“Let’s go!” my dad said as he put the car in gear and rolled down my grandmother’s driveway. “This will be a great adventure.”

My mom watched my grandmother wave goodbye from the lace-curtained window. We did not want to leave Mémère’s home. It was warm and loving. We had been living with her for several months after having been evicted from the house we had lived in for five years. However, this “great adventure” became our descent into homelessness.

The year was 1947. The GI, returning from the war, needing housing for his family, evicted us. We had no place to go. Moving into the city slums was not an option. Instead, the boys went to a convent home; I went to live with Mémère. Soon, we all lived with her.

The summer was upon us. Because of my grandmother’s age, it was time to leave. With help, my dad purchased a piece of land in a neighboring town. He bought an old city bus, pulled out its interior, built bunkbeds for us and a daybed for him and Mom. My dad, a carpenter, worked daily; Mom cared for the family.

The land was adjoining a ballpark. The faucet in the park was our only source of water. When Mom wanted water, my brothers would grab the bucket jump over the stone wall and filled it from the tap. Mom cooked for the family on an open stone fireplace. We ate on a picnic table under a tarp. On the days my dad did not work, my brothers helped him dig a foundation for a house that would never be built.

Summer waned. The nights became chilly. My parents frantically looked for lodging. They found three rooms in an old farmhouse. We had to share a bathroom. I was delegated to a daybed in the kitchen. It was OK, we were together. We lived there for some time until a family friend told my parents of a house for sale in a small New Hampshire town. After selling the land we had lived on, my parents bought the house without a down payment and rented it until the purchase price was reached. It took five years.

We were finally home. The house measured 800 square feet, had 5 acres of land. A paradise for my five brothers and sister. They built a ballpark in the back field. It was the only ballpark in town. Together in that little house, we planted a garden, raised chickens and, because of Mom’s resourcefulness, hunger was never an issue.

Many years have passed since those days. They were not always easy. The struggle, stress and difficulty of my parents’ daily lives took their toll. However, through it all, we stayed together.

Home was where our parents were. Under the hardship, their love, courage and dedication to our family kept us together. Our extended family on both sides gave us unfailing love and support. Without them, perhaps we might not have survived and thrived as well as we did.

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