I was having a conversation the other day, and the person I was speaking to said kids should grow up in a house, versus a condo or apartment, because they miss out on a lot.
I disagreed with her.
I grew up living in a condo. Life was good. I didn’t understand what it meant to do yard work, or shovel the driveway. The car was always dry, despite the weather outside, as it was always parked in an underground lot. Taking the garbage down the hall to throw down the shoot wasn’t too bad, as it was usually just one bag at a time.
Yes, I didn’t have a backyard to myself, but we had a playground and many friends very close by, sometimes even across the hall, or a couple of floor up or down.
I could wait inside the lobby for my school bus, and I always felt safe.
The playground out back was amazing, early on we even had a huge playhouse. Unfortunately that got torn down due to some questionable activities by the local teenagers, however the bonus was that it meant that there was a big open space that we turned into our own baseball diamond. And in the winter, it was clear sailing down the big hill. If your toboggan was fast enough, it even meant you could go straight into the parking lot.
I know, not safe, but we were kids, and the farther you could go, the better!
We did have access to the pool at the next building, but I spent many, many summers running through the (industrial) sprinklers that dotted the grassy hill. The water was extra cold, and the pressure was always full blast, but it was fun.
Because of the condos in close proximity, we often found ourselves playing with many, many kids at once. Some we knew, and some we didn’t, but it never mattered. My fondest memories were playing a massive game of hide and seek with about 20 kids, for what felt like all day. We often played many games of “war”. Armed with toy guns and our mothers bandanas, we hid behind bushes, spoke in code to invisible walkie talkies, ducked and covered our way to battling against another army of kids.
Sounds morbid, but it was fun. In the end, we usually ended up trading in the toy guns for bikes and rode around with each other until we were called in for dinner.
We lived on the fourth floor, facing the playground, so my mom was always able to come out onto the balcony, whistle her famous whistle and my brother and I knew it was time to go. But aside from being close enough to hear her call us, we were close enough to call her.
We often found ourselves calling up until she came out onto the balcony. Usually we called for her to toss something down, like an extra toy, or something. She even got creative and tied a few of my skipping ropes together to the end of a bucket and would put snacks in and lower it down for us to get.
Throwing a banana down four floors can be tricky!
It was a pretty funny site, seeing that blue bucket being lowered with snacks, toys or whatever else we were too lazy to go back upstairs for. But she would do it, so we didn’t miss a single minute of playing with our friends.
We often played in the hallway, giving our mothers a break, but still close enough for her to open the door and call us in! As silly as it sounds, we used to even play tag and hide and seek in the hall, taking turns hiding in somebody elses doorway!
By my tweens, we had moved into our first house, and yes, I have fond memories of playing in the backyard, or at the park just down the street, but I wasn’t ready for the work that came with it. Shovelling is a pain! Literally!
I have no regrets that I grew up living in a condo. I grew up in a home surrounded by love and family and friends and fun. And I have a ton of memories from it all.
How about you? Do you have fun memories from your childhood home?