Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Come Onna My House ~ c. 1950

This is the house we lived in from the time I was 8 1/2 until I was almost 13. See that old Victorian lamp in the window? I still have it. Maybe I'll take a photo of it tomorrow and show you what it looks like up close.

Many was the time I rode my bike into that garage and sprinted up the stone steps, taking two at a time. Once I was headed up those steps at my usual warp speed, and on a step I skipped (thankfully) was a bevy of tiny baby copperheads. There had to be at least 8-9 of them. Knowing that wherever the babies are, the mother is not far behind, I completed the rest of the trip up to the house at even faster speed than before. About a week later, my mom and I were coming in from the grocery store, and I was walking up the steps with 2 full brown paper bags of food hiding my view.

All of a sudden, mom hollered, "Judy, STOP! Don't move! Set your bags down! Then I saw on the sidewalk at the top of the steps, a full-grown, 3 foot long copperhead. She was lying in the groove of the walkway, enjoying a sun bath. Lucky for me, she was either too lazy from the heat of the sun to move, or maybe she just hadn't seen me yet. I ran back down the steps, and mom asked me to go around the side yard to our tool house, and get a hoe. I got it, and mom chopped off the head of the snake. Have you ever seen the severed head of a copperhead? The mouth opens and closes repeatedly. I was told that will go on until sundown on that day. I didn't stick around to prove that, and mom gathered up the head and the body and disposed of them in a trash can.

We had only a tiny front porch, but that was the scene for many a "show", put on by a group of my girlfriends. Mom had a trunk full of old clothes, hats, shoes, even curtains in the basement, and we made good use of them, playing dress-up to our heart's content in the lazy summer days. We would pretend to be Broadway chorus girls or movie stars. Carmen Miranda was a fun person for us to mimic back then.

I remember getting a new puppy, after my favorite dog, a black cocker spaniel named Pud, was killed by a car. The new puppy was so tiny and sweet and she helped me to forget the grief I had for Pud. One morning when she was about 9 weeks old, I opened the basement door and called for her, and she didn't appear at the foot of the stairs. When I went to investigate, I found her lying on her side, foaming at the mouth. The vet said she had been poisoned, and we never found out how - or who did it.


The year before we moved from that house, my strongest memory is of the 12" snowfall we had one night; school was cancelled and we spent the day making snow angels. Snow icecream was eaten by the bowlful, as quickly as mom could make it.
Addendum: There are two older posts written about the times I spent in this home. You can find them in the archives for 6-15-05 and 6-9-05.

25 comments:

Anna said...

What a pretty house Judy. I just love using my imagination and picturing your stories you tell.
It is wonderful gift you have shared.
Thanks. :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a lovely house Judy...Not such a lovely "happening" with the Copperhead...Isn't good that your Momma saw it and stopped you like that.
I have never heard about what happens after the head is chopped off...that sounds pretty ghastly and I wouldn't have stuck around either! (lol)

Blitz Krieg said...

Here in the Cincinnati area, there are many, many homes with the garage in the hill like yours along the river. I've always liked the look.

Blitz Krieg said...

Oh, and I forgot to ask, what in the heck is snow ice cream?

Ex-Shammickite said...

Wow, the copperhead snake's head being chopped must have been quite a shock for you. I have never seen one... I assume they were not very welcome in your yard?

Carmi said...

The picture depicts a lovely house. Your words, on the other hand, paint a picture of a real home.

Thanks for the vignette, Judy. I think we all have moments like that from our own childhood. I hope more folks share them as you have here.

rosemary said...

Judy...I will NEVER complain about the bears, stink bugs, damn spiders, turkey poop, cougars, mice...not one single creature. Snakes? Copperheads? Your childhood home was wonderful...My mom had a similar lamp with roses on it.

srp said...

I really, really don't like snakes. I think that after the group of little babies, I would have steered clear of the garage and figured out another way to get to the house.

And that is so horrible about your little puppy. Why people hurt little pets, I just have no idea.

Your mom was really brave, mine would have just stood there screaming.

Beverly said...

That house reminds me a lot of my son David's house in Virginia. Ooh, snakes. I remember once my grandpa had some logs that he was stripping the bark off of when he looked down, and there was a copperhead. Off came the head, but I don't remember waiting around to see the mouth open and close.

raehan said...

Isn't it interesting what we remember? I love these memories.

Princess said...

What beautiful memories you have! (apart from the sad dogs and scarey snakes!) ;)

I love the picture of your house!

You have inspired me to write some of my own childhood memories :D

xoxo

Raggedy said...

What wonderful memories!
Great picture of your old home.
I am glad you survived your snake incident. I had a close encounter with snakes when I was young.
Thank you for the information on the leg cramping thing.
Have a wonderful day!
*^_^
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

Jay said...

This was such a great post. I just love to hear others remenisce. I lived in the same home from age 3-18 while Jason lived in about 15 different homes during that same period. We have very different memories, so it's always interesting to hear how others lived...though I would prefer to live snake-free, thank you very much! Your mother was a brave woman to take care of that so succinctly. I couldn't even do as much to a worm when my grandfather took me fishing.

claude said...

A wonderful post, Judy. The snake story sent shivers through my spine.

Bob-kat said...

What a lovely house. You obviously enjoyed living there and have some great memories, though it was very sad about your puppy. That made me very sad even though it was oviously many years ago.

I love how the gararge is in the hillside and the steps are cut into the side.

Alan G said...

I remain totally in love with the house I grew up in from around age six to sixteen. As time permits, I have been traveling around the area getting photos of some of the places I have lived where I have older photos to compare.

And if you recall...snakes can't draw even a drop of fear from "Snake Boy"!

PI said...

Love the house with the sloping lawn. I'm guessing a copperhead is a snake? Or maybe what we call a slow worm - but they aren't dangerous so posssibly not.

bluemountainmama said...

the photo is not coming up for me....but i love the stories that go along with the house. we had lots of copperheads on our farm in ky b/c we lived in lowlands that were very swampy. i had no idea their mouths did that, though. i know my dad used the hoe on more than one. such a sad tale about your puppy....

utenzi said...

I love that garage and the stone steps too, Judy. I never saw a poisonous snake as a kid. I lived too far north for those critters--that's one of the few good things about living in a cold place.

Jennifer said...

I know that house. In fact, I've been in it. It's less than two miles from the front porch of the house I grew up in (Ridgeview Drive, the dead end piece of Macon), and around the corner from my husband's childhood home on Lynn Street, off of Forest Circle.

Such a tiny, tiny world.

trinamick said...

That house is gorgeous. My sister has always wanted one like that.

Tammy said...

My Hubby's grandmother killed snakes that way...just like we would kill a wasp or a bug...just as matter of fact...me I just don't think I could do it...unless someone's life was in danger...
:-D

Jamie Dawn said...

What a neat looking house.
I'm sure those dress-up shows were FUN!
Ewww! Snakes! YUCKY!!!

colleenR said...

I especially like the little underground garage. The whole set up looks idylic. Is it still there?

colleen said...

I was at your place while you were at mine!

I don't know about bloglines. I wonder if anyone else uses it for my site and if it's not working for them as well. Who should we complain to?!!