My childhood home on Stephens Street was a poorly built track piece in the booming suburbs of the fifties. Ten miles from downtown and a few more from a farm town that would transition to little more than one of the states largest strip mall repositories over the next few decades.
Our place was one of the smallest, cheapest models in the neighborhood, with three bedrooms, one bath, a single garage — maybe a thousand square feet. The yard was never finished, maybe because of my mom’s scattered-ness and dad’s drinking. Who can say?
The place was defined by contradictions. It was home, my place of rest and protection. It was a mess of screaming fights, lonely fears, abuse and waiting for the next bad thing. I remember Mom would give us pajamas hot from the dryer on a winter night. I remember days without seeing my dad, not knowing if it was a blessing or a curse.