Do You Remember the First House You Bought?


It really does seem like only days ago that we were busy setting up the cameras to take pictures of our firstborn in our first house, purchased shortly after we discovered we were going to be parents. Now our firstborn and her spouse are preparing to embark on their own house-hunting adventures. We’ve been passing on home-buying tips to them and cutting out columns from the newspaper to mail off to them about such things as Tips for the First-Time Homebuyer and Buying a Home in the Current Economic Crisis. But really, when I think back to our first home purchase, we had no one advising us and we hardly knew squat about real estate. Probably the only thing that saved us from making a dumb mistake was a good Realtor and my hubby’s normally cautious nature.


Do you remember your first home? We were both working near the Pentagon on the Virginia side of D.C. and we ended up buying a townhouse end unit in Springfield, Virginia. Our unit was still under construction so we were able to pick out the carpet and linoleum and countertops, which we thought was just amazing. Just as an aside, this picture is a real joke in our family. I THOUGHT I was standing out of the picture’s range. Actually, I was very pregnant with our second child and he pushed his way into the frame without my realizing it until it was developed. But aside from that, just look at the awful wallpaper we picked for our kitchen. I loved that fake butcher block countertop, too. We had picked a linoleum flooring with a geometric pattern that directly clashed with the wallpaper. Yet the kitchen was my favorite room in the house, because on the opposite side of the room was a fireplace and room for a nice recliner.


My mom is in this picture with the kids in our old recliner. But I can so vividly remember many a morning when I’d get up, dress, feed the baby, and then fall asleep in that recliner with the baby in my arms. When the second was born, I’d put him in a Snugli and we’d both nap in the recliner while the oldest would nap in her own bed.

Our main floor also had a living room and a formal dining room. We had wrestled my grandma’s old piano into the dining room and placed it along the wall that we shared with the next townhouse unit. It so happened that our neighbors were two gentlemen who also played the piano. We used to have “dueling pianos.” I would listen to them playing and then I’d sit down and go through some of my repertoire.

We had the developers finish our basement, which had a walkout patio and I remember we chose a ruby red carpet for that area, despite the fact that our main floor was carpeted in a sedate beige. My hubby had wanted the beige and I had wanted color. So we compromised and I got to chose the basement colors while he prevailed on the main floor. Upstairs, we couldn’t agree so beige won out in the hallway and the master bedroom and I chose two different, brighter colors for the two other bedrooms. Ugh! What were we thinking? Believe it or not, I do remember thinking that if we could choose our carpeting, we should choose lots of different carpeting to really get our money’s worth. Well, I wouldn’t think that way today.


When we were transferred to South Carolina, we had to sell our townhouse in the midst of the recession of the early ’80s. Interest rates were around 18%. I didn’t think it would ever sell but it finally did. The day the movers got everything loaded into the van and left the parking lot, I asked my husband to get the children buckled into their carseats while I took one last look around inside. When he came back in, I was sitting on the stairs crying. I’d been carried across that threshold as a new bride. I’d had both of my babies while we’d lived in that house. So many memories. And now my little girl is going to be finding a home where she can create memories of her own. I know it will be as special as our first place was.


One Response

  1. Enjoyed reading your post! I’m still living in the first house I bought, a townhouse!

    Oh my word! George had black hair! hehehe

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