Message to the buyer of my childhood home

Dear occupant,

Congratulations on purchasing the home I grew up in, the only home of my childhood, the one with the Ross Murray commemorative plaque out front, assuming my parents have followed my instructions. I thought I might get to Nova Scotia to help with the move, but I recently had surgery, and even light shoveling causes significant discomfort. Who knew the groin did so much of the heavy lifting! Who knew I’d have such a great excuse not to shovel!

Anyway, now that I’ve got you picturing my groin, I’d like to take a minute to point out some other special places, namely those things you might not have noticed around Ross Murray’s house. Don’t worry: people will stop referring to it as Ross Murray’s house in a generation or two.

First of all, you’ll have no doubt seen the shrubs lining the walkway up to the house. These are picky bushes. Their botanical name is Scratchyitchia Ouchedendra. Buy you can just call them picky bushes. Whatever you do, don’t let anyone push you into the picky bushes. And make sure you trim during shorts season. The bush, I mean. The picky bush! You know what? Just use the back door.

The front porch is a good place for sitting and looking cool. In the summertime, you might want to drag a stereo speaker to the door so that the neighbours can not only see how cool you are but hear how cool you are. Might I suggest a little Bob Seger?

Right inside and to the left are the stairs. There’s a wooden banister that runs about three-quarters up. You can slide down the banister, although I hope you’re under three feet tall, otherwise this may be less fun for you than I’m implying.

This also makes for adorable photos of your children peeking over the banister in chronological order. This is just as adorable when your children are between 50 and 60, although there is less peeking and more creaking.

To the right is the living room. This is a good spot for practicing piano or violin lessons given by your father. (Maybe not your father but a father; see if you can find a father. Totally worth it.) If you have a poodle, she may howl at the violin in either agony or ecstasy (it’s hard to tell with poodles), but this is known as “ambience” or “the weirdest violin lessons ever.”

Between the living room and the dining room is a half wall topped by a planter containing a grape ivy that has been there for 55 years. I recommend you alert all the scientists because HOW IS THAT THING STILL ALIVE!!!

Undoubtedly you’ve already been sold on the highlight of the kitchen: the counter with the built-in flour bins! How cool are they? And not just for holding flour. You can store marshmallows in there. Why marshmallows? Because that’s where the poodle knows they’re stored, that’s why. What a silly question.

Upstairs, you’ll find a furnace grate in the middle of the hallway. This is a perfect spot to stand on chilly mornings while waiting for siblings to get out of the one bathroom for six people, or to just sit there reading a book and hogging all the heat. Also, furnace heat up the pyjama pant leg: intriguing.

By planting your feet and hands against the facing walls of the hallway, you can scale your way up to the ceiling. Again, I hope you are under three feet to maximize your enjoyment.

Bedroom, bedroom, bedroom… (Oh, in that bedroom, you can climb onto the front porch roof to achieve – ahem! – “next-level” coolness.)

Now, here we have my bedroom. It belonged to my brother and me at first but really it’s mine. He can just get over it. With the lighting, the intimate space and its overall remoteness, this is a great room for making out. In theory.

Also, I’m reminded now that I had a poster on the ceiling above my bed, as fantasizing pubescent boys are wont to do. Man… That Star Wars was quite the movie!

Finally, the bathroom, where I highly recommend studying for exams in the tub. No water. Just lying in the bathtub. Trust me, it works.

That’s about it. I know you’re going to love the house and discover so many things yourself. My parents made a wonderful home here, and I’m sure you will too. There’s a myth in my family that I don’t like change. Not so. Moving to a smaller place, that’s a good change for my parents. Just don’t change that plaque on the front lawn, okay?


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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31 Responses to Message to the buyer of my childhood home

  1. markbialczak says:

    Thanks for the memories, Ross.

  2. ksbeth says:

    sounds like a wonderful place full of memories. and, you’ve just inspired a blog post for me based on a crazy memory of an incident on our old back patio. you are inspiring all around

  3. I’m not doubting your keen insight into gardening/home décor, but is it possible the grape ivy is plastic? It does seem that people of the artistic temperament, say, the kind who recline in bathtubs and provide violin accompaniment for singing poodles, aren’t always the most observant when it comes to interior shrubbery and undergrowth. The appearance of your beard also furthers such a supposition.

  4. mikedw says:

    Bob Seger, huh? Very cool. Don’t see how the neighbours could object to that.

  5. Nadine says:

    Scratchyitchia Ouchedendra — AHAHAHAHAHA this was so good! Brings back such good memories. The sounding cool, the piano lessons in the livingroom picture window (hoping prince charming would happen by, so repeatedly playing my best song over and over and over while peering over my shoulder to check), the sitting on the furnace grate, the scaling the halls, the grape ivy… aw man. Just awesome.

    My parents sold their home just like that some years ago and it (and its incredible yard) was mowed flat for a giant $2M mansion (they’d bought it for C$44K, back in the day). No plaque for me. ;))

  6. Growing up in the Northeast with eight people, one bathroom and half as many heating ducts as people, I laughed out loud at the furnace heat up the pajama pant leg reference.
    Nova Scotia has always intrigued me. Must get up there some day. Perhaps I’ll make a pilgrimage to the Ross Murray House and check on the grape ivy for National Geographic.

  7. I’ll bet this post took everyone back just a bit to their own first house. That’s the best a writer can hope for. Any idea what year that house was constructed? When I drive past my childhood home during my Cleveland visits I look straight ahead.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      That’s a good question. I’d have to ask my dad. There are two others just like it on the street, so I suspect it goes back to whenever the street went in. Late 50s maybe? We moved there in 65 I think, not the first owners.

  8. Emery van de Wiel says:

    Thank you for all these EXCELLENT pro tips. Looking cool for the new neighbors is a must, I will be on the front porch at every opportunity. I can assure you I’ve tried out the banister, I can assure you I’ve scaled the wall to the ceiling (well I tried) and, I can assure you that I have 3 feet too much body length to get maximum enjoyment. The living room has already been reunited with a piano, though, I hope that the house will be alright with the violin becoming a flute. I meant to ask for the plant on the papers, along with the lawn mower.. and shovel (thanks for the shovel I used it yesterday). I will study the 55-year-old thing. I was definitely sold on the flour bins. If ever the cabinets get replaced they will have flour bins. I will try not to move the plaque.

  9. pinklightsabre says:

    That’s a nice looking house and home, Ross! I like the Bob Seger of course. You’re a little bit older and a lot less bolder than you used to be (come back baby, Rock and Roll Never Forgets).

  10. bettyboo50 says:

    What a weird story but a great read

  11. List of X says:

    Don’t worry, I am keeping the plaque, and keeping everything as is as much as possible until I complete the work on the Ross Murray Museum.
    And now I have to somehow get rid of the “Agony or extasy, live together in perfect harmony” earworm.

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