Places I’ve Lived – the Hahn House

January 31, 2010 at 8:03 pm (Memoir) (, , , , , )

This is the first house I remember living in. It is the Hahn House; we called it that because we rented it from Mr. & Mrs. Hahn. This picture was taken after we moved out. At the front, of the picture, you can see the large garden space my mother used every year. When we lived there, there were two rows of raspberries at the bottom of the garden as well as many other common garden vegetables (potatoes, peas, corn etc).

The picture was probably taken in the 70s – notice the boarded up building across the street; that was a bakery when we were living in the Hahn House. The old fire house is to the right. There is an alley to the left. We use to play there a lot on spring, summer and fall evenings.

I lived in the Hahn House from the time I was a year old until we moved the Fall I was thirteen. It was a small house. I went back before they tore it down. I was about nineteen or twenty; the house seemed so small. It’s hard to imagine the five of us living there (Mom and four kids).

Though, truth be told, we didn’t spend a lot of our time inside. As kids, we roamed around town and in the alleys only coming home to eat. I liked to curl up in corners, on rainy or snowy days, and read. I would burrow under the bed or in a closet and read all afternoon.

The outside of the house was tar paper brick. It looked like this picture but had a brick pattern carved into it. Mom toilet trained us using an outhouse. We got indoor plumbing by the time I was four or so. I remember them building the addition.

Memory; this is about memory. It started out as a memory exercise. How much could I remember about that time, that house? How much did we have? Not a lot, not a lot to remember if you’re talking about possessions.

This is the main floor. Sorry, I can’t draw. My angles are off. However, I tried my best and used some floor plan symbols to show windows and doors. The window in the kitchen overlooked a wall. I’m sure I will tell you stories, sooner or later, about the basement. My older sisters were meanies and locked me down there occasionally.

But today, this is about memory. I remember the main floor better then upstairs. But I still don’t know if we had a kitchen table. My memory says yes; my mother says no. She remembered the kitchen window being over the stove because she almost set the curtains on fire. 🙂 I wonder to if we had an armchair in the front room? It’s just at the corner of my memory that maybe there was.

Honestly, it looks like there was not much room for us all to sit in the front room. As a kid, I didn’t get to watch TV a lot. One, we only had two channels and two, we played outside most nights until bedtime. There were always a gaggle of kids to run around with.

The downstairs bedroom I shared with my mom. My two older sisters and baby brother slept upstairs. I didn’t have my own room until I was thirteen.

My eldest sister had the big room with a phone extension, my middle sister had the window and baby brother was in the small room. I don’t remember if he had a closet or a dresser? I think my older sisters shared a closet and had no dressers. I liked to hide in my big sister’s sloped closet, way back, and read.

My eldest sister was in last week and what she remembers is that all of us would end up in her bed. Which makes sense; my mother worked nights a lot and big sister would babysit. (She’s only four years older than me). We’d congregate in her room because it had both a door and a phone.

The bad part was that it also had a window and the town bar was across the street. We’d lie there listening to the drunks and try to fall asleep before mom got home. You’re thinking, bad parent, aren’t you?

She wasn’t. She was doing her best after Dad left her with four kids, too many bills and no money. We didn’t get public assistance right away and even then money was always tight. We managed, that’s what families did and still do. We were lucky that both sets of grandparents were near by and that many in town helped when they could.

But, this is about memory and housing. If you try to draw your first place of residence, what would you remember?



  1. Kathy said,

    What a good memory you have,Gigi! This is a great drawing/memory exercise. You wrote in such a way that I felt drawn right into the house; almost like I could picture the place. I’ll bet you feel nostalgic remembering it. Thank you for sharing about it.

  2. halloween spirit said,

    Interesting exercise. There are so many memories attached to childhood homes, you probably uncovered more layers the deeper you searched. When I begin to think of my childhood home, I find I have distinct memories attached to almost every room.

  3. Sandra said,

    Your memories are very touching and you draw very vivid pictures of your home. Thank you for sharing this story.

  4. Pictures I Wish I Had « Solitary Spinster said,

    […] shown you a picture of the Hahn house. I’d  like a closer view. I’d like to have a close-up or two of the old fashioned tar […]

  5. Pop Shoppe and Penny Candy « Solitary Spinster said,

    […] liked going to the butcher shop. It was across the alley from the Hahn house and Rusty (& his wife Ruth) had their house attached to the shop. They were a religious […]

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    […] Spinster land; today is episode two. The series centers on place and memory. Episode one, the Hahn House, can be found by clicking on the […]

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    […] back, when I lived in the Hahn […]

  9. Home: 13 Meditations | Solitary Spinster said,

    […] bother – there were only two channels and very little children’s programming). We had a front porch and along the back shelves were the high heels that my mother no longer wore. We wore them out […]

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    […] when I was growing up were little old ladies. There was my witch. There was Mama H. There was our landlady. There were the two honourary grandmothers who lived across from us (one on each side – I was […]

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    […] to a Chinese cafe. Our small town was no exception. Our Chinese cafe was down the alley from the Hahn house and my best friend lived there with her mother (a widow), her grandmother (her father’s […]

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