Monday, May 25, 2009

The Yellow Apartment

Once upon a time, my roommate Becca and I were looking for a new place to live. The house we'd been renting with two other ladies was great - but the owner was ready to move back in. So, apartment searching we went.

While out one day, she suggested we stop by these cute apartments. This was a cozy looking complex of apartments and they were a cute yellow color. I was so discouraged from our hunt and was sure these would be out of our price range, so suggested we skip even checking and being discouraged again.

But, she persevered and we stopped. I'm sure you can already see where this is going?! Yes, they were very affordable and the one that was open had been freshly painted, new counters, carpet and new refrigerator! We went home and thought about it and soon after moved into this quaint yellow apartment. When giving directions, I would say, "Do you know where the yellow apartments are?" Often, they did!

The buildings were all the same, one garden level and then an upstairs level. We were upstairs and at first, I had a hard time feeling "at home" there - but keep reading to see how that changed. I don't know why - but I sort of felt like I was at camp in that apartment and a couple of other friends said, "This feels like camp!"

These apartments had been built somewhere in the 1930-1940's - my favorite era! And, an aging yet chatty neighbor told me that they had been built for the Nestle's Company but then something happened and they never used them. I have no idea if that story is true or not, but it is a charming idea!

The most interesting thing that ever happened while there was that a lady out in the back parking lot thought her car was in Reverse and it was in Drive and drove right into the bedroom window just underneath our windows. I don't know how this even happened considering that there was a curb and a thick hedge of shrubs taller than me before she could've gotten to the building!

Eventually, Becca moved back to Washington and I had a couple other roommates off and on, but for the most part I lived in the little yellow apartment alone.

I loved that out the dining room window was a big open grassy area with big trees and a picnic table - it was like a little park!

I loved the wide windowsills - perfect for my love of candlelight. I loved the windows - they were tall and narrow with panes, oh I miss them!

I loved the galley kitchen that was covered in yellow tiles accented in black - and the metal cabinets painted ivory.

I loved the surrounding neighborhood - bungalows and a bit farther down, old Victorian homes. I went for lots of walks and spent much time dreaming about the lives lived in those homes or what kind of life I would have there. I admired the homes, the gardens, imagined the memories that could be made inside. They became familiar to me and sort of like friends.

The bathroom floor was lots of mini peach tiles and the walls were tiled half-way up with peach tiles trimmed in black. I loved it that there was a little toothbrush/cup holder mounted on the wall - which was perfect for a candle holder!

There was a little opening in the living room that also opened in the hall way - perhaps for milk delivery? So charming.

I am nostalgic just remembering this lovely home. I have never been more organized than I was in that apartment. I had my things pared down to just what I used/enjoyed and everything had a place - it was easy to maintain since I was the only one who lived there.

The yellow apartment is where I experienced having a home that is a haven. (Note: I did feel this way growing up, but since I'd moved out - I'd been in numerous other apartments, homes, etc... before the yellow apartment.)

This home was such a haven to me - it was so cozy, it was inviting, it was comfortable and it was a refuge. I spent considerable amounts of time in Bible reading, study and Scripture memory. I began developing my love of crafting, homemaking and hospitality.

I think I blossomed in the little yellow apartment. I discovered who I was and became comfortable being that person.

Many nights when I got home from work, I'd put on my pj's and light candles and use no electricity as I ate dinner and thought, read, prayed. It was a charming and peaceful life. And, I am so very grateful that God gave me this time - to know Him, to know myself, to learn about reaching out.

Thank You, Lord, for providing the yellow apartment experience for me! This season was filled with memories I will treasure and lessons I want to remember. I am inspired again just remembering it today. Thank You for generously providing such a wonderful place for me to live and grow. Amen.

Did you have a special place like this? I'd love to hear about your "little yellow apartment" experience!


Mary Ann said...

The first apartment my sister and I shared was a one-bedroom over an older ladies garage. The rent was $240 a month. It wasn't much but we made it home to us and it was so cute and charming. My sister is the decorator so she gets the credit for that. She had red geraniums in clay pots all the way up the outside stairs. It was so pretty. We both had very little money at that time but we appreciated what we had and we both look back fondly on our time in "LaRue's apartment" as we called it because LaRue was the lady who owned it and lived in the house that went with the garage.

It was small, a one bedroom but an open floor plan that I really liked because it made it seem bigger.

Not everything was rosy though. The bathroom was horrible to clean because it was so old. The oil heat was fickle and usually went out on the coldest night of winter-on the weekend, over a holiday when LaRue's sons were out of town. The water pressure wasn't much and we had to plan showers and dish washing strategically so there would be some hot water. The dryer hardly worked and since we had no money to replace it we made do hanging laundry out to dry and occasionally taking it to the laundromat to dry. We learned a lot about making do and stretching our budget while living there.

Still, good times and good memories!

Thanks for sharing your story, Monica!

Ginger said...

I had such a place when I first started teaching back in 1989. I rented a 1920s era "bungalow" across from the football stadium in town. It was $300 a month and I thought that was high! It had a big front porch with thick columns and a porch swing. Inside were two bedrooms, a bath, living room, dining room, and kitchen with small back porch I let my cats out on to "sun". It was in the shape of a box. I rode out Hurricane Hugo in Sept. of 1989 in the small closet with a bird cage and my cats under my bed nearby. The wonderful old oak trees protected the house; they were sturdy! I had never lived away from my parents before. I had just bought a car and did not know my paychecks would be only $464 after taxes. I was living on less than $950 a month. Mother gave me $150 a month to help out. I dearly loved that old house, though the neighborhood was not great.

*carrie* said...

I have many happy memories in that apartment, including the one you showed of us having a waffle breakfast outside! I loved staying over and sleeping in the "canopy" bed. You made that place so homey. I also remember you having us over for Christmas Eve and making those little stained glass place cards. You are something else with all your special touches--love you lots!

Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

You really sent me back in time to a couple of my own "first" apartment/house's. My first was a farmhouse basement apt. (although you wouldn't know you were in a basement)...the wide window sills...and exactly that, everything was in it's place and where tons of time was spent in nursing that desire to make my home a haven; to develop the knack for hospitality; to pursue God, reading His Word and other great books to help me grow spiritually, etc. While living here my friends quickly gave my home the name of "Bevy's old maid in the basement cafe". Because I was always having friends over for a meal or coffee.
Then I moved to a two bedroom farmhouse apt. It was like going from "rags to riches"... the huge kitchen and other rooms, the large front porch and again the wide window sills. A great place to, again, have room to spread out for family and friends. Christmas was always at my house.
Lots of crafting and sewing took place, baking and cooking was here my love for gardening/flower beds took on, and the same coming home getting into PJ's, lots of candles, and it was just "me" and the Lord. It was "ro-tic", romantic without the man.

Then I got married!! The BEST thing in the world that I ever did. But, We soon moved on from this farmhouse apt... and that continues to be another long saga. But all that to say... if it wasn't for the those "first" apartments and there, learning the art of homemaking and having that season - well, I have no idea how it would really be today. I certainly wouldn't have all the memories that I do today.

Hey Monica, Thanks for taking me "back in time", too.

Mom said...

Oh what a lovely account of your darling apartment! You did blossom there, and I loved that it was nearby! We made many memories there with you -- Christmas Eve suppers by candlelight, birthday picnics/parties, and Sunday dinners. And, of course, the miller moth incident! :) I see those apartments on my way to work nearly every day -- and think fondly of the days when you were just down the street instead of the 1,700+ miles away that you are now!

Love and miss you, Mom

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Beautiful, Monica!

I didn't have such an experience; I lived with my parents until I married. However, I can see how this shaped your life. Thanks for sharing!

Shawna said...

Hi, Monica! What a great story. I can see why you loved it so much.

Our first home after we were married was a little like that. It was so easy to keep it clean and sparkly and organized when it was just the 2 of us. Now it is more challenging with 4 boys, making ours a household of 6.

Still, I am not sweating the small stuff. I am choosing to enjoy life instead of stressing and striving for perfection. I will have a sparkling home all too soon when it is the 2 of us again. I do what I can and move on.

I hope you have a blessed Memorial Day!

Beth Niquette said...

What a lovely place! Congratulations! I love the color yellow--it is so soft and cheery.

Anonymous said...

A great story. I lived with my Mom and sister until I married at 23, but as a married couple we had an unusual apartment. I will tell about it some other time.

Wendi said...

Love this post! My favorite apartment was the one we lived in before we bought a house. It was in a small town and we would get a phone call for every major town event. Fundraisers, parades, fireworks and even reminders to vote! The balcony backed up to a creek and some trees. I spent hours out there reading.

I actually lived there before Chuck and I were married. He proposed to me on the living room couch!

Rebecca said...

I loved the yellow apartments - I would love to come and visit you and have long talks over dinner. You did have a haven there. And thanks to you, I was able to spend some time renting an apartment in the same area - which is where i lived when my hubby proposed and when I was planning my wedding. Thanks for the fun memories.

Anonymous said...

Love that story. Thanks for sharing it!

Michelle said...

I loved reading about that apartment! :)

I lived at home until my husband and I had our first apartment together, so I never had that "living on my own" experience. Our first apartment was teeny tiny, and very cluttered. I had to learn homemaking as I went along, but by the time we bought our first house, I had a wonderful time making it into a haven and learning the art of hospitality (something that I'm still working on).

Jessica Morris said...

That is charming and very romantic sounding!

I got married at 19, I had spent all but one year living at home, and that one year away from home was living in Nigeria, West Africa, with my grandparents. So it wasn't until I got married that I truly had "my" place.

We have been married for four years now, and while each place we have lived has been special and character building, I feel like our current home (purchased two months ago) is where I have grown and "come into myself" the most.
We have a covered back porch that I like to serve meals on, drinking from canning jars and looking out at the greenery in the backyard.

Life is beautiful :)

I have a recipe for easy fried ice cream on my blog you might be interested in for a family night :) We really enjoy it and it is SO easy! It's currently the second post.

Elise said...

My most favorite place I lived was at this lady's house, who rented bedrooms out to college age and young professional girls. She was a wonderful Christian lady who was a great homemaker and had a beautiful, comfortable home. In fact, I would love to build one like it. Actually, live in an old farmhouse, but whatever!! Marianne was always challenging me to could I most efficiently load the dishwasher, what should I put on that bedside table. All things she already knew, but I almost think she was "grooming" me. I look back on that time fondly. Oh, and she had gorgeous hydrangea bushes!!

Thanks for sharing your Yellow Apartment Adventures!!


pippasmum said...

You have a real gift for evoking peaceful memories. When I went to university, some friends and I rented a large, old, red brick house. It was the epitome of "shabby chic" but we loved it and had such wonderful times there. We often did a big Easter feast before we went home to our parents... Thank you for bringing back such happy memories!

Marguerite said...

Hi Monica -- I've been reading for a while but this is my first comment! My "yellow apartment" was a small, white 1920s bungalow on Cheyenne Blvd, not too far from the Broadmoor. It had a beautiful little backyard, and such a peaceful feeling! I enjoyed hosting friends there, and like you, spending lots of quiet times with the Lord, reading, thinking and dreaming. Also like you, I'm now living very far away, married and a mom (and love it), but I still think back so fondly on the precious time there.