Hugh’s Weekly #Photo Challenge: Week 29 – ‘Open
My childhood was spent living in a 3-bedroom home next to an 8-lane highway.
No, the light from above is not shining down on me. Dad wasn’t much of a photographer, but this picture shows what the street in front of my home was like. By the time I graduated from high school, the traffic was thicker than shoppers in front of a Superstore on Black Friday.
To give you an idea of the size of said home, here is a side view. The car sticking out of the carport is a Chevy Biscayne station wagon. If you put 2 1/2 of the same car, one in front of the other, that’s the length of this 1-bath home. Mom used the smallest bedroom as a den that crowded inside it a 6 foot long couch, one WWII surplus wood desk and matching filing cabinet.
My mother disliked South Florida and her cramped living conditions. She wanted SPACE! COUNTRY! The sounds of birds singing instead of car horns honking. Saving pennies, dimes and nickels, she amassed enough to buy a piece of land in North Florida. I visited as little as possible, swearing that I would never live in that bare-bones home. It didn’t even have a dishwasher!
I don’t know if it’s in the LeGendre blood to roam, but I longed for adventure, travel, being anywhere but in that tiny little house sharing a bedroom with my sister that squeezed 2 twin beds between a make-shift study desk made from 2 orange crates and an old door.
Between the time I was 20 and 42, I think I lived in 7 different states and 14 different homes, but there were so many it’s hard to keep track of. There was one place I lived that had WAY too much open space, a subdivision built on a former corn field.
Undoubtedly you noticed the 25 foot motor home in front of the 2 1/2 car garage. My parents had sold their home and purchased a Mobilux, traveling the USA for 7 years when gas prices were under 50 cents a gallon.
My children both inherited the LeGendre travel gene, living in different states and visiting different parts of the world. I traveled through Morocco with my daughter for 2 weeks, visiting the mountain town of Chefchaouen during the one time of year there was no room at the inn. But they had blankets on the roof and we were welcome to sleep up there for $2 apiece. I slept quite well, thank you, and took this picture of my daughter still dreaming of 5-star hotels, hot tubs, and room service. Did I mention it had rained one of the few times during the year and most of the blankets were wet?
Remember how I swore I’d never live in my mother’s home in North Florida? It’s the reason I try not to say never. My dad passed on in 1985, and mom joined him in 1993. I’ve lived here for 23 years among the trees listening to the sounds of bird chirps, frog grunts, dog barks, with the occasional insult of cars passing on a 2-lane paved road a few blocks down.
I love open spaces with dirt roads that beckon you toward exploration. This is the curve in the road that leads to the home my parents built, lined with trees and framed by an expressive sky. It’s a writer’s dreamscape.
When people ask me if I plan to relocate, I tell them all the same thing, “The next time I move, it will be to Forest Lawn.”