Author: Julia Monteferrante
Where a person grew up can significantly alter their character and personality forever. Now, I’m not talking where, as in geographically, no. I’m talking where as in with whom. Did you spend your time milling about your neighborhood, playing with whatever children showed up to the playground that day? Did you spend your time at home playing video games and spending time with your siblings? Or were you more of a sit alone and read for hours kid?
My childhood was filled with macaroni noodles slathered in butter and Frank’s Red Hot, the scent of industrial grade grapefruit soap fragrance, and the sound of a tea-pot begging to be taken off the stove. I spent my time in a white colonial, complete with tan carpets-always freshly shampooed, of course-three bedrooms, and one bathroom. It was a quaint little thing, about 1825 square feet, tight quarters for upwards of four children daily. The blue shuttered heaven was an easy trek for six year old Julia. Take a right onto Irving Street, another right onto Beverly Avenue, and the lone left onto Granger Place. In less than five minutes, the gates of a fun-food-face-filled playhouse were opened for me.
To this day, I have memories of backyard shenanigans, including experiments on the deck that use up way too much food coloring, tie-dying in the garage to try and escape the heat, and paint. So much paint. Washable, of course. Long nights were spent on super sleepovers, where all four of the cousins-Sara, Owen, Hannah, and I would sleep over, stay up much later than we were allowed at home, and wake up in the morning to our favorite breakfast, microwave French toast sticks with whipped cream on top. This house was much more than a summer hangout, though. I spent my whole childhood there, as my parents would bring me here before school, and I would stay until about 6 o’clock some nights. This house was my daycare center, my nursery, and where I met some of my best friends, my cousins, Sara and Hannah.
This home was also a place for me to meet people outside my family for once. The girl next door, coincidentally named Julia, was a year younger than me and also loved the things that all little girls love-fairies, princesses, fairy princesses, ballet and the color pink especially when it was sparkly. She became my best friend outside of my family. Or Andrew, the bug-eyed boy who was 7 years older than me, liked playing with Legos, and would play make-believe with me underneath the dining room table when it was time to leave because we thought we were invisible down there. He was my first crush. He now lives in Texas and has a real fiancée.
This place that I love so much isn’t my house, isn’t a friend’s house either. It’s my grandparents’ house. My mother’s parents’ humble abode is where I grew up, and where I spent most of my time as a child. I am lucky to say that I almost have two sets of parents, my real parents and my grandparents who love, support and nurture me as much as any girl could ask for. I am also lucky to be able to say that I had a place to go whenever my parents were upsetting me as a child. I had a place to go to see my cousins, who were my first friends growing up. Extra love and support can come from sometimes unexpected places, and mine just happened to come from my grandparents.