There will not be much of my grandfather in this week’s edition; we’re back to the self-centered blabber.
Here we are, then, at the end of the third week of November, 1971. What’s new?
Oh, and a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home at 50 Timberbrook Lane, Penfield, New York.
The house itself was not literally new that week. It had been built about five years earlier by Seeler Homes, the seemingly indefatigable development company that threw up neighborhood after neighborhood full of split-levels, ranches and colonials in suburban Penfield in the 1960s and ’70s.
But it had new owners that week — a young couple and their year-old son moving in from elsewhere in town, with an intent to someday add at least one more kid to fill up another of those four bedrooms.
I do not have a good record of when my grandparents and great-grandma first visited the new house. My grandpa, having had a heart attack earlier in the year, might still not have felt in shape to drive long distances. Eventually, as his strength and outlook improved, he made any number of trips to Timberbrook Lane.
I lived at 50 Timberbrook for the first 14 years of my life, until my folks decided they wanted a more distinctive place to live and we moved to another house in Penfield.
(The “more distinctive” thing was pretty valid, by the way. Seeler used the same basic five or six layouts for all its homes, and it was not rare to visit someone’s house for the first time and realize that you’d been there before. I no longer remember who else in ’80s Penfield youth society had the same house I did, but I know some people did.)
It also happened that we convinced both sets of grandparents to move to the Rochester area around the 1986-87 time frame.
This must have been a titanic sell job by my folks (I only overheard parts of it), to convince both sets of grandparents to leave their established friends and routines and move to a cloudy gray city in the Rust Belt. But it worked.
And one of the consequences was that we no longer needed a spare bedroom, since the people who most commonly filled it now had homes of their own a short drive away. That cleared the way for us to break out of the standard big-houses-for-growing-families mold and move to a slightly smaller place.
My memories of 50 Timberbrook are … well, “bittersweet” sounds far too melodramatic; let’s go with “mixed.”
I lived there at an age when I didn’t really have to think about the broader world. I went to school and liked it there; and I played in the snow and rode my bike around the neighborhood and threw tennis balls against the garage door and liked that too. It was a good quiet childhood cocoon to be in.
That said, our move to a new house coincided with a fair amount of personal growth. I started my freshman year in high school just after we moved, and started playing in my first band around the same time. And it was around then that I gained some perspective, and started figuring out that a lot of things in life really aren’t important enough to sweat about.
Don’t get me wrong — I was still an immature dweeb when I woke up on my first morning after moving. But I was starting down the path of getting more clued-in, and that was a positive development.
(How far down that path I’ve gotten is open to debate.)
So, in my mind, 50 Timberbrook is my childhood home, with the shelter and comfort that entails. Other places were (and are) my teenage and adult homes, with the growth, exploration and responsibility that entails.
I would rather be an adult than a child, so I suppose 50 Timberbrook suffers in comparison with other times and places. But it served my family about as well as we could have hoped on the day we moved in.