The Grass is Greener...

I grew up in a green house on South Hanover Avenue. My childhood was pretty good but it's getting so I'm not too sure it was as perfect as I remember.

When I saw the green house at 255 South Hanover Avenue that is currently for sale, I reminisced about how much I loved our green house. I had even painted my first house green - in a fit of overkill - both inside and out.

But as I stared at number 255 I suddenly remembered for the first time in many years that I had felt embarrassed for the green of our house. When I was nine it seemed somehow old-fashioned, as though no one told it that all the better houses were wearing taupe or cream. When one is a child, shame comes in many forms - that our house was green was as bad as wearing the wrong jeans or being the last one picked for red rover.

I visited 255 South Hanover with my sister and Vicky Walker, who was our neighbor in those days. (That they were both with me is a story for another day.) On the inside there are practically no similarities to our house two blocks away. A large den with built-in bookshelves opens onto a charming screened-in porch, floored with red clay tiles. The modern kitchen sits next to a large breakfast room that still has the original cabinetry from a butler's pantry. Upstairs, two large remodeled bathrooms service three light, comfortable bedrooms. The third floor has been converted to a huge light-filled space that the current owners use as a studio.

The one thing that this house does have in common with our house is a second-story balcony that one enters from one of the back bedrooms. I said to Vicky, "This balcony reminds of me when I was in high school, I would hang from my fingertips then drop to the ground as noiselessly as I could to sneak out at night."

She looked me in the eye, straight in the eye so that I could tell she was still, after at least 20 years, a little bit hurt and a wee bit mad, and said, "It reminds me of the time you kids threw water balloons at my head." Whoa. That little episode had been edited right out of my childhood scrapbook.

I know the color must have drained from my face. "I am so sorry," I said but I was thinking that there was no way I would have done such a thing. My image of myself during that era was that of a total goody two shoes. (Until about the time I started sneaking out at night.)

I was once called to the office in junior high. I walked down that long hall racking my brain for one thing I could have possibly done wrong and came up with a guiltless zilch. In fact, it turned out that my mother had just called the office to tell them that I had an orthodontist's appointment.

Plus, I loved Vicky. She was just enough younger than my parents to be really cool. She dressed in purple, so I did too, and wore Lauren perfume, which I also did when I got older. I cannot imagine that I would ever have done anything as awful as drop water balloons on her head. Andrea, my sister, almost convinced me that Vicky must have been wrong, but she was an adult; we were kids - with selective memories it turns out - and I can tell it hurt her feelings enough to remember it for all this time.

Now, I can't imagine feeling embarrassed about the color of my house. 255 seems so chic with its painted green brick, crisp white trim and moss-colored shutters, and I am so ashamed of something which I must not have given a second thought to at the time. I have wanted to call Vicky Walker every day this week just to apologize again, to tell her that I could not possibly be more sorry.


255 South Hanover Avenue


4 bedrooms

2 and one half bathrooms

2,940 square feet

Contact Rick Queen, 268-4663 or rickqueen@aol.com

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.