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Wednesday, April 15, 2015


When my parents purchased our first house I was nine years old. The realtor had shown my parents many houses prior but none of them seemed right. The one that my parents liked was way up on a steep hill named South Walnut Street in St. Albans.   Although the house wasn’t large it had three bedrooms, a semi-large living room and a pretty good sized kitchen.

My favorite part was the backyard for it was level, large and had a playhouse. My second favorite thing was that for the second time I had my own bedroom and it was not small. The realtor was talking to my parents telling them all of the good things about the house. When she said “And it has a picture window” I just stared at her. She was pointing to the only window in the living room and yes, it was big. But I had no idea what a picture window was for I had never heard a window called that.

Had I seen one before? Yes. My mom’s cousin and her husband had a house with one and I loved looking out of it. But it wasn’t the norm for the times. Every house that I had lived in had double hung windows with the exception of one which had the crank out type—meaning that to open the first type, you shoved up the bottom part to open the window whereas to open the second type, you had to use a metal crank to open the window.

The house that my parents were looking at had double hung windows and that huge picture window in the front of the house. My fingers were crossed that they would buy it and not for the window but for that incredibly big backyard with a playhouse.

Fate stepped in that day for it didn’t take long for my parents to talk to the realtor and agree to buy the house. Within what seemed like months but was actually about a week, the house was ours. It was in immaculate condition: My working mom set in to decorate it but first there were rooms that had to be painted. That job fell to my dad and he seemed to enjoy doing it. Together they decorated it.

Eventually the house looked lived in and for once in my life, I felt safe and secure but more than that I was happy. The neighborhood was full of kids my age. Nirvana doesn’t begin to describe how it was for all three of us.

I would spend many an hour looking out the living room’s picture window gazing at kids or cars coming and going and the fingerprints on it were mine. No, it couldn’t be opened at all: It was set in the frame of the house.

When my mom mentioned the word “moving” I knew that nirvana had come to an end. In all honesty, I blanked out the entire move from that house for I didn’t want to leave it but leave it we did. Six wonderful years were spent there.  With a move back to Charleston, it was from one place to another.

That was the only house I would ever live in that had a picture window from age nine to adulthood. My own house doesn’t have one. Does a realtor in today’s world say “And it has a picture window?” Very doubtful for it is not a selling point as it was then. But it sure was wonderful to sit in front of one and stare out at the world in one big picture—not in windows that have sections in them which I have now.

Step forward? You decide.

Sherry Hill

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Sherry Hill

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