Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Merriman Road: Running Away

When we moved in it was already my sixth house, and maybe the ugliest of all. It never occurred to me that I'd stay there. It never occurred to my mother, either. At that point we were on a pace of a new home every 1.5 years.

There were maps in the basement that showed our pretty (ugly) Victorian farmhouse was the only one on Merriman Road between us and Stan Hywet. But all of our friends were sure we'd move down the street, closer to it -- or at least next to Pat or Steve. Judie Bigelow had space reserved for the inevitable Barr tennis court. Looking back on it, and this just occurred to me, I believe she may have been in collusion with my mother.

But Dad thwarted this. Perhaps his commute was better where we were. I drove it recently and was surprised how far away Goodyear was.

Maybe he was mad by then. If I'd been Dad at that age there are very few reasons you could have dragged me away from that peculiar house with all its porches. (Eventually, for the record, Goodyear bought the house and sent him to Brussels. There ended the Barrs.) There was a whitewashed basement where I had a chemistry set and the laundry was done and there were very many subterranean rooms, one designated for wine.

I lived in the maid's quarters. Coming from Maplewood (Susan) I was told that I'd be living there, the laundry chute in my room. (In Maplewood, I had three rooms to myself on the third floor.) My dad put the barrel of a shotgun underneath my mattress and pulled it out at 5am on Saturdays; everyone threw underwear down through the slot in my floor. Pat will affirm this, and Charlie would. Woody and Mark will confirm that it was a too small house with my brothers right next door. Who only Woody liked.

The creaky back staircase was mine, though. I talked on it with the red wall phone coiled from the kitchen and crept down it for about ten years, Dad protesting, especially when I talked to Mark. With him and Woody, Linda, Eve, Susan, Missy, Betsy, Doug, Rachel, Pam, Robin, Dana, Eric, Libby, Gibby, Brett, Bill, Jill, Tamra, John, Pat, Toni, Gretchen. Fred. Steve. Charlie. Suzanne Spiller. Walt. Traci and Jay.
For such a nice boy, all I ever did was run away.

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