The House

45 Remsen Avenue, Monsey, NY 10952. I grew up in it, knew it like the back of my hand, was formed there. Lived in it from when I was five in 1965 (I remember it storming the day, the evening?, that we first drove up the driveway to the new house) until when I went off to college in 1977, and finally moved out in (what?) 1981. Dad's sold it now, and it might as well not be there anymore, so I should write down everything I recall about it, because it seems like I ought to.

It's a red house. There's a front yard where there used to be a big triple tree (an oak? a maple?), but they blew down in Hurricane Bell when I was a teenager. The couple of days before that storm went through, I was in Harriman Park by myself, hiking the Long Path, or the Suffern-to-Bear-Mountain Trail, or the Appalachian (the SBMT, I think it was). The last night that I spent out I camped on Black Mountain Ridge; the sunset was spectacular but the night was nightmarishly windy. I force-marched down Black Mountain and on to the Bear Mountain Inn to call Mom (or Dad?) to come pick me up, a day early and ravenously thirsty for a milk shake. The next night, my first night home from the park, those trees blew down.

The house had (has, but the past tense is probably more natural; if it'd been knocked down since I last saw it, I wouldn't know it) three stories (two above ground). Only the main floor is finished (present tense is fine too). The attic is a hot dry fragrant place, one big room running the length of the house, with a peaked ceiling. You can stand in the center; if you're a kid, you can stand most of the way to the side walls. There's a window at each end. The floor is solid, sheets of plywood, only in the center where the ceiling's highest. At the sides, it's just the tops of the rafters of the ceiling of the main floor, and you have to be careful not to slip, or you could put your foot right through the livingroom ceiling. Considering the amount of time I spent on those rafters, it's amazing that I never did. Or did I? I also vaguely remember a little crack in the main-floor ceiling, sometime in there. Was that me?

In one place in the attic, not too far from the top of the stairs, on the rafters near where Dad kept his old Playboys tied with string (another reason I spent time in the attic, later on), there was a place in the floor, between the rafters, where you could push the insulation aside and see the top of the light-fixture and fan in the ceiling of the bathroom. I guess the bathroom fan vented up there or something. I knew this, but only vaguely, and for some reason it doesn't form a very important memory. I don't recall using it to spy on anyone in the bathroom!

There were chests up there with mysterious old things, and old bureaus with who-knows-what in the drawers, some of the drawers without pulls, but with holes that you could stick a pencil in and open them if you were careful (sometimes the pencil would break off short in the hole, and then you were stuck). Some boxes with plastic army men and plastic monsters to play with sitting in the special place o