The year I turned 12 my Grandad came to town and built a house for us. We were crammed in a two bedroom/one bathroom white framed house. My bedroom was off to the side of the back porch. There were 8 of us including my grandad living there.
My dad was a welder and we had, up to that time, moved 42 times following oilfield pipelines. I knew nothing of personal space. I had shared everything, clothes, beds, pallets, brushes, food, shoes, toys of which I don’t remember having many. It was a transient life. My built-in friends were my siblings.
When my dad found an oilfield hub in central Oklahoma in which to put down roots I didn’t know how to make friends or why I would want friends. I didn’t know what kind of independence having my own room would allow me. Money was rolling in due to the boom. Grandad came and built a beautiful brick home on 4th street right across from our own church building. It felt so big. Four bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a formal living area, and beautiful kitchen with a connected garage. We were amazed at the size.
Now, looking back that house was small too, which tells you of the extreme tight space in which we had lived up until then. I remember having lived in hotel rooms, sleeping in an enclosed porch at my Granny’s house, tiny houses and moving all our family of seven’s belongings in a station wagon and a small trailer.
There are many memories from the new house, I grew up there. I experienced my last whoopin’! Went on my first date from there. Started to high school, and came of age. It was a whirlwind of growth.
Maybe, the year turning twelve is pivotal for the masses. I don’t want to return to those days of cleaning the kitchen over and over and over, but I’ll forever be grateful for the room to myself. I will remember reading by flashlight until the wee hours of the morning. It was a place where I was offered a taste of independence and self awareness. It was the first place I felt beautiful and recognized beauty. It was the house my Grandad built.