Better late than never, my response to March 3’s Daily Prompt:
I grew up in the 1960’s in the Long Island suburbs, 65 miles east of New York City. My childhood home was in a post-war development of cookie-cutter homes, almost identical to the more well-known Levittown. The builder had worked for Levitt after the war, so he knew all the tricks to turning out economical houses. There were two basic models in our neighborhood, a two-story cape or a single-story ranch. Ours was the latter style, a 1200 square-foot three-bedroom, one bath ranch, tiny by modern standards. We had moved from an apartment in the city, so the house seemed palatial to our family.
The house was just big enough for our family of four, with an eat-in kitchen, a living room and an unfinished basement. From the outside, our home looked pretty much like every other ranch on the street, the only difference being the house color. Barn red shingles covered the front and back, with black shutters trimming the windows. A black metal silhouette of a horse and buggy with the house number hung just above the front door bell. There was a patch of scrawny grass with a tall maple tree that shaded the sidewalk and an exotic tree called a mimosa that bloomed in soft pinkish spindly flowers with a sickly sweet scent. The maple had a lower branch at just the perfect height for climbing, and I soon moved into the tree’s crook with my library books, hidden from view by the foliage. A concrete three-step stoop led to the front door, which opened directly into a miniscule entry with a coat closet. If you turned left, you were in the living room. The room was carpeted with a deep green velvet rug that covered most of the hardwood floor. There was just enough room to accommodate a two-seat floral sofa, a coffee table, my father’s faded red easy chair and a brownish wing chair.
If you turned right, you immediately stepped into the kitchen, gleaming with avocado appliances consisting of a range with an oven and a refrigerator with the freezer compartment inside. The stainless steel sink was scrunched into a corner of the compact kitchen; with a small square of speckled white counter just big enough for a dish drainer. My mother was a good plain cook back then. Convenience food was unheard of, with the exception of Swanson TV dinners and Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks. Most days, the kitchen filled with the tantalizing aroma of baked chicken or spaghetti sauce. The rhythmic sounds of the pressure cooker noisily clattering and hissing on the stove announced when it was pot roast night. Mom was the proud owner of a complete set of dark brown Pfaltzgraff stoneware and she served every meal on matching plates and bowls. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all served at an aluminum table topped with white Formica, surrounded by four aluminum chairs with white and silver vinyl seats. A small home, but one filled with love.