Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Houses that Built Me: 7 Country Farm Lane, Ellington CT

In September of 1998, I knew one simple thing: I hated our new house. I wanted to be back home, at 10 Stein Road, in my room with the emerald green carpet and the stupid tiger border. When we moved into 7 Country Farm Lane, that monstrosity of a house, there were no mirrors. No door knobs. And no phone line.

This was before the days of affordable cell phones, mind you. I was 15-going-on-16, starting my junior year of high school, with friends and a boyfriend and OMG NO PHONE TO SPEAK OF. Pardon the pun. Ish.

The thing is, this was my mother's house through and through. The one that nearly perfectly fits the lyrics, "Mama cut out pictures of houses for years, from Better Homes & Garden magazine...plans were drawn and concrete poured and nail by nail and board by board, daddy gave life to mama's dream..." My father may not have built this house with his own two hands, but my parents worked together every step of the way to make my mother's dream home a reality. To this day her eyes glaze over whenever she talks about this house.

To me, 7 Country Farm Lane was where I became an adult. Not a grown-up, just an adult. It was here that I lost my first real boyfriend, here that I fell in love for the very first time, here that I experienced what true heartbreak really feels like, here that I perfected the art of sneaking out of the house (silence the alarm panel in my parents' bedroom earlier that day, turn off the switch for the motion sensor light, take off your shoes and just...try not to breathe too heavily). It was here that I learned what it was like to be part of a neighborhood and to befriend fellow teens who lived just steps away and to walk home from school with them, give them rides when I was the first to get my license, trick-or-treat with them and even write, produce and star in neighborhood plays with them; here that I graduated from high school.
My surprise 16th birthday party, November 1998. I don't talk to 99% of the people in this picture, anymore. My friend Scott - the one laying on the floor toward the front left of the picture - died of a brain tumor in 2006 :' (
This was the house that I left when I truly left home. The house where I spent my last night as a "single" girl before entering my disastrous first marriage. The last place my parents have lived where I would go back to visit and feel comfortable, feel as if the place was a part of me. But not necessarily the last place I could return to and feel like I was going home--because the main thing I learned from living at 7 Country Farm Lane was that a house does not a home make. Because as much as I wanted to return to 10 Stein Road in the early days, it really wasn't all that long before I realized that home was where my family was, no matter what house they were in. And I later realized that home was where my family was no matter what town or state they were in, as well.
My blood sisters and our "brothers", January 2001 - sending my middle sister Christy and our bro Bryan off to the Ellington High School Snowball

Of course, I thought I was just so grown up when I moved out of 7 Country Farm Lane...for school at Bay Path, for the Walt Disney College Program, when I transferred to Longwood, when Jason and I moved into our first apartment together. But as I mentioned before--I was an adult, as age goes. I graduated from high school and moved out, sure. But I wasn't grown up. Yet again, there was so much more to come... Pin It


  1. I love posts like this one. It tells us more about how you came to be the adult you are. You can write about things that you like but that doesn't give us the sense of who you are at the core.

  2. i love this song, and this post. i, too, have a house that built me that i miss so very much. it's a great memory!