On our recent trip back home to Jacksonville we swung into the apartments where my first official home as an adult was. They were nestled down a long path in the center of an area of town that is probably considered lower class at the time (which has only gotten worse as time has went by). They were apartments that were all brick and each section of homes were grouped by three homes on the top level and three on the bottom. These apartments were ran by the government so the rent in these places were based on your income, or in my case my lack of sufficient income, heck at one point I was paying $21 for a two bedroom apartment.
I remember though whenever I moved in just under a month after my 18th birthday I was so proud to have a place to share with Chandler to call our own (John moved in two months later whenever he turned 18). I loved this place because there was no need to answer to anyone because I was my own boss, which made dealing with living in this place bearable. Our apartment had the ugliest brown carpet that you could ever imagine, and was outfitted with hand me down furniture from my family’s Upholstery shop. The walls were totally white and bare, come to think of it I don’t think I ever got around to hanging a single picture on the wall in that apartment.
For being my first place that I barely paid rent to it wasn’t that bad. Though if I had a nickel for every drug deal or crime I encountered during my two years there I would have been a rich lady. Really though there was only one time that I was scared while living there and that was the time there was a police standoff in the apartments across from mine. I remember the police going door to door telling everyone to stay inside and get away from the windows (I assume to block us from any flying bullets), after it settled down we learned that an intruder broke in to the apartment and had the people who lived their tied to chairs at gunpoint. That was pretty rough to see but then again a home is better than no home right?
Whenever we went back to Jacksonville this year I wanted to swing by our first place to see how far we had came. The kids giggled and said it wasn’t that bad, and really it didn’t look bad but I contribute that to the fact that it was in the middle of day and most people there were either asleep or at work, really it was the nighttime that gets everyone going.
We reminisced and told the kids how we would load them up in the double stroller and pull a wagon of dirty clothes behind us to wash at the laundry mat down the street, and how we would take that same stroller full of kids to the grocery store to get food with our WIC and food stamps and on the way home we would swing by McDonalds and get the kids something small to eat as a treat. I told the kids how their dad rode the city bus every single day to work at Best Buy so that he could try to get us the heck out of that places.
Its incredible how seeing where you started will really make you appreciate just how far you have came. I have to say that Im pretty proud of where we are consider that we had 3 kids before we were 20. There is nothing better to humble yourself than to look back at just where you started.