We still live in our starter home. We bought it in 1982 and were going to stay five years. Well, apparently it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun, because 38 years later, we’re still here. I’m no mathematician but I think we overshot our plans by a few years.

Our house is across the street from my parents’ former house and next door to my aunt. It’s a three-bedroom rancher, with one and one half baths, a big living room, eat-in kitchen, and that’s it. Seven rooms if you don’t count our screened-in porch.

It has gone through many transformations and alterations and improvements over the past 38 years. From a bright yellow kitchen, to floral wallpaper to our current pale aqua and white, from an electric blue living room to a soft beige, from a metallic wallpapered bathroom to a beige (soon to be painted yet again), from an orange (yes, orange. Big in the 80’s) second bedroom to a light gray….you get my drift.

Our youngest son Donnie’s room is now my craft room. Best not to even delve into the state of that room other than to say it is unrecognizable as a bedroom. Our eldest son George’s bedroom is supposed to be the man-cave for my hubby, but it’s currently my home office.

But no matter what color we painted the rooms and the furniture and the decor we had, the fact remains that we have lived the majority of our lives within these walls. Holidays, birthdays, illnesses, parties, six dogs, one parrot (that’s a whole other story) and everyday stuff occurred in our little house. We raised two boys here. This amazes me, because now that it’s just me and my husband George and our two dogs, it feels smaller than it did when the kids lived here.

Not only did we raise two active, athletic boys here, we were also blessed to have many of their friends running in and out of here on a regular basis. Kids came on a Friday after school and didn’t leave till Sunday night. And during that Friday-Sunday time, there were at least two soccer games that had to be played, uniforms to be washed, and meals to be cooked (or obtained through a drive-thru).

As our boys got older, their friends never even bothered to knock on the front door. They’d come strolling in and go to the fridge for a drink. Our boys didn’t even need to be home for this to happen.

One of Donnie’s friends came walking in while George and I were watching TV. He said hello and headed down the hall to raid both our sons’ closets. He came out with an armful of clothes and a belt, said goodbye, and left. See ya! Fairly normal around here back then.

Every wall ding, every warped floor board, every dent in a door frame, every fingerprint mark on doors and light switches tells the story of a family who lived happily together in our little house. There’s the indentation in our bedroom wall where George leaned against it to move a dresser and cracked the sheet rock. There’s the little half-wall between the kitchen and living room that was installed after our eldest son ran his rocking horse into the kitchen wall and make a big hole. There’s crayon scribbles in the “craft room” closet, where Donnie was exploring his inner artist.

Bare spots in both our front and back yards represent a baseball field and a soccer field. These spots remain to this day, resisting George’s best efforts to grow grass there. Top fence rails that are slightly bent tell the story of a lot of kids jumping our fence rather than using the gate. Empty branch spots on trees remind us of the times the boys and their buddies climbed and subsequently fell out of said trees.

I always dreamed of living in a center-hall colonial. Nice entryway, dining room, two stories. A fireplace. A den/family room. But I wouldn’t trade our cozy little sanctuary for anything else in the world.

Unless the colonial was paid for and furnished, with a maid and a cook. And it was on the beach.

Ilene Black has been a resident of Ewing for most of her life and lives across the street from her childhood home. She and her husband, George, have two sons, Georgie and Donnie.