Well, not MY house, but the house I lived in as a little kid. 409 North Euclid. The busiest street in Pierre. The main drag. The cool place to be. The simple life of being a kid.
I learned so much during that time. I have very vivid memories of that time in my life. As much as a now 50 something can remember about being a 6 or 7 year old kid. I believe we lived there until I was in first grade. We moved into another house after that and then the final house, in 4th grade. I lived in the final house until I left home.
The Euclid house was special. I learned how to ride a bike while living at that house. I taught myself how to do double jumps off the back step. That came in handy when I won the jump roping contest in 4th grade. My sister and brother and I were renegades. We were all a year apart. We had an older sister too, but she was four years older, so was off with friends most of the time. We roamed the neighborhood. We had so much fun. We did the typical kid thing that kids did back then. We played outside everyday. We climbed trees like monkeys. We even climbed on neighbors’ roofs. I remember we always had babysitters. A lot of them. A lot of different ones. I wonder if it’s because they were afraid we were going to get hurt on their watch. One babysitter paid me to come down from a tree in the neighbor’s yard.
My brother and I climbed up on one of the neighbors’ roofs. It was a blue house and had a kind of porch roof off the main part of the house. We got down on that porch part and then couldn’t get back to the main part. We were too short. So, I did what any good sister would do and boosted him up to the main part. He left me there. I didn’t know how I was going to get down. It was probably 12 to 15 feet high. My sisters went and got pillows and blankets. Yep, I was going to have to jump. Seriously, what the hell were we thinking? They got the pillows and blankets all laid out on the ground. There was a nice yard and then a nice narrow sidewalk that went around the house. I counted to three and jumped. I landed right on the sidewalk on my butt. At least I was down. I can’t believe I didn’t get hurt. I did want to kill my brother though.
There was a row of lilac bushes that separated the yards from each other. We played in that area of the yard all the time. I was a tom boy. I remember thinking it wasn’t fair that I had to always wear a shirt when my brother didn’t have to. I wanted to be him. He had all the cool stuff. I especially remember his cool hunting boots. You know, those tan lace up ones that went up to around your lower calf area. Kind of the like Timberland boots. One time when he was gone I took them. I thought I was the coolest kid EVER. Our babysitter then was Mrs. Peitz. She was the best. She was a grandmotherly lady. She seemed super old. She might not have been, but it seemed like it. She made everything from scratch. She made the most amazing dinner rolls. Picture the pan of dough, that yummy yeast smell, covered with a towel, sitting on the counter by the stove. We were super impatient waiting for those rolls to rise…oh yes, back to the boots. Anyway, that day she had made homemade chicken noodle soup. I wanted to use a certain kind of bowl to eat my soup. One of those that wasn’t really a bowl, but kind of like a plate bowl. It wasn’t very deep and the rim wasn’t thin like a regular bowl, it was thick, so if you spilled, you were toast. I begged her for that bowl. She kept telling me no. She didn’t want me to spill my soup. I didn’t care, I had the cool boots on and I wanted to use the cool bowl. She finally gave in. I’m sure I was relentless in begging for it. I was so excited. I remember sitting down at the table and sure enough I spilled the soup. It went all over my leg and I got a giant blister from the hot soup. I didn’t care so much about the burn as I did my brother coming home and finding out that I was wearing his boots. The soup ran down my legs into the boots! I remember running to my room to get rid of those boots and get them put back before he came home. I knew if he found out I was wearing his boots, he would have pounded me.
Another time I begged Mrs. Peitz to let me help her peel potatoes. She told me no. She didn’t want me to cut myself. Obviously, I whined and begged a lot, because she let me help her peel potatoes. Almost immediately I cut myself. Imagine that. I think she got wise to my demands or maybe I realized I couldn’t handle it. Whichever, I don’t remember asking her to help with stuff again.
There was a really cool closet in the room that was my parents. It had a stained glass, odd-shaped window. It was so pretty. There was a tin of candy hidden in that closet. It was one of those round tins. I don’t know why it was there. Maybe my mom or dad didn’t want us kids to get into it so they hid it from us. Ha. We could find anything. I remember the candy had one that looked like the peppermint candies, but it was brown and white. I think it was root beer. I always took that one. I loved that flavor…and that window.
My sister and I shared a room near the back of the house. The doors were such that you could lock it in the frame with a butter knife if you wanted to. We wanted to. We were naughty. We decided to experiment with matches, and toothpicks. Our bed had a hole in the side of the mattress where some of the filling could be seen. My sister wanted to light it on fire. I was afraid. I told her no. She told me she could blow it out (of course she could, ha ha). Well she lit the toothpick with a match and then lit the stuffing of the bed. Well imagine, a fire started in the mattress. She tried to blow it out, which just made it worse. One of us went and got our mother. Needless to say she wasn’t happy at all. She did put the fire out. We got our asses beat and had to sleep on springs until they could afford a new mattress.
We also used to jump off the dresser hoping to land on the bed. We did that ALL the time. I call it early gymnastics training. My brother probably calls it something else. He jumped off the dresser and instead of landing on the bed, he landed on the bed frame and cut himself, right above his eye. There was blood everywhere. We were in trouble again. He told our mom that we pushed him. Thanks Jeff.
At some point we let the neighbors (the Listons) puppies play in our backyard. We were super nice and took our pillows out there so they could lay on them. We then got distracted and came back later to find that the whole backyard covered with pillow foam. We were in trouble again. I think we had to pick up every single bit of that pillow foam. That was not fun.
One thing I did that I am ashamed to admit was really beyond naughty. It was downright terrible. We had a giant ham for supper. I despised ham. I don’t know why, but I always hated it. To this day, it is just okay to me. Anyway, the leftover ham was sitting on the counter. Also sitting on the counter was a can of Aqua Net Hairspray. Could it get any more tempting than that? I sprayed that whole ham with hairspray. I totally ruined it. Who knows how much money I had wasted. How many meals. I still feel guilty to this day about that one.
I think my favorite memory though was falling asleep to the sound of the dryer. The laundry room was right outside my bedroom. It was such a gentle and relaxing rhythm. I remember lying in bed, relaxing and then drifting off to sleep. The simple life of being a kid.
I loved that house.