On Pigott Road, the houses were all the same. Small, three bedroom bungalows with the living room up front, kitchen around back, and a laundry room on the side of the house. When invited over to a new friend’s house on the street, I was always dying with curiosity, my little heart pounding with anticipation to see what life was like in their bungalow. Which of the bedrooms was theirs? Did their Mom decorate differently? Did the hall closet have a full length mirror on it, too?
A few homes on the block had been renovated or updated over the years. Mine was pretty much original. The real hardwood floors showing scratches and dents of years past, harbouring the stories of families who lived there before us. I will never forget the particular shade of pink on our bathroom fixtures or the marbled vinyl countertop with faux-metal edging. A similar aesthetic theme continued into the kitchen, the countertop a lovely shade of retro green.
There was always activity outside. Kids jumped ditches and caught frogs long after the sun had set. Our Moms called us in for dinner, yelling our names from the front stoop. We bicycled around the green, fiber glass sewage circle at the end of the block, affectionately nicknaming it the “Roundhouse”. On Saturday mornings my brother and I played street hockey in the long driveway that extended past the house and into our backyard.
On hot summer evenings, we left the back door wide open while we slept. It didn’t matter that it was just my Mom, my little brother, and me. In fact, it was much too easy to break into that house (having forgotten my keys, as a pre-teen I did so many times). Looking back, it was probably foolish for security to be so low on our list of concerns. It was the nineties, after all, and we lived in a decent sized suburb of a large Canadian City, not a farming town in the prairies. Regardless, for some reason, we always felt safe.
The time-capsule that was Pigott Road.
As a consequence of having divorced parents, we moved more than many. Mom only rented that little bungalow for 6 or 7 years, and it somehow became the only house I was ever emotionally attached to.
Even in the end, when the decks were rotting, the carpenter ants resisted repeated extermination, and mice took over the storage area in the garage – it was my childhood home.
One by one the old bungalows were knocked down. Replaced by monstrous mansions squeezing every possible square foot out of the land.
I used to drive around the block when I was in the area, reminiscing, but soon stopped. Although few of the old, beloved homes remain, it was no longer the Pigott Road from my memories. I didn’t want to replace my recollection with reality.
No grass. No ditches. No front stoop for Moms to call from.