This Old House

ADVANCE, Mo. — Last week, I said goodbye to my boyhood home.

Jumping at an opportunity, my mother is selling the three-bedroom that has anchored Benton Street since 1958.

There wasn’t a better place to grow up.

I fielded grounders in the living room, throwing a hard rubber ball against the wall so many times that the plaster crumbled. I made hundreds of buzzer-beaters during imaginary basketball games near the front entrance, shooting at a cut-out box at the top of the door.

Long before the digital age, my mother shoehorned herself into the pitch-blackness of the broom closet to develop film.

In the main bath, then the basement, there were darkrooms in which thousands of pictures were printed for the school yearbook and town and school newspapers.

My grandmother, who lived with us for years, watched her soap operas from an easy chair in the living room.

Donning helmet and pads nearly as heavy as we were, my neighbors and I played football in the snow in the lot next door.

My brother taught me how to play basketball on the concrete slab in the backyard.

From the carport, my sister yelled for me to come home for supper.

I can still hear my worried father saying, “Son, is that you?” from the master bedroom as I walked in the front door at 2 in the morning.

In the kitchen, I will forever see my mother frying potatoes, flipping grease over my egg and stirring milk gravy for an industrial-sized Sunday breakfast, a Morgan staple.

Old house, you served us well.





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