Some rocks cannot be moved. No matter how hard you try to push, some things just are immovable. Such was the rock in our basement. I’m not making an analogy about rocks and stubbornness. There was a huge rock in our home on Pierre Ave in the basement that couldn’t be moved, dug out, or even exploded with dynamite. We know they tried to explode the rock into tiny pieces because there were drill holes dug into the rock where the dynamite sticks were place with scorch marks around it. The rock would not be moved so they built a house around it. In the basement there was The Rock Room. The rock had a small room built around it. You wouldn’t even know it was a room when you passed it. It just looked like part of the wall. The door had no knob; it wasn’t even a real door, it was like a secret panel of drywall that was on hinges. We stored some junk in that room, but for the most part I stayed out of it. I’m sure my parents yelled at me not to go on there and play on the big fucking rock in our house.
The first day we moved in, there was a boy and his brother at the end of the dead-end street climbing a tree. The older brother was in the tree and his mom and younger baby brother were watching him. We went over to say hi and make friends, and the boy named Alejandro said "Ecco buttus!" We could tell he spoke Spanish, and for a moment thought he was speaking Spanish to us, but it was just jibberish. Alex and my brother would come to be friends and play together a lot.
Me in my awesome bunk bed with kitten poster
Our yard had a shed in the back that looked like a miniature version of our house. Just beyond our yard was the park, Belmont Hill, the highest point in town. The house that I spent all the years of being in elementary school was also right across the street from school. Apart from the rock in the basement, it was a normal home for the neighborhood. It was a two-family house with a back-yard and a garage. It was a two-bedroom apartment, which was a step up from our previous living arrangement. My brother and I were excited to get bunk beds for our bedroom! I got the top bunk, and I’d like to say it was because I was older and could pick what I wanted, but the true reason I cannot divulge on here. In case my brother ever figures out what an internet is, and somehow figures out what a blog is, I cannot write the true reason on here and embarrass him. My mom put so much thought into that room. She wanted it to be nice for a girl or a boy, so she sponge painted alternating square patterns in blue and pink throughout the room.
Sharing a room never really fazed either of us until we got older. The only thing that had bothered me was my brother’s obsessions. He couldn’t fall asleep in complete silence, so he had a tape deck beside his pillow so he could listen to something quietly as he drifted to sleep. The two tapes that stick out in my mind that he played relentlessly are very different from each other. One was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic-book read-along companion. The other was some promotional tape from Quaker State Oil that he had gotten from dad, who ran an auto repair shop. It was a mix tape with a lot of oldies with hits like “Runaway” by Del Shannon, “Chantilly Lace” by The Big Bopper, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles and “All Summer Long” by The Beach Boys. The music itself didn’t bother me, but hearing anything every single night on repeat is bound to drive a person mad.
It was another lovely neighborhood with kids all around to play with. Right next door to me lived a family that
My 7th Birthday party R to L: Me, Dad, Tim, Brian, Jessica
we became quick friends with. Brian was a year older than me and his younger sister Tara, who was a year and a half younger than I was were the best friends I had growing up there. We played all the time, outside and inside, driving all of our parents crazy on the days it rained and we were stuck indoors. Tara and I played dolls and Barbies a lot, and when we played with everyone outside, we had games like Ball Tag, which was basically dodge ball with bases I suppose. Brian was the cutest boy in the whole world. I had hearts in my eyes whenever he was around. He had the prettiest blue eyes, golden curly hair, he was smart and he liked Guns ‘n Roses. If that’s not the basis for a schoolgirl crush then I don’t know what is. He was so cute he was even in commercials! I was jealous of how he got to go off to The City to audition and shoot commercials for stuff like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. He was the most famous person I knew. Tara was in dance classes, and I was equally jealous of her. I wished I could move as gracefully as a dancer, but I had (and still continue) no rhythm. The saddest day of my childhood for the most part was when they moved away. On the moving day, I sat atop my garage, cried and ate Berry Berry Kix right from the box as the moving truck pulled away. For a kid, that’s like hitting rock bottom and swigging jack straight from the bottle.
Speaking of neighbors, since it was a two-family house, we often had neighbors upstairs. One was a single mom and a girl named Jessica. We were friends and played Barbies, as much as she would with a kid two
L to R: Alex, Tara, Anthony & Me
years younger than she was. The best neighbors ever, though, were two guys that I only remember as Bill and Ted. They were single dudes in their 20’s and they were in a band. They were absolutely the epitome of cool to me. I remember after they moved in, they needed my dad’s help running a hose from the yard up to Bill’s bedroom. To fill his water bed. Could he possibly be more cool?? I wanted to hang out with them all the time, but that didn’t happen. No one entrusts the care of their kids to a couple of stoners in a band. I still think they’d be the best babysitters ever.
My kitty Snowshoes
Even though I was convinced it was haunted, there were so many good times at this house. Holidays, parties, barbeques, with family friends and neighbors. My cousin Robin still remembers the big Memorial Day and Fourth of July barbeques with all the family, passing potato salad and platters of food out the kitchen window to the next in the chain in the yard. I found my beloved pet, my cat Snowshoes (rest in peace sweet kitty) in the yard at this house. I had chicken pox in that house at the same time with my dad (rest in peace daddy). He never had it growing up, so once our neighbors Brian and Tara got the pox, we weren’t far behind to catch it next. I remember being so sick, and to keep the sickies in the same room together, my mom had me and my dad sharing the bed in the daytime. Both of us were whiny and miserable. He was just as bad as me, a grown
man reduced to child-like vulnerability by the chicken pox. I was a little sad when in the summer before 7th grade began my family decided to move, but at the same time this meant I would have my own bedroom, something very important to a 12 year old girl.