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My House on Mackinac

front of house from center

My House on Mackinac Drive, 2014.

backyard with trees

My big backyard.

Situated on a private cul-de-sac in West St. Louis County, this charming ranch style house on Mackinac Drive is no ordinary property for sale. It’s my childhood home, built rock solid on a half-acre lot and filled with memories that now echo throughout the empty rooms.

steve and ellie on table

My brother Steve & I, watching cartoons in the den.

ellie and char in den

In the den with my mom Char, 1976.

ellie and steve on front porch

Hanging out on the front porch, 1967.

kids on swingset backyard

Neighborhood kids playing on the swing set, 1961

A few months ago, my mom moved out of the house on Mackinac and into The Hallmark, a senior living community that she will never call home, but it will have to do. Since then, I meticulously packed up every single piece of furniture, artwork, dish, glass, utensil, vase, photo album, clothing, down blanket, towel, flowered paper napkin, whatever I could find.  My mom took with her whatever she wanted, and I divvied up the rest to family,  friends, and charity. I kept for myself what meant the most to me, including a mink coat, a lucite coffee table, cookie sheets, and my mom’s wedding dress with a blue silk bow. I also grabbed a sparkly pink hoola hoop that Sari used to twirl around her waist and neck, and I brought home the nearly 3,000 slides that my dad documented our entire childhood.

steve, ellie by fireplace

Celebrating Hanukkah by the electric fireplace in the rathskeller, 1974.

As I walk through the house, one last time, memories flash through my mind… In the kitchen, we decorated Hanukkah cookies with blue sprinkles, lit the menorah that sat at the windowsill, and hid flank steak in our napkins. In the den, we laid on the green shag carpet and watched reruns of Gilligans Island on the console TV.  In the basement, we celebrated many birthdays with balloons and colored lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling.

bday party in basement

In the basement, eating cake on my fifth birthday with my best friend Mary, 1969.

13bday opening presents

In the rathskeller, opening presents on my 13th bday party, 1977.

In the living room, I braided satin fringes that dangled from the fancy lampshades, and supposedly when I was a toddler stuffed my mouth with nuts from a crystal candy dish. In the dining room, my mom covered the table in ivory lace and my family gathered around to eat matzo ball soup, kosher corned beef sandwiches, and my favorite poppyseed ring from Pratzel’s Bakery. In the bathtub, I washed my hair under the faucet and soaked in Mr Bubble. In my bedroom, I listened over and over again to scratchy 45s, like “Don’t Rock The Boat” and “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number.”  I also snuggled under my blue flowered comforter in my twin bed with my stuffed teddy bear Henry and read V.C. Andrews.

ellie in bedroom

Reading with Henry in my twin bed.

In the hallway outside my bedroom, I stuck my leg down the laundry shoot, and we still laugh about it to this day. In a watering can on the back porch, I kept a pet crawfish that I caught with my bare hands in the muddy lake down the street.

ellie laundry shoot

Trying to slide down the laundry shoot…it didn’t work.

My home for 50 years…No wonder I’m feeling nostalgic these days.

My parents built this house in Orchard Lakes subdivision in 1961 for the price of a Hyundai, around $21,000.  Every time I drive up the street, past the bus stop where we used to clutch our lunch boxes and wait for what seemed like forever in the freezing rain, my house still welcomes me with open arms and curb appeal. A For Sale sign now pokes out of the front yard where a messy crab apple tree used to be, but other than that, the well-maintained 3-beroom, 2 1/2 bath house located in the Parkway School District looks the same to me.

Growing up, from training wheels to 10-speeds, the neighborhood kids played in “the circle.” This is where we gathered the gang for pictures every year on the first day of school. We played four square and kickball until the crickets came out. On hot summer days, we popped tar bubbles in the street, drank water from the hose, and chased lightning bugs. We built forts in the woods, ice skated on the frozen lake, and made whips from willow tree branches.

first day of school

First day of Weber Elementary School, 1st grade, 1970.

But my favorite part of the house is the backyard. A big, steep hill overlooks the sprawling neighborhood that used to be farmland and apple orchards. When I was a kid, I stood atop the giant hill like king of Mackinac mountain.

backyard hill

The Hill overlooks the spacious backyard.

ellie in sandbox

Two years old, playing in the backyard sandbox, 1966.

All year long, we rolled down the hill and covered ourselves in itchy grass or slid down on a piece of cardboard. On snow days when school was cancelled, our friends dragged their sleds and saucers to our house. We raced head first over ice ramps  and straight into the back porch if we picked up enough speed. Afterwards, we peeled off our wet clothes, down to our long johns, and drank hot cocoa with mini marshmallows next to the electric fireplace in the basement.

hill snow

Snow-covered backyard was a winter wonderland.

kids on snow hill

Neighborhood kids sledding down the hill.

Over the last 50 years, I’ve gone through many changes, and so has my house on Mackinac. The carport was converted into a two-car garage; the unfinished basement was turned into a beautiful rathskeller with a fully stocked bar and a bumper pool table; a newer sliding glass door adjoins the family room and back porch; and now every bedroom has an organized closet. Today, the sparkling clean house is freshly painted and has brand new carpet. As I tour my house one last time, emptying another hanger from the closet, it’s hard to believe that everything is gone. Everything except for the memories.

dad, ellie, mom in yard

With my mom and dad, in the backyard, 1976.

I’m grateful that my own kids got to know the house where I grew up, and they will cherish the times they visited Grandma Char to eat latkes and chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven. This is the house where Jack played with his Lincoln Logs and Army soldiers. This is where Sari pushed her dollies in a stroller and pretended to work in a restaurant, collecting plastic money in a cash register that dinged every time she opened the drawer. This is where their Uncle Steve taught them the strategic secrets of how to win Monopoly.

sari, char, jack at mackinac

Sari, Char & Jack on Mackinac

Of course I will miss my house on Mackinac, but it’s time to say goodbye.  And while the kitchen appliances stay, all the memories go with me.

If you or someone you know is in the market for real estate, or maybe a new place to call home, my house on Mackinac is priced right at only $154,900 and ready for a quick sale. If you want more info and would like to see additional exterior and interior photos, go to the the MLS page. Also, feel free to contact our agent Laverne Thoman , at (636) 532-0200.