Pop, Chips and 3-Point Shots. Home Sweet Home.

Pop, Chips and 3-Point Shots. Home Sweet Home.

It wasn’t modest and it wasn’t grand. Our house was just right.

We lived on a quiet cul-de-sac in Northwestern Ontario, my dad, brother and myself. We were a busy family with two dogs and a house that some might term a hub. Our Dad was willing to buy chips and pop so our home quickly became an after-school destination.

I was very proud to bring friends back to our place. It was never spotless, but it wasn’t messy either. It was just the right combination of lived-in and loved.

We were perched at the top of a hill with a creek below meaning that trees lined our backyard. My favourite trees were the weeping willow and the crab apples. The crab apples were planted side by side at the same time. One blooms pick and one white. Over the years they have twisted together in an embrace to have the different colour blooms interspersed throughout.

The basement of our house was the party floor. A pool table and gaming system were the main attractions, but so was the juke box taken from a diner in the States, complete with oldies from A1-V9.

One year we asked Dad if we could get a basketball net at the end of the driveway like our friends’ had. We even bought him a basketball for Christmas as a prompt. The following spring Dad dug and framed a full-size court. With the sound of the cement trucks backing up to our yard, the neighbour kids clamoured to see. Two break-away rims installed on old streetlight poles, 3-point lines painted and flood lights installed. Let the games begin.

My Dad still lives there. Our children have used that court and we have shown it to them on the aerial view of Google Earth. That house is comfort. Now it is less pop and chips and more wine and BBQ, but it is still where I crave to be if I want to dribble the ball, go for the corner pocket or listen to Kung Fu Fighting as loud as a rock club.

It seems, to me, that kids don’t do this anymore? I know we would love our house to be a hub and I do have pop in the fridge and a basketball net at the end of the driveway… see Dad, it is possible. Maybe all the kids are just too busy after school. Maybe it is a small town thing. What do you think?


  1. Our kids will actually ride their bikes up to the school to play on the basketball courts and playground equipment. My older son hangs out with friends at our house and at his friends’ houses, but yeah, it’s a different feel now than it used to be. I wonder if it’s all the electronic distractions? Video games? Helicopter parents who won’t let their kids roam freely?
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  2. What a lovely description of your childhood home. You can get a real idea by reading this how you became a social person who knows how to have fun. A juke box, pool table, a dedicated party basement and a full-sized basketball court? (Is there a story behind the juke box taken from an American diner?)

    I agree with Karen about why kids don’t gather like that so much anymore. My parents would only require that we be home by a certain time–they didn’t need to know where we were or what we were doing every single moment. Also, we rode our bikes or walked everywhere so we weren’t dependent on our parents for rides all the time. My son will walk over a mile to a friend’s house, but my daughter wants to be driven distances that would take her 10-15 minutes to walk. And when we’ve insisted that she walk, her friends’ parents will come pick her up (to shame her cruel and irresponsible parents, it seems). This fear of letting your kids just go outside a play is a shame. No wonder there are so many overweight kids.

    I’m guessing your home is as much of a hub as it can be these days. Good on you for being so welcoming to you kids’ friends. P.S. I love your description of the crab apple tree blossoms intertwining!

    • I really do love those trees…
      I loved that we just had to come home when the street lights went on. Our parents trusted us (sometimes maybe too much). Both of our kids now are in ‘commuter schools’ so their friends are more than walking distance away. We are the ones picking up the friends (not for shaming, more because they won’t come otherwise). Are kids lazier these days? High school starts next year and it will be interesting…

  3. I think these days kids are expected to stay in their houses while the parents are working. When my boys were younger we had it pretty good. There were a bunch of kids of the same age in the neighborhood and the only rules were nobody gets bullied and you have to stay in the neighborhood.
    Vanessa D. recently posted…Side Bed Garden RevealMy Profile

    • There is so much fear. Our kids are riding the subway to school next year and just last night someone was questioning our parenting decision, which made Mister wonder. Kids need more independence and they need to make mistakes to learn. I don’t want to intentionally put them in danger, but they should be out there and figure the shit out sometimes. I have a whole rant waiting to happen on this apparently because my blood pressure is rising just thinking of it!

    • I remember those days as a kid when we used to play around in the neighborhood and even pull pranks on our sweet neighbors but these days kids don’t want to let go off their iPads. It is sad really.
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      • My kids are the same. Current addiction is Pretty Little Liars (I have to admit, I am hooked too) and Minecraft. Thank goodness they have some after-school programs to get them off the screen sometimes. Thanks for reading.

  4. Not just you. We live in a rural area with no sidewalks, so we pretty much have to schedule when our kids get together and do things, but even on the cul de sacs, I don’t see very many kids out and about. It’s sad. I actually made my youngest go outside to ride his ATV on Memorial Day. “You WILL go out into the showiness of nature and have fun, DAMMIT!” 😉
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    • We got the basketball net as a lure to get the kids out on the street and have some fucking fun outside already! Also, we thought some of the neighbours might join them, but they were all inside. I know that screens might seem more interesting but there is so much you can learn from just exploring the world.

  5. You know my story… that is our house now, well maybe not so much during exams, but otherwise… as long as there’s not social strife, but then it is a different blend of kids. We are definitely the pop and chips house, even me, i buy that stuff, so that they stay here and not go elsewhere. The trampoline takes up pretty much the entire back yard, but then again, I get to see all the kids, and I mean all, that live in the vicinity. It is a social hub, pop is cheaper than beer, and chips better than brownies. Good thing Cardinal makes awesome burgers because when they don’t want to leave we have dinner on hand. There aren’t many houses like ours, just like there weren’t many like yours, but they still exist here and there, and it is a great place to be. (^8

  6. Although I have always encouraged them to bring friends home, my kids rarely do. I’m not sure why – I think they are worried I’ll embarrass them (why would they have that idea?)
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  7. This says it all: It was just the right combination of lived-in and loved. Beautiful.
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  8. Wow, you sure lived the life. i envy you, you know that? Now, I’d also want that for our kids. I’d want them to experience something real and not get stuck in this digital age we live in.
    Helen Phelps recently posted…JumpSport Fitness Trampoline Model 250 ReviewMy Profile

    • I envy my own childhood and wish that our kids could have that. But, you are right. The digital age changes the landscape and we have to figure out how to make their worlds as rich as ours. At least the chips and pop are the same.

  9. […] thought you might like if you like this one. This is where I am on HuffPo. Here on BluntMoms, the basketball court in our backyard, my worst bullying incident, and the small-town […]

  10. I remember those days as a kid when we used to play around in the neighborhood and even pull pranks on our sweet neighbors but these days kids don’t want to let go off their iPads. It is sad really.

  11. […] Before I tell you how I murdered my sister, let me explain the picture. I asked my dad to dig up a picture of my dead sister and this is what he sent me along with a review of the previous night’s Murder She Wrote. You guys would love my dad. Oh, and this picture was taken on June 9, 2015 on the aforementioned basketball court. […]

  12. i also like to watch my home in the google earth

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