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  • lynnheider30


As a kid, I never thought much about the house I grew up in, a white frame house in a central city neighborhood in Indianapolis. Never thought it was any place special, pretty, or fancy. I was even ashamed of it at times because it seemed so modest. Sometimes our grass was too high, and our hedges were not neatly trimmed. I still generally hate yardwork, but maybe that’s why ever since I’ve been a grownup, I’ve made sure the yard looks good, wherever I live.

Late last summer, a family friend shared a real estate listing for the house I grew up in. It’s been bought and sold many times since we moved away, but this 2021 listing was a grabber. The house looked stunning – and very different. A remodel had taken out the front porch and some of the walls, but the good bones were still there. Taking a virtual walk through those rooms brought back a lot of memories. Good memories.

My room was on the upper left, facing the front yard and the little park across the street.

That gorgeous banister is the same one I used to slide down, 55 years and 100 pounds ago.

For the life of me, I never figured out how to slide up it, like Mary Poppins.

Those stairs are the same ones we four children would race down every Christmas morning. Dad took movies of that race every year.

We’d sit in front of a roaring fire and marvel that Santa had made it down that skinny chimney. With four kids in the house, there was always an overflow of gifts under the Christmas tree, and we had to open gifts ONE. AT. A. TIME. It took forever. It was annoying. So were my brothers. My little sister was never annoying.

That living room floor is where my dad sat listening to a Nancy Wilson album one day, called “With Tender Loving Care.” He’d name his radio station after that album cover. WTLC, like that house, still stands in Indy but my family sold both in 1974.

In that breakfast nook, I ate my mom’s famous biscuits one morning and announced I’d like to be a lawyer when I grew up. That was the day my brother told me girls couldn’t be lawyers, but that, if I weren’t so ugly, I might be able to marry one. My mom was an early feminist, and she knew how to stage a good showdown. Mom made Doug get the Yellow Pages and count the number of women lawyers. There were a couple of dozen in those days. These days, there are probably at least a couple thousand. Mom said, “See, Doug? Lynn can be anything she wants to be.” After all that, I never became an attorney.

I wonder if the buyers know about the fishpond. It’s in the backyard, not far from the steps. My parents had it filled in fearing we’d drown. My little sister and I dug it up and filled it with water from the garden hose. But we couldn’t figure out how to get the water clean enough to swim in. The parents drained it and filled it again with dirt and warned us to leave it alone. I never did get the swimming pool I dreamed of.

I once read an article about “Indianapolis connective disorder,” a syndrome that people who’d grown up in my oldest brother’s era (think: David Letterman and Jane Pauley) missed the city terribly if they moved away. I was never diagnosed with that condition and have lived in and loved eight cities since then. I am still a Hoosier to my core. I love basketball – it doesn’t matter who is playing. And I have a killer work ethic. I don’t go back to Indy often, but I did a lot of dreaming in that white frame house, the house that built me.

Postscript: The house sold days after it was listed. I’ve been meaning to send the new owners a card. They need to know about the fishpond. Oh, and I adore my brothers and sister.

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