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Friday, January 7, 2011

The House that Burned Down

The House that Burned Down was the second house I've lived in; it was a brick house on Weber Street. We moved there when I was quite young, around 4 years old. The day we arrived is one of my fondest memories. It was a sunny summer day, the lavender-coloured lilacs which lined the side of the driveway giving off their lovely scent. On the wooden porch to the side of the door, we had a large vase filled with dried, long-stalked thistles. The backyard was quite long (to my small mind, anyway). The chain link fence on the left side was lined with rose bushes, and a swing made from rope and a big white pail hung from the tree on the right. I used that swing once to get away from an army of fire ants. There was a tree fort built onto a stump in the back corner; it didn't get much use, and eventually became a ruins. My father had a vegetable garden out back, which I would sometimes help him with (by eating the veggies- the raw broccoli was amazing, as was the rhubarb).

I lived there for about two years, just prior to starting kindergarten, before my parents split up and my mother, sister and I moved into the co-op. My sister and I visited my father every other weekend. One night, my father was washing a bunch of kale to give to friends. He went out back, leaving the tap running; the sink overflowed, flooding the kitchen. I stood on a chair yelling for him. This may have also been the night we were nearly scared to death watching the Gooey Gus episode of Ghost Writer...My father often took us to McDonald's, and we'd sit out back on the picnic table in the summer, playing with the happy meal toys (which still came in a box).

At some point, my father's girlfriend was varnishing a dresser or something, and the house caught fire. She said she didn't know what happened, though she was a smoker, and none too bright...Regardless, no one was hurt, but the house was destroyed. We got to see it being demolished with the wrecking ball. My father set up lawn chairs across the street; it was pretty cool.

My father lived in a couple of places on that same street, across from the spot where the house used to be. He turned the entire plot in a garden. The garden, I believe, was taken care of for a little while after his death, though the spot has sat empty for years now. I went there a few years ago, and a piece of the rope was still tied to the tree.

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