded.  My three younger siblings all have their own rooms, which reflect their very different personalities.  My older sister, Leslie, currently lives in Texas.  My twin, lives up the street from my dad in her own apartment. And before I ended up where I am now, I made the journey to Florida for college.  See you for the next blog post.


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